Sunday, November 2, 2014

But Some of My Best Friends Are Black...

After watching the video "Between Barack and a Hard Place: Challenging Racism, Privilege and Denial in the Age of Obama 2", I had a lot to think about.  Growing up in a primarily Caucasian community, I could count the number of non-white students in my school on one hand.  As Wise points out in the video, we tend to use the term "friend" too broadly.  He questions whether you can give your alleged "friend's" phone number, address, mother's name, etc.  If you cannot, he argues that the person is an acquaintance, rather than a friend.  This probably explains how 75% of white people say they have many black friends (which is not mathematically possible).  I found this logical way of looking at things very interesting and eye opening.  Another great point Wise discussed is that most people "view racism as an interpersonal phenomenon when it is so much more than that" and think "if I'm cool with people who happen to be from a different group then that means that I don't have any biases".  When he dissects this logic, he asks whether or not there are there any men in this country that are sexist?  And are any of them heterosexual?  By the logic that one is not racist because she has a black friend, any man who is married to a woman, dates a woman, or even is simply attracted to women, cannot be sexist.  Meaning that the only sexist men are homosexual men.  Therefore, this logic is clearly unstable.

Wise also brings up the idea of of differential treatment.  There is an inequality of opportunity and condition for people of color.  Often times in schools students are separated into class levels, that will determine how far they can go in their high school careers based more on stereotypes and "racial profiling" than by their actual intellectual ability.  This is unfair and places an unfair disadvantage on students of color and/or minority.

This article, "I taught my black kids that their elite upbringing would protect them from discrimination.  I was wrong", offers great insight into the ideas of discrimination, racism, and privilege in the world we are living in today, in 2014.

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