Sunday, January 18, 2009

S.B. on Racism

Barack Obama... He is definitely an amazing individual; when was the last time you saw a man inspire the masses in such a way as he has done? The gravity and historic importance of this inauguration has not dawned on me yet. I'm still kind of in disbelief. To think that just a few generations ago, our ancestors were slaves and slave owners and now there is a black man holding the highest position in the free world.

Having lived in DC most of my life and gone to a predominantly white school, I have experienced my fair share of racism. Now that I am older, I have truly recognized the racism that I was subjected to. As a youngster, I was far too aloof to know what was going on, but I guess most things are clearer in retrospect. It was not until I went to school in Rochester when I was flashed by full frontal racism. I'm not sure whether people think it's funny, whether they are trying to be hurtful, or whether they are just plain ignorant, but is there really any excuse or any room for this in our post-millennial America? I'm the type of person who likes to play the devil's advocate. I try to put myself into another man's shoes to really figure out what is going on in his mind. So, I think to myself: why are people still prejudice in 2009? Sure, you can blame it on human nature. It is in fact our nature as humans and animals to 1) compete 2) group ourselves with people who are similar to us. In combination, 1 and 2 could prove to cause animosity among races. In the beginning of human history, I am sure there was a need to discriminate considering the limited resources available and the shallow level of intelligence that the various peoples possessed. However, today, we buy our food at the same grocery stores. For the most part, we send our children to the same schools(although that is a completely separate issue). We all pay the same taxes. So, what is the deal? It's not like it's just white people either. Black people can be just as racist. If there was a word to describe white people that was as racially charged and had as much historical significance as the "N" word, there is no doubt in my mind that the choleric and ignorant would use it.

In Rochester, I was talking to a white friend of mine and he asked me "what's the big deal? where I come from n***** just means someone that's stupid" I responded "....exactly... your taking a word that was used to describe black people and using it negatively. basically your saying that black people are stupid" It shocked me that a kid in college had never put 2 and 2 together. Such bold ignorance... it's more shocking than angering, usually.

Personally, when dealing with people of different races, I have policy of color-blindness. There are rich and poor people of all races. There are intelligent and feeble-minded people of all races. So, why would I risk judging someone at face value(literally) when they could have a lot more to offer me than meets the eye? Today, our cultures don't even really separate us. There are white people who listen to Hip Hop, dress like B-boys, and talk like they're from the south side. Similarly, there are black people who listen to rock music, dress like punks, and sound like surfer dudes.

America is melting pot. In the end, the ingredients have to mix up...
or we've all done a half-ass job.

So, I leave you with this:
Gandhi said be the change you want to see
I say change how you see and it will all be.