Written by Kris Colley II
Note: This post is solely a posed question. Cause if I had the answer I’d have the solution to the problem that continuously plagues our society. Hopefully when asked #WhyBeRacist? the answers can spark a discussion and reflection that can lead to the conversation that we as people and specifically as Americans need to have.
My question to everyone reading this is simply why be racist? Another way to ask is in our modern social media style of #WhyBeRacist? For the majority of my 22 years on God’s green Earth, I have never fully understood human’s fascination with division among people of different complexions. Is it because I am black and this issue is more frequent and evident in my everyday life? Or is it because it’s a moronic tradition that we as a society love to practice? Is it that we humans, the smartest mortal beings on this planet, cannot get over something as little as a genetic difference?
Making it even worst we have established titles and stereotypes to accompany these heinous divisions, I won’t mention any cause I’m sure many have just leaped into your cranium, but attaching insults to something so minor puzzles me even more greatly. I believe that before judging or stereotyping, I need to take the time to understand and learn as much as I can from someone who’s different from me. On top of stereotypes being insolent they are often not even close to being factual!
Are you racist because someone is different from you and you don’t agree with people being different? Is you desire for power so pertinent that a human beings become sub-human? What do you even take from being racist? What is gained by being racist? Honor? Pride? A cookie? Does your job give you a raise for being prejudice? Does Taylor Swift or Drake sing your song because you’re a bigot? Honestly, what is the perk of it? If you don’t know then why does it remain so relevant?
Does your racist joke get a hehe or a haha? Or is it that so desired chuckle from your friend that is just as lost as you are? What do you get out of being racist?
I understand in past generations being a racist was a sign that you were with the in-crowd or majority. Ironically, people were racist for acceptance. Most often in today’s culture, this is still the reason to why people choose to discriminate. Racism is a taught institution, whether it be through the media or the home environment. Both ways can be undone by exposure and seeing a person not as White, Black, Native American, Jewish, Indian, or Asian, but rather as just a person. It’s as easy as that.
What is taught can be untaught. Say I was socialized that 1+3 was 9 and I spent a fine majority of my life belligerently answering 9 anytime I was presented with this problem, it would not be crazy to believe that I can confront my fuzzy math skills and re-learn that 1+3 is in fact 4. Your beliefs on race can change with an open mind and open heart!
American history is troubling because those people of the past “great” generations thought blacks and other non-whites were born savages, animal-like creatures, and socially inferior. Come to find out, “race is a socially constructed concept, not a biological one. It derives from people’s desire to classify. People seem to be natural classifiers” (Sternberg & Kidd, 2005). This is a quote from a published psychology study from Yale University titled, Intelligence, Race, and Genetics.
The primary reason people vary on the skin color spectrum is due to the polymer, melanin. Melanin as defined by the CDC is, “the pigment that colors the skin.” Medicinenet.com continues, “It provides some protection against skin damage from the sun, and the melanocytes increase their production of melanin in response to sun exposure.”
My question remains bluntly: why be racist? If there is a sufficient, well thought out, non-offensive solution or explanation, I would love to hear it…How can we expect to live in a society, which should be swaying towards a more cosmopolitanism state of living due to this age being the most connected this globe has ever been, if we can’t even understand a construct we humans created ourselves? More often, it is our love of power over others that keeps this institution thriving. Racism is a pigment Rubik’s cube if you will…except people have been lynched, tortured, raped and killed for not figuring out this quandary.
Is racism that systemic that we cannot see another life? You can envision the characteristics of a Husky, a Boxer, and a Chihuahua and called them all dogs. And what’s the difference between a Bengal and Siberian Tiger? Both are Tigers eh? This is an extreme example to illustrate that although they are all different they are characteristically the same. Same goes for humans, we’re all different but in the end were all humans. Ultimately, people just want to be loved, accepted, and cared about. And that is consistent across race, gender, and age.
This society is our canvas and is this how we choose to paint it? One color over here and another over there. This one is above that one and this hue perceiving that hue as inferior. Take a step back; what does this portrait look like? Would the great artist of the past enjoy the image we have presented? I don’t know, but I know that I would like to analyze and live in a society that accepts the full color spectrum.
For the few who will read this, as the protesters at the University of Missouri have demonstrated power is in the numbers. Change starts one person at a time. I challenge you to sincerely become a friend or ally of someone who does not look like you by the end of the year. And maybe then you can answer the question: #WhyBeRacist?
Editorial Proverb: Just because you are not racist, doesn’t mean your friend isn’t. Have the confidence to confront racism when you see and hear it.
Editor: Kyle Colley