In Today’s Non-News: Racism Still Exists

By February 27, 2016 0

I’ve said it a hundred times, but apparently no one is hearing me.

Let me repeat myself:

Race is a socially constructed norm. It only exists because we let it exist.

Today I taught my all-white class of Connecticut second graders about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’ve shown them videos showing the nightmares of segregation and how black and white kids weren’t allowed at the same schools. I read them a book called Mr. Lincoln’s Way by Patricia Polacco, an amazing children’s author, about a black principal who helps a school bully find his center while also teaching him a thing or two about racial equality.

These  things are old. I’m giving my kids history lessons. They happened ages ago, when my mother was young, long before I was born or even thought of.

And yet, I come home, and here are the headlines I see at the end of a long week spent educating the minds of tomorrow:

“Girl Tweets Heartbreaking Letter from her Dad, Disowning her for Being in an Interracial Relationship.”

“People are Posting Racist Comments on this Instagram of a Black Woman’s Lips.”

These things are old.

And yet, here we are.

The root of this all has to deeply forged in things like community, upbringing, perpetuated stereotypes, and lack of exposure. I am not prejudice against black people because I grew up with black friends. I am not prejudice or judgmental against people with disabilities because I call one my brother and best friend. I am not prejudice against bananas because I’ve tried them, they’re delicious, and I eat them all the time.

Is the world really so blind and small that we still cannot see beyond the ends of our noses? Am I scared of people from Oklahoma because I’ve never met anyone from here? No. Do I hate penguins because I’ve never seen one in person? No. Do I despise tapioca pudding because I’ve never tasted it? No, I can’t despise it — I don’t even know the first thing about it.

Ridiculous parallels to draw? I think not.

The horrible thing here is that we all continue to procreate, and somehow don’t quite get any better. That father who disowned his nineteen-year-old daughter for her few-weeks-young interracial relationship has, most likely, just made the biggest mistake of his life. Teenagers are rebellious and wild and free, and she will now be forced to choose between a fling and her family forever, and that is a horrible position to put any child through.

Granted, her father is a complete jackass, so hopefully she can support herself and forge her own way in the world just fine without him.

And the bitching over a lipstick ad? Really? We’re pissed about black lips now? I’d say that one commenter said it right when she said, “On Kylie Jenner, full lips are ‘innovative’ and ‘beautiful’,” … but I barely even want to condone the conversation in general. There literally is no argument here.

This putrid, infesting, disgusting, unnecessary, unmodern, unsupported tide of hatred has absolutely no place in the 21st century. Imagine if your employer, your neighbor, your colleague read the brutal, racist posts you put online? What if your kids get detention because they repeat the same things mommy says, or do the same things daddy does? What then?

Clearly, these questions fall on deaf ears, because if there was an ounce of conscious behind that social media username, I’m sure it would never give rise to such reproachful speech in the first place. What a shame that we take such ruthless advantage of our first amendment rights to free speech. What a shame that we feel so safe in our own bubbles, that we have no fear or remorse for bursting anyone else’s.

What a shame that these old things are still, sadly, somehow, incredibly new.