The Biggest Elephant You Know…

Over the last couple of months a lot of interesting events have taken place and they’re all related to the biggest elephant in the room… RACISM. There’s the Trayvon Martin shooting which is still under investigation but on the surface looks pretty senseless. There’s the “Don’t Re-Nig” bumper sticker created by a lady from Georgia which urges people not to vote for Obama again. There’s Jessica Elizabeth, a “classy” (I’m be facetious) ex-bartender from a Chicago nightclub, who went on a racist rant on her facebook page. Also can’t forget about the Hunger Game Fans who absolutely lost their sh*t when they found out that two characters from the book we’re cast as black people.  Even though in the book these characters were clearly black. (I guess these folks missed those pages.)  I found this little exchange from Hunger Game Tweets, a tumblr blog dedicated to outing the racist tweeters.

Slight Jab ;)

It’s clear that racism is still as prevalent and real as it was back in the days of Jim Crow laws, only now it’s a sublet and polite racism.  I think for the most part racist people have learned to adapt, they still think a certain way and say things behind closed doors to their friends but they tend to be PC in public.  Then every once in a while an event like the ones mentioned above will take place and then like clock work we’re all shocked that people like this still exist in our society.

The problem with racism in our current society as I see it is two-fold… A) People never talk about racism anymore. If we never address it we can never begin the journey to eradicate it. It almost feels like if we don’t talk about it then it doesn’t technically exist. B) Most of us suffer from the “Bubble Effect“, generally speaking we all tend to hang out with like-minded people who share our principles, morals, and beliefs.  So if I’m not racist, my friends aren’t racist, and their friends aren’t racist… then of course it feels like we’ve reached our racist free utopia but that’s only because we tend to interact with people in our own bubble.

For me, the sad part is I think extremely racist people make up a larger part of society than we’d generally like to admit.  It’s clear that this isn’t a small pocket of society and sure before social media comments like the ones mentioned above would never be public but is that a good thing or bad thing?? When we don’t hear racist things like this we tend to assume we’ve come a long way but in actuality… have we?

I’ll always encourage people to engage in discussions about racism… like this babysitter who chronicles her experience talking about Spiderman with a 4-year-old boy, only to find herself in an awkward situation when he asks “So, the black one is the bad one?” (A fun read)

Only through a healthy discourse can we hope to start seeing real change.

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4 responses to “The Biggest Elephant You Know…

  1. You are so right. This is a very important dialog that is not happening (in an effective way, at least). There are lots of conversations about race, but not racism, its roots, or how to erradicate it.

    I’m originally from a big city, where everyone is very smart in terms of hiding their racism, where everyone makes sure not to say certain words in certain company. Its a quiet racism, which is probably the most dangerous, in my option. Then I moved to a small mid-west town where I was constantly correcting co-workers on those certain words or phrases… “we don’t use that word anymore”. And although, I was quite annoyed by the amount of blatant racial ignorance, at least you knew where everyone stood.

    As a mother of three biracial children, it is very important to me to surround my children with a multi-cultural environment, where they feel accepted and loved, where they feel like they can be themselves, and where they DON’T have to be fearful of racism stopping them from accomplishing their dreams.

    Lastly, we celebrate Dr. King each year, but who is carrying his torch. I think we, as a society, got complacent with the strides that his movement made and dropped the torch. Its time to pick it up and make sure his dream becomes reality for this country and all of the beautiful people who inhabit it.

    Keep the conversation going.
    Much love,
    Taryn

    • Wow, thank you for the comment… your last paragraph was powerful. I’ve never really thought about who was carrying the torch, great food for thought.

  2. Whoa! You hit the nail on the head here! Good read…

    -p

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