Today, I am going to endeavor to explain both why racism exists in American and how to fix it. Before we begin, I’d like start off by saying that I am racist. I am not an ignorant racist, I am an intelligent one. I understand why I am racist, and I wish I was not. Unfortunately, feelings are a fickle thing that we don’t seem to have much control over ourselves that are much more heavily influenced by the environment in which we are in regardless of our thoughts on the matters. That’s not a popular thing to say in this day and age, is it? I’d say the opposite is rather true indeed. But, I digress. Let us begin.
Though as people may want to believe it, racism against the black man and woman does not exist because the color of their skin, nor their racial features. It is not about appearance except in so that it is human nature to form an opinion of a person upon seeing them based on their appearance alone. Everyone does this and it is not inherently racist. For instance, seeing a morbidly obese person it is human nature to assume that person is lazy and gluttonous. It only becomes racist when the opinions formed are indeed racist ones.
First, we must ask ourselves what are the racist stereotypes of the black man?: Less intelligent, violent, and more prone to mob mentality. Let us start in that order. One does not believe the black man is less intelligent because it is so. Popular figures like Neil deGrasse Tyson and Barack Obama are proof of that much – though admittedly I’m not a big fan of Mr. Tyson’s as I was rather fond of Pluto. The reason the black people are seen as less intelligent is because of ebonics. I don’t know who decided that it was “cool” to speak like a fool, but they are to blame for this perceived notion. If you speak like a fool then you will, undoubtedly, be seen as a fool. It is not cool, and it is a result of your own making – that is to say those that perpetuate the culture of ebonics, are quite responsible for this. Rap culture is quite possibly responsible for this in part, I suspect, along with very poor clothing choices.
Violence. Racists believe the black man to be more violent than his other colored brethren, but I offer that this is not true. It is certainly the sentiment, but there is little truth behind it. The truth of it is what people are racist against is the ghetto culture. If you are walking in a ghetto and a group of young black men wearing bandannas and hoodies walk up to you then you are not likely to expect that they are just good young men going about their day. No, most people will fear being mugged or beaten for some ill conceived slight. This is the ghetto culture and it is not an imaginary one. In the ghettos of America this is the reality, and it is not true simply for the young black man. A group of young latino men dressed the same in the same sort of area are just as intimidating. Or asian men or white men. The men approaching you, regardless of race, may very well be there to mug you, pick a fight with you, or even kill you. I suspect even those that live in the ghettos themselves have fears of such occurrences, perhaps them especially as they have seen its harsh reality. Then again, they could just be good young men going about their days. But this is the stereotype created by ghetto culture. It is not a culture of choice. The solution to the ghetto culture is to come together as Americans and affect change that will provide better standards of living, safer neighborhoods, and better education for America’s ghettos. What I refer to are not angry protests which soon divulge into race riots and looting. I am talking about real political change. Get involved in the political system, at every level, and change the country for the better from within. Don’t depend on anyone else to do it for you. In my experience, they will not. You must.
The truth about mob mentality is not an easy one and though it is perceived to be greater for the black people I am unsure of the truth in that. Perhaps the black man and woman are more perceptible to mob mentality, perhaps they are not. What I do know is that the interpretation of such is caused by circumstances of happenstance. Things that I have previously discussed. The people that most feel that they are oppressed are most often those that rise up and demand change and the more oppressed and less educated they are the more prone they are to violence. Yes, it is not a stereotype derived from race but by circumstance. It just so happens that there is much injustice in this country for the black peoples, and they see that perhaps more so than the rest of us as they live it. Police are affected by such racisms and do indeed target young black men far more than young white men. It is a perpetuation triggered by environment and culture. But do not misunderstand me: it is very real, and it must change. To eliminate this image of proneness to violent mob mentality we must do away with the mobs. Yes indeed, as I said before: We must affect real political change in this country. Protests will not do this for us. We must do this ourselves. Nobody is going to do it for us. It is the mindset that someone else will do what is right in our place that has gotten our country into more trouble than you can shake a stick at.
I will however now dispel one perceived slight against the black people and that is white washing of the media and entertainment industries. The truth is that the black people represent no more than 12% of the US population. Since the year 2000 10% of Oscar nominations have gone to black actors. Those numbers are close enough to be within a margin of error. It is a population reality. The black people cannot expect to receive a greater percentage of accolades in any respective field than their own population in this country. To expect such only encourages a culture of entitlement. The reason that the media industry targets white consumers is because they are the vast majority of the population and from a business stand point it makes sense to target the largest block of consumers. There is no vast conspiracy, it’s just good business. Changing this should not occur nor be striven for, as it should naturally scale with the nation’s population. Don’t get too excited and look for problems where they do not truly exist.
Of course racism in America is not just against the black peoples. There exists also a racism against the Mexican people (and by association, the greater latino people). This is largely created by two features: a poor economy, and language/cultural barriers. People are most upset because “the Mexicans are stealing our jobs!” What people are really upset about is that the country’s economy is in such a sad state. Unfortunately, the Mexican people are being scapegoated (especially by particular Republican politicians) to take the blame for it, rather than their own political party of which is to blame. Language barriers are of course also a thing and I’ll talk about them in greater detail below but the language barrier is less of an issue for much of the US’s latino population than some of its other populations. Nobody likes people talking in other languages around them that they can’t understand though. It makes them nervous and paranoid. It’s just the idea that they’re saying something that we don’t understand and the fear of the unknown. We become paranoid, immediately starting to think that perhaps it’s about us. This is just human nature. The only real solution for the language barrier is better integration and more fluent English. It’s largely perpetuated by the population of US immigrants that do not speak English, the large Spanish speaking population that immigrated north – some of which illegally. I certainly do not believe that they should be allowed to immigrate illegally, though the process should be a bit less ridiculous. A decade shouldn’t pass before someone’s legal paperwork is even looked at to be considered.
The language barrier is indeed the biggest reason why people are racist against the Indian people – and I do mean Indians from India and not our Native American brethren. This racism has been perpetuated because of the strong Indian accent that native Indian people seem to have when speaking English and the frustration it causes native speakers in trying to understand what they’re saying and having great difficulty in doing so. Paying for a college class and having an Indian professor in which you cannot understand is an excellent example of this. People don’t want to sound racist and say they do not want an Indian professor but at the same time it’s not really fair to pay for a class where you can’t understand your professor. But this has largely been caused by the outsourcing of American jobs to India – tech support and various other telemarketing in particular. When you’re having technical trouble with something chances are you’re already frustrated and the last thing you want to hear on the other end of the line is an Indian that you can barely understand, that can barely understand you, and that probably has no clue what they’re even talking about. Because let’s be honest, most tech support people don’t. They just have written out instructions for procedures to follow in case of various problems, and they’re forced to go through trouble shooting steps in order. This is why your internet service provider infuriatingly makes you turn your router off for 30 seconds to a minute before plugging it in again even though you swear upon your mother’s grave that you already did this before you even called them – who doesn’t?
But if we’re going to talk about racism in America we have to talk about Islamophobia. This is a racism perpetuated by culture. It has been created because the islamic people have become associated with terrorists as a result of our politican’s rhetoric and their response to 9/11 and subsequent terrorist attacks, and the wars that followed. There are Muslim extremist terrorists, and most of the terrorism the world faces today is their doing. Yes, even the terrorism that the muslim people themselves face. Unfortunately, it is a racism by association. People need to understand that all muslims are not evil people. The extremist terrorists are a very small segment of their population. Unfortunately, their cultural changes since around the 1970’s which have made them puritanical in nature – that is to say extreme religious fundamentalism, has not helped. Forcing women to wear burkas? If you look at Iraq in the 70’s the women there dressed like Western women. And now? Their culture has gone back to before even the medieval ages, not only in fashion but also in mindset and education. If you want to eliminate the terrorists the solution isn’t to “bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran.” The solution isn’t to overthrow dictators – especially without a plan for what to do afterwords once we do overthrow them. The solution is to help them improve their education, their economy, and the safety in their neighborhoods. Things that decent human beings need to thrive and to develop in a way that provides the necessary tools for survival and success in modern society. Don’t attack them. Help them.
The truth is, I’m not really racist against people. I’m racist against cultures. If you were to put a young black man or woman with a good education that can speak intelligently and dresses appropriately in any position anywhere across America I could find no cause for racism nor complaint. I could not because it is not the color of one’s skin nor one’s racial features that define racism. It is culture. Some is perpetuated by ourselves, and some by circumstance. But these are all things that we can change, if we want to, if we care to. And we should.
Am I really a racist? I don’t know. I do judge people, but not based on the color of their skin. I judge people by what they wear, how they talk, and by their actions.