Racism's hard to perceive when you've been exempted from it.
by Liam C. on October 2, 2014 - 9:04pm
In Kali Holloway’s article “Racism is so insidious, even black people underestimate it”, posted by the guardian on September 29th, 2014, the author underlines people’s ignorance in regards to the true size of racism and it’s pervasiveness in North American society. Her main point in the article is that most americans (generally white people) don’t believe that racism is a real factor in the US, and that many believe it is “entirely made up by black people”, despite all the evidence to prove it. She begins by underlining the effects of racial profiling in context to the justice system. For example, she points out that compared to white citizens, people of color are much more likely to get frisked. She also points out that, even though statistics show that white Americans are more likely to use illegal drugs, there are many more black citizens who get arrested for the same crime, and that on top of it, they are prone to getting longer sentences than their white counterparts. Even more morbid than that, the “blacker” a person looks, the more likely they are to be sentenced to death. She further underlines the issues that arise when a person with a foreign-sounding name attempts to search for a job, and how much easier it is for them if they simply “Americanized their names”, implying that cultural differences are also picked out to form racial bias. The worst part is, since most white people are exempted from this sort of treatment, racism is invisible to them, and they’re hence ignorant to the potential problems their colored neighbours may be facing in their everyday lives.
I believe that she’s got a point, because it’s true that white people (myself included) take their privileges and advantages for granted, and aren’t nearly as aware of racism as those who have had first-hand experience. I myself didn’t think racism to be a big deal nowadays until I took this class and began seeing all the real effects of racial profiling, even here in Canada, a country which only a year ago I believed to be nearly free of racism. Her examples of racism are very powerful and relevant to many of our society’s issues today, as well as informative, yet I find it disturbing how the author could point her finger at white people and say they believe that racism is simply made up by black people, especially since the source she gave for the information is related to people who believe that racism doesn’t exist anymore since Obama became president, and not that they believe it was made-up. I’m not saying that no white people believe that racism is made up, because I’m quite certain there are a few who agree, but I believe that in this case the author is over-generalizing the opinion of white people, and some of her assumptions regarding them resemble the same stereotyping that she is trying to condemn.
Holloway, Kali. (2014, September 29th 2014). “Racism is so insidious, even black people underestimate it”. The Guardian. Retrieved October 1st, 2014 from http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/sep/29/racism-black-people...