In a moment of serious contemplation, people of color can have a better understanding of the racial animosity in America. First, for almost all of their lives, most white Americans have had little to no personal interaction with people of color. They live in secluded towns far outside the city limits, on Midwest farms, gated suburban communities, high rise penthouses, and in deep woods, rural enclaves.
Some form of integration may dot their communities in schools and certain workplaces with one or two minority families, but most of their knowledge of Blacks, Hispanics or any other ethnic group comes from Hollywood or Fox News. Of course, we know the stereotypes Hollywood has laid for people of color, as thieves, slackers, drug dealers, and Rappers, and mainstream media is no better with their early morning single Black woman with 5 kids on food stamps in the hood interviews.
We know of the darkened, photoshopped suspect shots of looters in hoodies, (even though the actual looters could be any race); we also know of the Black or Hispanic poster kids for poverty, the Black LGBTQ couple asking for help with STDs, and the pregnant Black woman that hang loud on passing billboards over the byways and rural routes through towns across the fruited plains. And we are familiar with the Fox News 24/7 loops of Black people rioting in the streets, burning buildings from footage from years ago in a totally different city for whatever reason. Making people believe this is happening every day, all day for years. And the long lines of South American families walking miles to bust through the gates of the US border.
So, consider the fact that these whites have only images in their minds of what and how people of color behave, or are supposed to behave, and they take these images with them, throughout life. There are many people of color that are asked stereotypical questions and hear racist remarks and jokes about chicken, tortillas, egg foo Young, and towelheads and any other scripted Hollywood phrase they have heard on television or from their bigoted uncle, who also has never had any real interaction with anyone other than the town folk.
When some whites do get a chance to actually mingle with a group of people of color, if they get a chance to venture out to a diverse college or work somewhere closer to the cities that hire based on diversity, they see another side of the story. They will either look hard for the stereotypes and engage with people that way or they will actually learn that people are people whoever they are. The problem with the latter is the stereotypes have been drilled so hard into their brains they would rather believe what they have learned instead of learning the truth about reality and actually talking to or getting to know someone new and different.
Sad to say, some white folks never find reality and hold to the illusions and lies, and take those lies with them out into life, into adulthood, into their jobs, and worse into public offices and politics. Some end up discovering the truth the hard way when they approach the wrong person of color and throw their limited knowledge at that person and eventually get their feelings (or face) hurt really bad. The wake-up call can be a good thing if accepted, but if rejected, they take away an even worse belief of people of color.
This happens more often than not. When white people discover that all they have been told about people of color are lies, when they meet one and are out done or out thought on some level by one; or especially if they are attacked or humiliated by some person of color. Then they embrace resentment and a life long goal to make life hard for that particular ethnic group either by law enforcement, methods of economic deprivation, or social degradation. Vengeance is sometimes strengthened by the hard truth. Which is probably why Hollywood producers and cable news anchors have their way with racial stereotypes. Most of them have been hurt or just don’t know any better.
The strange thing about race relations in America is that most people believe that racism is stronger in the South, which was true at one time, but it has spread and intensified in many secluded areas of the country. In fact, race relations in the South are more bonded together because it is where a majority of Blacks and Hispanics have been for years, even since the Civil War and before. There are family and neighbor ties that are strong.
Most southern whites and Blacks have a respect for one another and have lived the same lifestyles, ate the same foods, and interacted at the workplace and in the outdoors together for generations. Though the racism is still there, and can be quite violent at times, there are boundaries, but no surprises. Whites know who they are dealing with. The only reason racism still exist in the South is because of animosity born out of tradition. I’m white, I’m in the South, I’m suppose to be a racist.
In essence, if whites were to mingle more among people of color and actually sought to learn about them and how to respect other cultures and ethnic groups, they would see that the lies being told to them through Hollywood and Fox News have dumb them down and limited their intellect far more than their intellect should have been. Maybe they will learn to resent the lies and seek to strengthen the ties that bind all people when they become the minority.
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