America, just like every other country, will never be post-racial. One of the many weaknesses of the human race is that people can not stop separating themselves into groups. Whether this means financial classes, races, or even countries, every person will identify another based on the “group” to which he or she belongs. In most cases, this is not done out of ignorance or reproach. Even the most accepting person who will look past any differences between himself and a fellow person, will not be able to keep himself from putting the other person into a “group” subconsciously. Hiben-Nigatu illustrates this point using the micro-aggression memes. People often ask questions that they think are innocent, but that actually make others feel uncomfortable or misunderstood. However, people have been separating one another into groups since the beginning of time. There were always different tribes, cultures, and religions, and people have always felt differently from others based on these distinctions. America has clearly come a long way in the fight against racism, and has turned into a very accepting nation. Certainly, a black president in the White House is proof of that. But with all of the joy that came from finally being able to say that America has a black president, does it really prove that we’re even close to post-racial?
I would argue that the opposite it true. Americans were so hell-bent on proving that racism is a thing of the past, that they voted a man into the White House almost exclusively because of his race. If that’s not racist, I don’t know what is. This is not to say that people out there don’t agree with Obama’s policies, or his “hope and change” motto, but race certainly became the key issue in the 2008 election. Many were afraid to say anything against the president because they were automatically thought of as racist if they did. Furthermore, many citizens who normally wouldn’t vote rushed to vote for Obama simply because they wanted to be able to say that they were a part of voting in the first black president. In an effort to explain how the race was even close at a certain point, a CNN reporter claimed that race must be keeping a lot of people from voting for Obama in the polls. Obviously, there were people in the country who did not vote for Obama because of the color of his skin. But I would argue that there were many more who did vote for him because of his race. Either way, it’s racist. Citizens should vote for whomever they feel will do the best job for the country, but for most of the election process, policies and plans were completely overshadowed by race. The only way that this election would have been fair is if both candidates were black. If you consider that concept, you will see why America is very far from being post-racial.
Social media has become a very common form of communication, so the fact that some people are using it for the wrong reasons is unavoidable. In some ways, this progression to the internet it a good thing because it means that people are too afraid to be openly racist, so they hide behind the computer screen instead. This movement to social media also takes any physical violence out of the equation as it is replaced mostly with ignorant comments or prejudicial rants. On the other hand, it may make stereotypes and micro-aggression more common because the consequences are difficult to predict. When one is racist in a face-to-face conversation, the danger is obvious. However, when one is sitting alone in his room, he feels much less nervous about posting some harsh, malicious slur. Therefore, the movement to social media does not have much of an effect except that it gives crazy people a place to share their racist beliefs without having to fear. It is very easy to ignore such people, so unless a user is particular touchy or easily angered, confrontations are avoidable. Micro-aggression definitely increases due to this on the other hand. Many micro-aggressive memes appear on these sites, and much of the time they are done by people who share the same race. Just as the black men in the restaurant told the black protagonist, “Brother, black people don’t do that,” in Toure’s book, many people share prejudices about their own races with each other. A black man might be made fun of for disliking hip hop, and liking hockey. A Chinese person might be assumed to be smart, and a white person assumed to be rich. These stereotypes have become even more common as a result of social media. Therefore, despite the fact that racism in general seems to be decreasing, it is still very prevalent in today’s society on a national level regarding the president, and a personal level regarding micro-aggression.