Before people even get to know someone, they judge them by their appearance. The first thing people notice is ethnicity. They make assumptions about others instantly. They create a world in their heads, imagining them as whatever stereotype that comes to mind. They may not say anything about it, but they assume things they don’t truly know.
“Can you help me with my math homework? You’re supposed to be good at this!”, “Do you eat rice every day?”, and “Are you Chinese or Japanese?” are a few racially insensitive questions I’ve been asked before. Sometimes I wonder if I should blame them for being passive enough to blindly accept all of the stereotypes they have heard or if it’s not their fault for not knowing better due to the media’s influence.
Technology and the media have both helped and hindered America’s progress towards a post-racial society. On one hand, social media and the internet have helped spread knowledge about how racist people can be. For example, Alexandra Wallace made a rant about Asians in the library at UCLA. Her video went viral and she was criticized. But this probably also caused society to realize how racist certain people can be and has driven society away from that type of thinking. People like Wallace have set an example of what not to be. This is something that has helped America progress towards becoming more racially sensitive.
On the other hand, however, the media has subconsciously made individuals even more racist. Through internet memes, stand-up comedians or talk show hosts, movies, and television shows, the media has reinforced racial stereotypes. While subtle racist jokes are seemingly used for innocent comedic purposes, they are actually making people more racist, without them even realizing it. People will watch television shows and laugh about the stereotypical joke thinking that it is harmless. But what also happens is that they start to subconsciously believe these stereotypes. People think to themselves, “Well if it wasn’t true, then why would they make a joke about it?” This begins to manifest itself into actual racism and eventually causes people to make assumptions about people, based on the stereotypes and jokes they saw on a television show. For example, WWE tag team Cryme Tyme was a duo of two black wrestlers who portrayed stereotypical African-American street thugs. It may seem harmless, but it reinforces the assumption that young black males are street thugs. Jokes about stereotypes might not seem like a big deal, but they are actually harmful to society and racism will never die if it continues.
So, will America ever become truly post-racial? Yes. It’s possible that, in time, the majority of people will become less judgmental and more willing to learn about an individual rather than making blind assumptions based on ethnicity. Of course, there will always be exceptions. There will still be people here and there who will continue on with a prejudiced mindset. But the majority of people may not feel that way. America is a very progressive country. Not too long ago, non-white people did not have the same rights as whites. It was considered acceptable to be racist. That was the norm. Now, any celebrity who makes a racist quip is almost forced to make a public apology in order to save face. The public eye finally sees racism as negative. Even though people may not say it out loud, because they don’t want to be criticized or politically incorrect, they still hold racist opinions. However, this is still much better than society fifty years ago. The progression from then to now is quite significant. It may take a while, but at this rate the people of America will eventually become more racially diverse and less ignorant.