That's Racist....Or Is It?

Getting Along...
Getting Along... | Source

Race relations in America are, if nothing else, unique. It has been a long road to equality, and there is still a ways to go. Different cultures and ethnicities have been thrown together, and the results are still pending. I’m not sure how the experiment will turn out, but if nothing else it is a fascinating study.

Today, most of us want to get along. We respect those different than us, and would like nothing more to live in a peaceful harmony with one another. We would like to see our kids grow up with others regardless of their race, gender, or sexuality. That is the ideal, at least for me.

The story of America is a mixed bag, between her glorious and troubled past. Founded by brilliant men, some of whom wrote things such as All men are created equal but owned other men.

Thomas Jefferson knew slavery was evil and inhumane yet vital to sustain the plantations that had come to rely on its free labor. There is nothing more destructive or evil than enslaving any group of people. He also knew it needed to end, yet it would be many years after his death.

To think that only fifty or sixty years ago we had separate water fountains, stores, schools, and movie theatres is strange, for someone like myself who grew up with kids of all races and backgrounds it is unimaginable.

I would like to think that we've made great strides in race relations. Yet, as far as we've come, it seems now we are no longer willing to debate what is or is not racist. We have become hypersensitive to anything even remotely pertaining to race.

Racism- a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Today, few people use the word racism in the correct context; it’s tossed around without the slightest thought. The danger with declaring any and everything racist is that it strips the word of its meaning. I don’t even flinch when someone on the news or a tv show calls someone else racist. It’s just what people say today.

“Oh my gosh, you described him as a black guy, that’s soo racist!”

This is not to say that racism does not exist, unfortunately we all know better. For instance, I think we can safely say that by definition Hitler was a racist. Many extreme groups today are full of racist. They actually believe that one race is inherently superior to other races. But to declare everyone who says things that we disagree with a racist is a bit absurd. Many politicians like to throw this around, and it’s dangerous.

Stereotype - to believe unfairly that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same.

People are stereotyped all of the time, and to be honest, sometimes it’s funny. I’m a white guy, therefore I can’t dance, have no rhythm, can’t jump, and I walk funny. As someone who grew up playing basketball, a sport mainly played by--gasp-- black guys, I’ve heard them all, and guess what? I laughed. Comedians do this all of the time and few people take issue with it.

But many stereotypes can be hurtful. Many Muslims were unfairly stereotyped after 9/11, leading to a backlash of hate and ignorance that can still be found today.

I can differentiate between these harmless stereotype and hurtful stereotypes. When a black guy that I work with says to me, you know I’m not going swimming, right? Should I scowl at him and then give him a lecture on racial stereotypes so that he knows that I’m not a card carrying racist?

Race relations are fascinating here because as far as we've come, we still cannot seem to overcome it completely. Do we assimilate, do we celebrate our diversity? Or do we just fight about it constantly?

Bigot -a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.

There are tons of bigots out there. Ignorant people who will never like or understand anything or anyone who is different from them. These people will never change, their beliefs are passed down from generation to generation and it’s quite sad that they are so closed minded.

We come across bigots all of the time, hurling their insults and ignorance, and teaching it to others. There are bigots of all races, and no one benefits from its consequences.

Prejudice - preconceived judgment or opinion (2): an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge.

We are all guilty of this one. I will confess one of my prejudices. I think that all Philadelphia Eagles fans are morons. Do I have factual evidence to back this up? No, but I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan. People have preconceived judgments everyday. Blonds can’t drive, bankers are greedy, athletes are dumb, and so on. Many people have prejudices about race, only most won’t admit them.

These are just a few of my thoughts on this difficult and controversial subject. I believe we always have racial issues here; we are too diverse not to. I think the most important thing is talking about it. Honest, open conversation from all sides. Understanding one another is key. If we can get along, then hopefully our kids can do the same.

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Comments 20 comments

billybuc profile image

billybuc 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

Well done Pete! I will always believe in the value of open conversations and increasing awareness.

Wayne Brown profile image

Wayne Brown 4 years ago from Texas

The sad truth is there is money to be made in the game of racism, at least by some...basically those willing to stir the pot for their own gain and keep the tensions on the front burner. In their mind, every event has some potential to be racially motivated. Sadly, the definition only seems to work in one direction...toward the minority. You or I, both being white guys, cannot qualify to be a victim of racism yet I witnessed it first-hand when myself and two other white guys were first refused seating and then refused service in a Waffle House in Little Rock, Arkansas...we were the only white people in the place. Eventually, we just had to leave as we were totally ignored even when we made requests. Prejudice develops mostly as a function of a lack of knowledge and understanding then ignorance takes control when that information is put in front of one and they ignore it. The actions of a few set he tone for the perspective toward the masses...9-11 has shown that to be he case. A handful of terrorist created the image for the Muslim in America. If I were Muslim, I might be real angry about that. Jessie Jackson or Al Sharpton do not benefit when we reach racial harmony and equality....they lose ground financially thus the pot will be stirred and someone will follow behind them to continue that process of using their own race for their personal gain. There is a certain futility on all sides of the issue when looked at in that fashion. Good write...thanks for sharing. WB

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia Author

Thanks billybuc, if we can't talk about it, we can't fix it.

WB, great points, I completely agree with you there, and also about the futility of a solution. Thanks for stopping by, maybe you can call Jesse Jackson about that Waffle House visit!

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

This is a beautiful hub. Very well worded and thought out. I was raised in the West and live in TN now. I can see the racism and people say they are not racist. I think it is so much better than it used to be that they don't notice it. But let a black man walk in with a white woman and you can feel the silent gasp.

I likewise get really po'd when someone accuses me of being racist because I don't like Obama. No, I just don't like his policies. I have many good friends who are black and grew up in a fairly unprejudiced area of the country.

texshelters profile image

texshelters 4 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

Well done. Thanks.


texshelters profile image

texshelters 4 years ago from Mesa, Arizona

I wonder why you have the "QUEEN" being white. That's both racist and some clueless twit who hasn't a clue.

Well done hub.


weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia Author

Oh No tex, I'm afraid your right, by trying not to offend I've offended.....sigh

tjdavis profile image

tjdavis 4 years ago from Moscow, Texas

Weestro, great hub..I was born and raised in Texas and yes we have racism..even today. I do remember growing up with separate swimming pools and even separate schools. No matter how we try and not be racist we are to a Becky Katz mentioned, a black man with a white woman is still hard today. Try as we might, we still look down on that. I don't like Obama either, not because he's black, but for his policies..but if I, as as white woman, says anything about Obama, I'm racist.

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia Author

Becky, I missed your comment somehow. Thank you for the kind words! I hear what you're saying, I just think that the racism label is thrown around too much, particularly with the younger ones. I'm in Va, which is still the south and we have lots of interracial couples, in my family as well....people just need to get over it. At the same time, when a group of kids attack a another because they are white, it gets no coverage by the news and there is no talk of a hate crime....I just think it should work both ways.

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia Author

I lived in Texas for a year tjdavis, and it was a culture shock so to speak. I was used to black and white, but in San Antonio it is more hispanic and white. As far as politics, I think it's going to get pretty nasty come November! Thanks for reading and commenting!

Becky Bruce profile image

Becky Bruce 4 years ago from San Diego, CA

A difficult topic to talk about, one that people love to avoid! Although race plays such a huge role in our everyday lives. Good hub :)

Alecia Murphy profile image

Alecia Murphy 4 years ago from Wilmington, North Carolina

I think you do a great job of pointing out how racism ruins everyday life. And you're right- we do it to ourselves alot of times. While racism is still prominent, some people just throw the racist card just for attention. And some people are insensitive, which only is a result of lack of experience more than racism. All in all, we can only work on ourselves and only hope others respect us. Great hub!

CyberShelley profile image

CyberShelley 4 years ago

Bigotry is the one that scares me the most because it is so tightly closed, the beliefs so deeply, insidiously ingrained and then perpetuated through their innocent children. Rascism can be turned around - but what about bigotry? Up and interesting.

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia Author

Great points Alecia,starting with ourselves is the only way! Thanks!

You're right Shelley, a kid isn't born thinking this stuff! Thanks!

MaestroECMcCloud profile image

MaestroECMcCloud 4 years ago from Lexington, South Carolina

Great hub. Only by talking about this, can we begin to find a solution if there is one to be found.

weestro profile image

weestro 4 years ago from Virginia Author

Thanks Maestro, I agree....and hope one can!

shiningirisheyes profile image

shiningirisheyes 4 years ago from Upstate, New York

You did well and I am glad to read your pointing out so many areas of prejudice.


johnwindbell profile image

johnwindbell 4 years ago from - the land of beards and buggies

Super hub page, weestro. No racism; Jessie Jackson and Al Sharpman would be without a job and homeless. Oh my, now I'm a racist for saying so, and I'm white too. And I found out that the Alien Grays are racist - (my blogspot) and here I thought that advanced species weren't this way! ......NOT

MaestroECMcCloud profile image

MaestroECMcCloud 4 years ago from Lexington, South Carolina

If that is true for Jesse and Al, then it is just as true for Sean Hannity and Bill O' Reilly. Without racism, they wouldn't be employed either. That comment alone hardly makes you a racist, but I find it interesting that you chose those two as examples.

johnwindbell profile image

johnwindbell 4 years ago from - the land of beards and buggies

They are the ones I grew up with, long before Billy and Sean Dick, and could count on to play the racist card. Funny, he who plays the race card is the racist by their own admission. But, as my favorite reverend says, the God in me blesses the God in you. And we are more interested in the green color, anyway! P E A C E & L O V E

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