“Just see if you can Jew him down.”
“Damned Asians! Y’all can’t drive to save your lives!”
“Look at you, with them Puerto Rican shoes on.”
“They smell like dogs when their hair gets wet.”
Have you ever uttered any of those statements in your lifetime? If so, did you realize the impact that they carry? I have often said that while Caucasians may lead the pack when it comes to racism, they certainly hold no monopoly. Almost all of us, at some point or another, have uttered some type of racial or ethnic slur, many times without even realizing that you have done so.
I try to add a little flava, and a little humor to my posts from time to time, but, the main reason for opening this blog is to help keep racism at bay, to help launch a platform for obliterating it from society in . . . well, someone’s lifetime, and to make everyone aware that racial discrimination is alive and well. I am often accused of bringing up the issue of race in the course of conversation. I am guilty as charged. Unlike so many people that I’ve come across, I have no qualms about bringing up the subject of race. I see no harm in making folks aware of the FACT that racism still exists. It seems that it is sometimes very difficult to make others understand the concept of why their attitudes or statements are racist in nature. I need no primers in the subject matter as racial discrimination is a part of my life, almost on a daily basis.
The first step that I take in explaining that a person’s words or deeds are racist in nature, is to try to get them to understand that there are two parts to racism: the person practicing racism and the person who is at the brunt of the racist remarks or actions. It is usually the one practicing the racism who has the most difficult time grasping the notion of racism. For example, if a Caucasian has not been a victim of racial discrimination in their lifetime, they will rarely understand why you take offense to something that was said or done. It’s relatively close to the difference in learning by the wisdom of others and learning by experience. One can conceptually grasp an idea presented by another, but, will not necessarily get the full meaning of it unless they have actually experienced that concept in action. Racial discrimination can be easily placed in the same category.
The tenets of racial discrimination can be either subtle, blatant, or both. Those that are blatant are very easy to deal with. They are usually as plain as the nose on one’s face. We normally come across it when it is being used by someone who is all too aware of what they are saying or doing, and, more often than not, don’t really care. It is the subtle form that gives us the most difficult time in both recognizing it and correcting it. The examples that I gave at the very beginning of this post are some of the subtle forms of racism and racial discrimination. They are subtle mostly because they are not usually directed towards a particular person, have been picked up by hearing it from family and community members, and are most likely used without even realizing the error of their ways. Subtlety can often be determined by the intention, with ill-will not being a part of that intent.
To obliterate racism and racial discrimination one can start anywhere. The important thing is to . . . start. Since we are always in our own backyard, why not start there? Let us take a closer look at the things that we say and do. Let us be conscious of the impact that words and deeds can have on others and upon ourselves. A wise man said that ignorance is bliss. A wiser man said that ignorance is no excuse for bad behavior. If we recognize that our words and actions are harmful, we can monitor them. By monitoring them, we can weed that behavior from our daily routine, eventually obliterating it from our lives altogether.
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