Racism is a funny thing. Oh, was that a little insensative? That’s where my point begins. Racism is a concept that stands on the corner between humor and insult. What’s a joke and what’s stereotype? What’s acceptable and what isn’t anymore? Unfortunately, I can only give my two cents on the subject. Back in 2008 when Barack Obama was first elected as president of the United States, Stephen Colbert came to the conclusion that racism was over. Even though the comedian news host’s joke was evident, it raised a good question. Do we live in a Post-Racial society today? In short, no we don’t. Race has become such a deep seated aspect of our social, political, and economic lives that it’s hard to imagine us moving beyond it anytime soon. We have an African american president. This doesn’t change the distrubution of wealth or the way we percieve people on first glance.
People argue that in this modern era of communication there is a newfound solidarity among people of different race. If anything the contrary is true. With constant communication through social networking and blogging, micro-aggressions spread like wildfire. There is a new generation of stereotyping and sadly…
we’re not taking it very seriously.
Misunderstandings become assumptions. Assumptions become jokes. Finally jokes become micro-aggressions.
In this era where all the worlds information is at our fingertips, we still don’t know anything about one another. This ignorance leads to misunderstanding. On the other hand there are stereotypes that are loosely or even just tangentially based on the truth. Let’s give an example. Russians and their undying love of Vodka and other alcoholic beverages. Is drinking a big part of Russian culture? YES! Does that mean that every single eastern european drinks like a fish? NO! Either way, these assumptions become recurring jokes which fuel more misconceptions. The cycle rages on.
To round back to my initial point, no we have not reached a post-racial era. The fact that we can see and hear the consequences of racial diversity is enough proof of that. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever be color blind, but maybe one day color won’t matter anyways.