Racism Today: Real and Faux Politics
In case you haven't heard, some Americans believe racism no longer exists. The rest didn't get the memo—including the ones continuing to racially profile. Those people must be a minority. That is some great news for us equal rights activists, eh? We can all rejoice because one injustice is over. Martin Luther King, Jr. would be so proud!
If only it were true; unfortunately, in the real world, racism is far from over. I wish that being anything other than white didn't come with the potential of being a suspected criminal, having employment issues, or being killed, all due to centuries of ingrained stereotypes just because of the color of your skin. Hell, even in literature and film—think of Darth Vader, for example, and how the villains dress in black. As a Goth, I am seen as evil because black is associated with negativity. Now, place that negative association on one's skin! Personally, I find black to be the most empowering color around, so the joke is on them!
"Black People are More Racist"
If more white people were aware of how the color of their skin impacts the way they are treated, they wouldn't continue to believe that black people are more racist. In fact, the reason for blacks going against whites is due to constantly being made aware of their blackness in every day life. Despite how wrong racism is in any form, and from any race, how can we really blame them for wanting retaliation? A former coworker of mine once shared an experience of walking through a predominantly black area where she was the only white woman, and so she walked quickly back to her car. A black woman followed closely, saying, "That's right. Run white girl." Where did the black woman get the idea to think or speak this way? From her blackness being pointed out so many times!
Coincidentally, a lot of those who believe racism to be over tend to be against President Obama simply because he isn't one-hundred percent white. This only adds to the weight supporting that racism is still prevalent. People of mixed races can vouch for racism just as much as non-whites. The part of themselves that isn't white is highlighted.
YouTuber, Marina is Asian and white, and has made videos on her own experience as someone of mixed race. She knows that racism is a very real issue, today. In high school, she was surrounded by mostly white students who brought up her being Asian more than anything else. Whether she was with Asians or whites, she didn't fit in. She talks about the difference between white privilege versus white passing. If someone passes as white, they may temporarily benefit from being assumed white, but it is not the same as having white privilege. Lastly, being mixed and at times white passing does not prevent someone from experiencing the same racism as any other race:
"Just from the way that people would talk to me, I was usually very aware of my race. When I would talk to my other white classmates, I definitely felt like my race was hinted at more than it should have been, and in a not-so-positive way, but when I was around other Asian people I definitely felt like I wasn't Asian enough, either."
Had you heard about Stacey Dash's reaction to the Oscar nominations?
Misrepresentation of Racially-Inclusive Groups
Actress Stacey Dash, known for films like Clueless, has been in the news for face-palm-worthy remarks on those abandoning the Oscars, this year, due to its lack of representation of the black community. Her rationalization against those opposed to the all-white nominations would be laughable if it weren't so disturbingly racist. What is worse is that because Stacey is black, herself, ignorant viewers will take her words to be an intelligent argument when in reality it's an argument in favor of racism. Stacey seems to be a victim of the unfortunately common internalized racism:
"...If we don't want segregation, then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black. If it were the other way around we would be up in arms. It's a double standard. Just like there shouldn't be a Black History Month..."
How Racism Works...or Doesn't
Stacey's understanding that channels such as BET (Black Entertainment Television) is a way to "encourage segregation" is nonsensical, however, cliché for white-supremacist arguments. When an oppressed group creates a way to embrace their identity, the oppressors often point the finger, saying, "Hey, if we did that it would be considered discrimination." This couldn't be further from the truth and, quite frankly, it's getting old. So, allow me to break this down in simplest terms.
White is the majority. White is everywhere, already. Is there a reason to make a specificly white-only, anything? It would be redundant. When blacks make their own television channel, which by the way never has been and never will be "black-only" as Stacey claims, it doesn't oppress anyone; it merely gives a voice to those not being heard—in this case, other racial groups. So, no, this is not oppression of white people, nor is it hypocritical.
A Hopeful Future?
Those who continue to believe that racism is over are free to think as they wish. No one can change that; however, no one can change reality, either. Racism is a very real issue, still. I wish it weren't. I wish that being black didn't make a difference between being chosen or not for a job, being seen as an innocent bystander instead of a likely criminal, or any other absurd stereotype, but that isn't how society is, yet. I say "yet" because I sincerely hope that we see the day when being black in society is no different than being white. Until then, I wish people would choose to acknowledge the problem and do something to help end it, since pretending it doesn't exist isn't going to make it go away.
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