Posted by: turtlebella | 23 April 2007

Racism, 2007 style

You know, given the recent Imus incident (and other race-related stuff, including Virginia Tech shootings) I thought I might jot down some of my thoughts about racism in the United States. Because quite a few people, okay white people, thought, well know that we got Imus fired we can go back to the racism-free world that is America, 2007. Like because we don’t have Jim Crow laws, we don’t have racism. We live in a “color-blind” world! Everything is good! Imus…and Rosie O’Donnell…and Michael Richards…and Paris Hilton and [insert celebrityracism.jpg with racist actions and/or speech]: they are aberrations, not examples of a racist society, writ large.

And this bothers me. Because it is simply not true, even leaving aside institutional racism, many of us living in this society are racist to one degree or another. It may be buried to varying depths within us all, but make no mistake: it’s there. And so I think it is actually hurtful to think that there are just a few exceptions out there – funny how they are all celebrities – and the rest of us are just fine. Because if we don’t address the racism within us, and work towards change -both at the individual and societal level- then racism, it isn’t going away. It may just simmer underneath the surface, until (seemingly) suddenly something like Imus happens, or the reaction when a young Korean-American goes on a shooting spree and somehow an entire nationality (and one of color- that’s not an accident!) shares the blame, or when brown people try to immigrate to this country. Or on a more personal level, you go to a sports event attended by mostly white people and hear a multitude of racist remarks.

Racism is real. It is here. If you are white and progressive, you may not see it. But ask brownfemipower, Nezua, luisa, Sylvia, BlackAmazon, Marisa, the bloggers at Anti-Racist Parent or any number of bloggers of color. We know it. We feel it. Sometimes it is subtle, sometimes it’s right out there for all to see. It hasn’t gone away just because Imus was fired. It won’t go away until we change ourselves and simultaneously change society. Change, it begins with us, as Latina Perdida recently commented over at Latina Lista. If we don’t change ourselves and actively work to change others all the time (i.e., not just when some white idiot calls black women nappy headed hos), then racism will not magically disappear. So I take the Imus incident as a wake-up call: Racism is still with us, in 2007. We’d better do something about it.

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Responses

  1. it does seem that it is getting called out more than i’m used to hearing it. so i think that is good…. at least there is more dialogue. now if we can only get some real thinkers and some real thoughts into the mainstream, instead of all the stale, ignorant, bloviating that passes for commentary these days.

    and these fools get paid for talking all their smack. ugh. how we ever gonna move forward when everyone is listening to their dumb asses?

  2. I agree bella–and it seems like the more these “issues’ come up, the more people feel threatened and run and hide in their little corners and cry about what good people they are and make us all look like we’re these big bad evil people who have nothing better to do than hunt down poor defenseless old men who are so benevolent towards the poor and the sick and then kick them in the ass. (whew! that was a long sentence!!! but it’s a rant, so that’s ok!! :p)

    It does start at home, and if these people would take their own advice (pull themselves up by their bootstraps and get to work) rather than hiding off in a corner some where, we’d be in a lot better place right now.

  3. oh! oh! bfp, I know! I hated the whole you guys are so bad for making Imus, who’s a GOOD person! really! get fired. My ass. Do you think I WANT to play the race card?! nooooo, I just HAVE to play it cos otherwise people would be just saying all kinds of shitty things.

    and nez- if ONLY we had remotely intelligent people in the mainstream media. How different would our media, our country look?!

  4. I think this is the period where people are learning that although everyone can express an opinion, not everyone in media is entitled to hold it without facing consequences from the public. That’s all this boils down to: entitlement. After a long history of privileged folk being able to talk as much tripe as they wished and not have anyone call them on it because either they agreed or they misunderstood what free speech was, everyone’s realizing that the audience plays an important role in deciding what stays around and what gets cut substantially from social discourse.

    We just have to harness that power in a more piercing way.

    [P.S. *hugs Turtlebella happily* Back to Secret Asian Man writing! ;) ]

  5. Good post, Turtlebella–I’ve blogged about these issues–they are so relevant and so critical.

  6. I was just watching the Tyra Banks show Teenville experiment and I was floored. These 13 thru 16 yr olds are expounding on issues of race, religion, sex , and preference and it was enlightening. The cycle has to be broken we have to start encouraging our children to THINK CRITICALLY. It is easy to recite what we hear our parents say but we need to learn that although our parents can be a wealth of information we need to analyse what they say and hold it to our own standanrd. TV is not reality. People are diverse and if we want to generalise an entire race based off of a small group, then we are cutting ourselves off from experiencing the abundance of the INDIVIDUAL. And yes we do need a more diversified representation of the african american demographic. To show the ecclecticness of our people, and ALL people.

    GENERALIZATION=LAZINESS=IGNORANCE=DEGRESSION=DEATH

  7. black and white people are equal,they should be treated exactly the same as us,because they are the same.Just because they look different does not mean they are different.And they don’t even look that different,the couler of the skin is different and thats it.Everything else is the same as us,we are the same.So who ever is racist be ashamed of yourself.

  8. how ever treats black peopel differantly should be ahamed of them selfs get a life pricks

    love you all

  9. Am black, racism is nonsense whether from a black or white. If ya nose, ears or anythin on ya boby is in a different position than that of the other person of another race, consider ya self different from them but if its otherwise, the one who fears God the most is the one that is the best of all. Wake up guyz white power or blackpower is bullshit. $get it en work 4 a common goal. En if u still discriminate others but still go 2 church, piz stop wastin ya tym coz the God tha created u hate ya nonsense.
    By muzkays (muzkays@yahoo.com)


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