Behind the mask; Racism

by Emily24 on October 1, 2014 - 9:20pm

 The article “Is Everyone a Little Bit Racist” by Nicholas Kristof emphasizes the idea that although many consider themselves none racist, they still act in a way that actually is. The author believes that the major issue is not racism itself but instead the people who believe themselves to be moderate and non-racists while acting otherwise. Through the use of evidence taken from surveys and experiences, Kristof proves that although some strongly believe in equality their actions suggest otherwise. An example the author uses is the study showing that schools suspend black students three times more than the white students. Another experiment, published by National Bureau of Economic Research, showed that “white sounding” names get more reply for a help-wanted ad then a “black-sounding” name. According to this experiment, it would have taken fifty percent, out of five thousand, more resumes sent for a the black names to receive feedback. The final example given is one done through the use of a video game that used black and white characters. The point of the game was to shoot the appearing targets that held a gun as opposed to those who were victims. The targets would randomly be white or black yet most of the time, whether or not holding a gun, the black individual would be shot at faster than the white target. It was concluded that the players would react more quickly to shooting if the appearing target was black even though it was not necessarily a danger.

 The article proves that racism can still be found within every individual even though it might not be done on purpose. Teachers are the few that should not promote racism in school, yet according to the article, they still have some sort of negative view on certain races. The fact that black students are three times more suspended then the white students shows that somewhere there is some sort of wrong perception of these students. I have also seen teachers use race as an excuse for students, I remember one criticizing a student for not understanding a math problem even though the student was Asian. School should not be an environment where racism is promoted even though it was just a joke for the teacher it might have offended and hurt the student.

  As for the gaming video, I have to agree that in most video games mot races are portrayed exactly like their stereotypes. Blacks are often in gangs, Asians have amazing hacking or computer skills, Arabs are terrorists and so on. An example can be taken in the famous game Grand Theft Auto where after becoming a black character, one of the fist mission is to go steal stuff. In Call of Duty the black soldier are easier to kill then the white ones and so on.

  Though these examples it is easy to see how much racism surrounds us in our daily life, even in places where it shouldn't be. I agree with this article that everyone is racist in one way. We all laugh when a small racist joke is made and everyone knows at least one. We might not agree with everything that is said but, in a way, we help keep the idea of racism alive and sometimes even spread it.  


I think we're all a little bit racist in a way, as you said, but I would absolutly not laugh at an asian student who doesn't understand a math problem. It is awful that schools keep the idea of racism alive by suspending more black students than white ones. In a way, they are spreading the idea among the students, who will think that black students are bad because they're always suspended. Maybe we are all a bit racist, but maybe it's not our fault either. I think that if teahcers weren't racist, less students would be.

Your title is what caught my attention the most. I also really like the topic because most of the things that you mention, happen to many people. They are events that occur every day. I agree that racism can be found within every person, although some do not seem to notice it or admit to it. Many believe that certain sayings like " Asians are good at math" are sometimes considered as common sense and not racist. That is why I agree about the part when you said that school should not be an environment that promotes racism, because students like the one who had trouble with math, might get laughed at or judged, just because everyone knows that Asians are good at math. The fact that black students are three times more suspended than white students does show that black students are treated differently and nobody really gives them a chance. I saw this documentary about students at a high school in Montreal and there was this black student who got expelled because he was carrying a butter knife (which he used to butter his bread). The principal did not even give him a chance to explain and expelled him right away. I am not sure if it would have ended the same way if it was a white student instead. It is true that we are all racist somehow, but what if we did not have those kinds videogames or movies that can influence the kinds of thoughts that people have about certain individuals, would there be less racism? Overall, though, well said.

I think that it's true that we may all do things that are racist, or that may seem racist to others sometimes, even though it may not always be intentional, however I do not think that that makes us racist. I'll use your example of the stereotypes in video games. It's possible that a child is not racist, however if they are seeing racist stereotypes everywhere in the media so it may seem to them like racism isn't a big issue. I believe that "racist" is a very serious word to define someone as, and I believe that saying everyone is a little racist waters down the word in a way and makes it seem that since everyone is a little racist it's not that big of a deal if someone really is a racist. It is true that everyone may do something that is racist at times (for example telling an offensive joke), but I do not believe that makes them a racist. That being said, I do very much agree that when people say they have never done anything racist or that could be seen as racism, it is a lie. I believe that the first step to getting rid of racism would be to acknowledge that racism exists and that people should be more careful about how they act and what they say.

Great title Emily24 but mask will fade away some day but not completely. I agree whit Nicholas Kristof that many people clam that many people pretend to be non racist. I used to be a student of Champlain collage few years back and it had a club called the music club. The first thing that i do in this club is making racist jokes. I made so many of them, that it did not take time for the club member to get used to it. Then they started to make the jokes. All i did was making fun of my race stereotype. We can not make racism disappear from are world but we can always fight against it. The most innocent members of this club came to me and told me this was a relief. And all i did was laughing of her comment because this was a new beginning on a perspective for the club members. They thought that all black people were supposed to follow there stereotype to be identify has such. Simile to how man in the majority “has” to follow the men box. It is simply a hegemonic masculine view in a society on what men is stereotypically. And what i do is, i inform them that i do not associate to the stereotype because it dose not identify me. That is how i fight racism. First desensitize and inform them.

About the author