Has Race Relations Taken a U-Turn?
As a millennial born in 92, I grew up being vaguely aware of racism and racial identity, and the history of race relations in the united states. All though the history of being black in the U.S wasn’t pretty, I felt around my time period things progressed. To talk racism to a kid in the early 2000s most likely would have went in one ear and out the other, (and no I am not saying racism was completely abolished or irrelevant), its just as a kid their was a slight disconnect from the atrocities of racism in the past and the actual reality I was observing, it seemed as if it was history and the world was progressing further.
Then compared to now
Specifically from 2008-2012 their was a cultural shift, such as in entertainment. People were more connected than ever, even the landscape of music changed, more artist collaborations like Nelly ft Tim McGraw All in my head, B.o.b ft Hayley Williams Airplanes, or groups like The Gym Class Heroes ft Maroon 5, and The Black Eyed Peas￼￼. The music started to sound more diverse and unified, their were no clear racial lines in music sounds. To social media, even in the most heated debates on internet chats it was almost ￼unfathomable to see someone post outright openly racist comments, now there’s a more callous, open Display of racism in comments of various Facebook post, YouTube comments etc.. Back then I just envisioned a world where cities and neighborhoods were more diverse, a place where we see people of different ethnicities walking down the street together and it’s nothing to even think about. Now I feel in more recent years race relations have declined, I feel as though racial tension are more pronounced than I remember it to be, people are more divided amongst political lines, its just a giant mess. I do understand this is not by any means a simple topic, there are over 400 years of racial oppression against specific groups to account for.
The nuance and more positive effects
It’s a thought that maybe now what were going through might be necessary, maybe their are more things that are being highlighted than we realize before, maybe this is a big Purge that we have to go though to highlight systemic issues we may have with politics, police departments criminal justice system, etc.. In ways we have progressed tremendously, like in film, blacks were once type cast in roles like hired help, token best friend, or the comedy relief. Movies with black leads didn’t even do well overseas, now that’s completely changed. Blacks are taking more leads in iconic traditionally white roles and original films. In spider man Homecoming a black girl played the love interest instead of the best friend to the love interest. Blacks are starting to be well represented in Hollywood for the first time.
Where do we go from here?
I suggest that moving forward we really develop an appreciation for each other, everyone has value and it’s good to get out of our bubbles and see the world. You never know what type of value someone who looks completely opposite of you can attribute to your life. When you learn to love yourself and accept who you are, and others, it creates a rich environment for us to thrive. As a society we have to stand strong and not be so frail to politics, we have to walk with identity and appreciation for our fellow man, because we all have something to contribute to this society, we all have our struggles and we all have our hopes and dreams. I envision a world where we are conscious and intentional in cultivating an environment of community, of acceptance, and an environment of love and kind spirits. Stand united and stand strong that way we are much better off.