It’s just past 12 at night and you’re walking home. It’s dark, and there aren’t many people on the street. You look behind you and there’s a black man. What is your reaction?
Posts tagged society
I’ve seen it so many times it rarely surprises me any more. It’s become path of the course like washing you hands after you’ve used the toilet or closing your front door behind you when you enter your home. Casual racism is so prevalent in our society, most don’t even notice it any more. Most don’t even notice when they’re responsible for it.
With the recent cases in the football world, the topic is now at the forefront of most peoples minds. For some racism doesn’t exist any more. It’s a grudge held by some ethnicity’s against white people, a crutch they use when things go wrong. For others racism is everywhere; it’s in the coffee shop they frequent, it’s on the bus they take to work. It’s on their televisions at home.
The truth is somewhere in the middle. Whilst some people experience these things more frequently (most likely because of where they live) others are sheltered away from it by their environment. They are protected by a system of discretion and concealment. A system that hides the truth in plain sight like a well trained magician.
I will be the first to admit racism makes me unfomfortable. Growing up in a area where there is a constant tussle between the black people and the police, racism is something often used here by some as a shield against their own wrongs. I have witnessed on many occasions people breaking the law, then crying racism when they are brought to book for it.
I have also witnessed and experienced the reality of racism myself. What strikes me is, most people don’t understand what is “racist” any more. We seem to be stuck in the mindset that to be racist you have to call someone by a racial term or treat them differently because of the colour of their skin. Any one who is openly racist is not idiotic enough to behave in this outdated manner.
The modern racist is very subtle, casual. Casual racism is something that i’m sure everyone who reads this has witnessed, even if they don’t realise it. How many times have you been at a train station in the morning, turnstiles open, people are walking through yet a random black youth is selected and asked to produce his ticket? Most of you would look at that and see nothing wrong.
Stereotyping is what racism has evolved into. It’s a less outrageous word. A word that’s negative, but doesn’t possess the same venom as “racist”. This is why many feel at ease doing it. I can recall many examples when things have happened and I’ve just laughed at how blatant it is now. It’s got to the point where all you can do is laugh at it.
From the way people greet you to the things they offer you, society seems to accept casual racism or stereotyping. I remember visiting a friend in Kent and being greeted by a bouncer at a club with his hand extended in a fist, to nudge me. Small incidents like these makes me, and I’m sure others, uncomfortable. I wouldn’t go into a Indian takeaway and speak in an Indian accent. So why would someone change the way they greet me because of the colour of my skin?
The issues are complex and will never go away. As long as we keep accepting stereotyping, and allowing casual racism to exist in our society, they will remain. Similarly, as long as some people keep using racism as their shield, it will continue to fester. But, I do hope that, through educated discussions, highlighting and speaking up, we perhaps can reach the point where more of us do more to keep it on the fringes of our society, rather than at the heart of it.