Over the last two or three years, there has been plenty of controversy in America regarding racial aggressions and acts of violence towards African Americans (Trayvon Martin, Mike Brown, Eric Gardner, Tamir Rice, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, and too many more to name). I personally am not outspoken enough to speak on these issues and take a firm stand, but I can certainly write about it.
While all of these tragedies were happening, I tried my best not to feed into media perception, though I couldn’t just flat out ignore them. The media’s main goal is to attract viewers so that they make more money, and they attract viewers by broadcasting stories that instill fear in them while unconsciously buying into these stories every time they occur. It is a good thing to be aware but I believe fearing police and the system in general is no good for us.
The system wants to pit black people against each other. Prime example is Bill Cosby. I in no way support what Bill Cosby did to those women, but I also do not support how the media is trying to assassinate his character and ignoring the fact that a police officer arrested a black woman for failing to have her turn signal on while they want us to believe she committed suicide. It’s all left up to speculation at this point and buying into these stories truly leave us misinformed and more importantly outraged at our own society.
Then there is this idea of new black which has been circulating around for some time now.
Celebrities like Pharrell Williams, Raven Symone (refer to video @1:14), and Keke Palmer have caught a lot of flack (mostly from the black twitter community) for their comments on race in America. The idea of new black is basically seeing yourself as an individual and not confining yourself to a certain identity of what people may see as “black”. You may think of black kids who speak “proper” or used to get called “oreo” in grade school (I myself have experienced that) as new black. I believe this is just another concept that tears our people apart.
Rachel Dolezal is another interesting story. For the entire time she was the president of the NAACP we all assumed she was black and didn’t think anything about it. But until her whiteness got exposed, black people were so quick to criticize and condemn. We disregard all that she did for the black community purely for the fact that she pretended to be black. I believe that we give racial identity way too much power and attention and not enough on our own well-being and stability.
I read a blog post about a Native American female who has white privilege because her skin tone is lighter than it’s supposed to be. This really put it into perspective for me; racism’s foundation branches only from viewing the surface and what they’ve seen in the past. I personally try not to look at people and make assumptions about them but if I do I am always open to see how they portray themselves. People usually only show you what they want you to see and even then most of the time that isn’t who they really are. That’s why if we want to live in a peaceful post-racial society (which is pretty far out of reach) we need to look past the surface, the isms, and the preconceived notions of how certain people are supposed to act.
If you are reading this and you’re white, do not feel guilty. Racism isn’t anybody’s fault, we just need to take responsibility for our actions and attitudes towards each other and realize that none of us are different. If you are reading this and you’re black, do not blame your white peers for racism. If you want to place blame, blame the government, the media, the police. Also we all need to teach our sons and daughters love and compassion, not hate and discrimination. Breaking the cycle is so important because hate is not something we’re born with, it is taught.