Sadly where you live in the Unites States can depend on if you ever experience racism. Obviously what race you are also factors in. For many minorities, racism won this election. For many minorities this election simply showed us how much more work we have in this great country of ours. We all want to sleep with a dream of someone that had a dream. What we woke up to was the reality that it was just a dream… just a dream.
I have lived my life surrounded by racism. As an Asian growing up in the deep south, I had the privilege to experience racism from many different sides and angles. I learned quickly growing up that everyone can be racist. All groups can feel dominate in situations and can take their racial aggression out on people. And some of the most racist actions and words have been flung in my direction by other Asians. That is the sad reality of this world; we can’t even destroy racism within our own races.
Have you ever encountered someone that hears about a racist incident on television or the news and their immediate response is “that doesn’t really happen anymore or that doesn’t happen around here.” The problem is that while people are faced daily with documented proof that racism still exists, still you have your deniers that will spend their last breath saying that racism is really dead. Take for instance the recent examples of “blackface” that have appeared in the news. Every single person that was caught and got in trouble (most were college students) from doing this act ALL SAID “I am not a racist.” They’d go even further and try to defend themselves by saying “ask anyone that knows me… this isn’t who I am.”
The reason racism won this election is because people want to believe so badly it is dead. The television shows us New York City, LA, San Francisco, and other areas of America where multiple cultures get along, thrive, and prosper from their interaction. These images permeate our news networks because someone wants us to believe that we are seeing America in general. It is a lie honestly. Those are the areas of America where racism is being actively combated and acceptance is growing. The issue is that for every area like that, there are hundreds throughout this country that aren’t welcoming to minorities or those of color. Those are the places the cameras should be visiting. Those are the places that keep racism alive.
Do you consider it racist to “not care” about a race you have no interaction with? Many people will automatically say YES and “we should care about everyone!” The fact is that not everyone in this country has contact or interaction with other races on a daily basis and because of that those races become a nonfactor. It seems impossible right? It isn’t. There are many counties, suburbs, and even large portions of states where the population is predominately white. In those areas the people become secluded and that seclusion makes their own ideals seem like a universal thing. When they turn on the television though they see anger, hate, racism, and violence in other cities. They instantly connect those actions with the minorities involved and because of this they form a blanket opinion of race in general. That blanket opinion is that “only those we know matter and they are right here in our town.” Why do you suppose people adopt that attitude?
It is not breeding racism to point out it exists. If anything it helps us to pinpoint where we are failing as a society… and where we need to improve. For such a great nation, and make no mistake I love America, we have some serious work to do to ever get to the point where racism is a bad dream. For now racism exists… it simply presents itself in different forms of obliviousness to the reality around us. Because of that we walk in a dream, it is simply the wrong dream for this nation.
Jason C. Cushman