I was in recent discussion with a peer about the convoluted subject of racism.
Long story short, a church in my city was vandalized with graffiti. They drew swastikas, KKK, and wrote “Nigger” on the siding. I posted the local news article on Facebook with the sarcastic comment, “But….. this stuff doesn’t happen though.. 🙄🙄🙄”. Discussion ensued and the subject of people believing racism is obsolete came up. That’s way too much to explain on a Facebook post. At the request of my peer, keep this brief. So, here we go with the short and sweet version.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is Racism 101.
We have been conditioned to see racism in an overt manner. Racial slurs. Burning crosses. KKK. Slavery. Fire hoses. Police dogs. Physical violence. Jim Crow laws. All of that is very real. What we fail to realize is racism has changed. It is no longer in your face screaming obscenities, or denying you the right to vote. It’s subtle. Small microagressions. It’s a word call implicit.
Every single one of us has biases. We will never admit it because we aren’t supposed to be biased. However, its ingrained in American culture to stereotype one another. If you closed your eyes and I asked you to describe your idea of an illegal immigrant, then I’m certain it would be someone of Mexican/Latino decent. Why? That’s one of the stereotypes assigned to that group. Some people act these stereotypes out. Or, they’ll make assuming remarks. Have you ever heard (or said) the following?
“Racism doesn’t exist because we elected a black president.”
“You’ve never been a slave, so slavery has never affected you.”
“You’re not like the other (insert race). You have a good head on your shoulders.” — I’ve personally been told this.
“If he had just complied, then he would be alive right now.”
“Racism exists just not the way you say it does.” — Tomi Lahren is famous for this one.
“You’re really well spoken!” — Said with shock and awe because you have good diction.
“You must be from the south. You have a southern accent.” — Nope. I was born and raised in North Dakota.
I could keep going and going Energizer bunny style, but you get the gist. The problem with every single one of these statements is they patently deny race as a factor, or they assume certain implications because of race (i.e. I’m black so I have to be uneducated and speak “ebonics”; You’re Mexican so you must be illegal). This is how racism, prejudice, and stereotypes have evolved in how we carry them out. It’s simple manner of conversation.
We just don’t want to admit it.
The thing is, I read or personally interact with these comments quite often. The people that make these statements believe racism doesn’t exist, or they will only accept its existence if they can define it. They are stuck in a world where calling out racism means you have a “victim mentality.” Unless, of course, they call it out. Then, all is well.
It’s hard to encompass the entirety of racism in 500 words or less. It’s definitely not black and white (pun intended). Nonetheless, you have an idea of how it works present day. Pay attention to what was said and see how this applies in your life.
This is racism 101.