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Perception Matters

Updated on July 8, 2016

The Topic at Hand

A topic for the ages.
A topic for the ages. | Source

A Heated Debate

Tonight I had a very fascinating conversation with my significant other about a lot of things. We talked about all of the shootings that have been occurring lately, specifically the ones from this past week. This conversation led to a heated debate about racism in America.

Needs Context

Before I go into the heavy stuff, let me give you some context about our relationship. I am African-American, black. Whichever term you prefer to use (although I feel that black is more acceptable, but that's the Anthropologist in me speaking). My boyfriend is mixed. He's black, white, and Puerto Rican (although he is sometimes confused for being Mexican). We usually avoid conversations about race in America. I mean, many people would assume that if you're not white, or perceived as white, then you're probably on the same page about race issues. Those people would be wrong.

Interracial Couple Does Not Equal Like Viewpoints

Remember the uproar about this ad?
Remember the uproar about this ad? | Source

What Say You?

When someone says "racism is blatant in America"

See results

But What's Important

Anyways, I think the conversation that we had was very important. It made us discuss things that most people, or I assume most people, would not think about. I made the statement that "racism is blatant in America." This statement opened up a large can of worms because my boyfriend interpreted as "racism against blacks is blatant in America," which may be true to a certain extent, but that depends on tons of things. Remember, this conversation began with police brutality.

What's important about this particular statement, and his particular response is this: because of the nature of the topic, it was automatically assumed that I agreed with people who believe that everything wrong in the world is due to racism, or specifically (in his words) due to white people.

It's a Cycle

Everything is based on identity. And identity is based on experience.
Everything is based on identity. And identity is based on experience. | Source

Is This Little Known Thing

Now, I myself am not blind to the media and what it is people believe to be true and what is actually true. Everyone, and I mean everyone, has a part of them-albeit deep down inside- that is somewhat racist. Or, perhaps that's the wrong word. We all have a part of us that is uneasy around certain types of people. This is mostly due to media and propaganda. But, more importantly, it is due to how we perceive ourselves and the world around us.

As a black female who is of lower socioeconomic status I will be the first to admit that I was offended when my boyfriend said these things. And it wasn't because everything he said was wrong. It was because he made it seem like my experiences didn't matter.

Museum Exhibition

How the News Distorts Our Worldview

Called Perception

Because I am black, and because I am female, and because of my socioeconomic class, I grew up with the typical adage: You have to work five times as hard because you have three things working against you. You're skin color, you're sex, and where you come from.

If you fit into this "category" you know exactly what I mean. Now, when you grow up with this adage, it tends to get stuck in your mind. This is with anything that parents tell you as a child. You grow up believing it because it's been repeated so many times. The same is true for anything else.

We see shootings in the media, and many people automatically assume it's a white cop shooting a black male, or female. We don't wait to find out anything else about the case. And when we do this, we scream RACISM! at the top of our lungs. The truth is this:

We do it because we're conditioned to. Media and propaganda incite the fear, and we in turn get upset about, which perpetuates the situation. We don't sit and think. We act. And, we do this because of how we perceive the world.

Our Future If We're Not Careful

Because It's Everything

What you have read was the gist of our conversation. We also went into how statistics cannot be trusted, how misinformation leads to "witch hunts," how emotions and feelings impact human beings and therefore media/propaganda/policies/etc., and lastly how it is all due to perception.

When I say "racism is blatant in America," I'm referring to all racism. But, because I'm black, my go to for proof is my own experience as a black female. Almost all of my examples of racism are going to be through the lens of that blackness. And that is because of perception. A person of a different background would use the lens of that background. And when one combines all of those lenses, they can see the world.

Racism is blatant in America. Perception is Everything. The ordeal with movements such as Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter is based on the personal experiences of large groups of people. The idea that the current shootings must be white cop/black perpetrator is due to misinformation. And the feelings that people have about these things is what shapes the world.

Is There A Real You?

A Better World



So, as human beings, it is our job to remember these things. We need to change our perception of each other. This will change our perception of the world. In turn, this will allow us to grow as a country and a nation. And then, we should expand. Accept and try to understand other countries and nations. Figure out how they perceive the world. When this is done, perhaps the world will grow into a better place.

We Should Remember

But none of that can happen until everyone can see and believe this:

We are ALL humans.

That It's Nothing But Melanin and Where You Live...

Human DNA is 99.7% identical, and there is no gene for race.
Human DNA is 99.7% identical, and there is no gene for race. | Source


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    • Ashish Dadgaa profile image

      Ashi 21 months ago

      very nicely written and informative article.