Knowledge Is Power
Race may always be an issue within society. In The United States, it has always seemed to be a prevalent part of the cultural make-up, as well as media focus. From the early days of slavery to today’s racial stereotypes and profiling, race seems to play a large role in political and social issues.
I, being of mixed-race, have seen the world in black and white for the most part (no pun intended). I always saw those who judged my parents for being together as being stupid and bad. However, recently I came to realize that there is more to racial profiling than just bad people assuming bad things about others based on their ethnic background. Yes, arrogance and naiveté are for the most part what causes negative stigmas for races, but there is more at play than good versus evil here.
The key to why arrogance causes many people to judge race resides in one’s education. From what I personally have witnessed, the main reason why people judge is not found naturally in them. They didn’t wake up one afternoon and say, “You know what? Black people are ruining this great country!” I have noticed that it is, most of the time, integrated in their upbringing. Some people may have grown up believing that other races derive from lower social classes or inferior societies.
For example, my uncle is a fairly conservative man. He drives an eighteen-wheeler for a living and in his experience he has met many people. I have heard a multitude of humorous tales from him and his trucking adventures (most I believe are fiction). But from time to time I hear some quite edgy opinions of his. While at dinner with my family one weekend, he told a story of how a newer truck driver was unsure about how to do a certain job related task. I cannot recall the exact details or even the premise of my uncle’s story, but I do remember that it was humorous. Yet, I was a little disturbed by my uncle’s comment in the middle of the tale, “No offense Mac,” he prefaced, “but mind you, this was a colored boy…” And then the story continued to the point.
I suppose I wasn’t offended much, but I was confused. First of all, in what way was this comment relevant to the focus of the story? And secondly, colored is still an adjective for black people? I suppose I wasn’t there for that memo. But back on track, I know he truly meant it when he said no offense, I don’t believe my uncle to be a racist, he may be a tad judgmental though. I do realize that my uncle was hinting that somehow the trucker’s race had a role in his inability to perform this particular task.
Now to the point, what was the underlying factor to this stereotype? I wouldn’t put my finger on racism, mainly because my uncle respects me and my black dad, but I would guess a bit of ignorance was peaking it’s head in on this situation (of course no offense to my uncle). It is really nobody’s fault in most cases that they are unaware of the power behind their unintentional profiling.
This is where the solution comes into the picture. Rather than me, or anyone caught in this awkward situation for that matter, jumping down a person’s throat or using an “I am higher than thou” prerogative to put down a person caught in ignorance’s grasp, I can simply inquire about how what they said was a bit touchy for many people today. This is what can change the way many people view their actions. Education is the key to understanding, and understanding is the key to equality and additionally the key to ending the progression of minor and major racism. With this we can keep racial profiling and stereotypes a piece of our nation’s, and hopefully the world’s, history, rather than a piece of days to come.