If you're like many Americans, you've convinced yourself that in this country everyone has the same opportunities and that there is absolutely no excuse for failure in our land of the free. If you work hard, really hard, you can be successful, right?
If you agreed to any of the statements listed above, you could be prejudice.
Let me explain.
Close your eyes. Imagine you see an American man wearing a suit. You might think "Oh, he must be a business man at some company or a banker or something."
Now be completely honest: What was the race of the American man in your mind?
Typically when people (especially white people) are asked to imagine or describe a business man whose American, they see him as white.
When you picked up Harry Potter, did you read anywhere in there that he was white? No, because it was assumed by both the author and the reader. A sprinkle of other races were present, but they had to be pointed out to the reader.
Am I calling J. K. Rowling racist? Absolutely not. In fact, she is an artist I admire quite a bit. I'm making a point.
Here's another example. Name the first scary movie that comes to your mind. Now, tell me, who was the first person to die? I'm willing to bet that it was probably a black person, if there were any casted with speaking roles that is.
This perpetuates the ideas that black people's lives aren't valued. On the news, they're only shown killing each other, so to make the movie more authentic, they should have a shorter lifespan, right?
Yes, I know what you're thinking. In Alien vs. Predator the black girl is the only survivor. That's a cinema enigma.
Not convinced? Okay, how about this angle. Readers and movie viewers fall in love with characters and almost feel like they've have a relationship with this person. They are written to be loved, hated, envied, pitied, etc. So, how many minority characters have you fell in love with?
I'm not saying that you don't know because you're prejudice, I'm saying they weren't written for you to love.
They were probably fillers to the story. Flat characters used as props or comedic purpose.
How many movies with a majority of minority cast members have you ever watched that didn't include gang members, a comedic crack head, a crazy grandmother figure, or a pitiful juvenile holding on to his dreams of becoming a professional athlete?
Probably not many, because, those are black movies.
Wait, did you really just think that?
Do you think that when a minority goes to the movie, they believe films without minority leads aren't for them to watch?
Aren't these coincidences strung together in some ridiculous plot to blame the so called "man"?
If you answered yes to the latter, you are probably someone who enjoys white privilege.
Example: When you walk into a room of strangers and meet someone for the first time, however they experience you is what they think of YOU and YOU ALONE. But if you meet an Asian, you automatically think back to all the asians you've ever encountered to look for common ground, or you feel it important to ask them about cultural issues that THEY can relate to.
Why does the only asian at the party represent their entire race and you only represent yourself? Do people ask YOU about white people issues?
White people issues? You're probably wondering what those even are.
So why do we think it's appropriate to ask strangers these kinds of questions?
Here's the worse I've ever witnessed and do witness way too often.
My friend is 100% Indian, not Native American, Indian. People automatically think he's Mexican for some reason, and when he says he's not, do they apologize for their ignorance? No. They ask "Oh, well what are you?"
HOW IS THAT OKAY?!
I have another friend whose Korean who is constantly called Chinese and a Puerto Rican friend who is told that she is the same as a Mexican.
Those are two completely different countries and dialects!
The worse part of it all is that the people responsible for hiring, firing, approving, authorizing, and denying decisions that affect our livelihood have these same thoughts.
Isn't that terrifying?
I didn't write this to upset you, start mess, or use the internet as a soap box. I wrote it to open to your eyes to prejudice in 2014. I'm not saying that any of it is your fault, or that you are a bad person.
I'm not even calling you prejudice. (I don't know you)
I'm calling it to your attention because it means we all still have work to do. Civil rights issues among minorities are very much alive and we need to detox our minds from the filth of the past so we can see clearly. Interact without predetermined judgements of someone's character based on their race. Give people a real chance to show you who they really are.
Give people a chance to actually feel free.