Tired Phrase: “I’m Not Racist”

A few weeks ago, I was contemplating the Sandra Bland case and trying to gain more views and perspectives on the possibilities of the situation. While combing through the minds of some of my close friends and acquaintances, there was one interview that struck me as particularly peculiar. After being asked the question “how do you feel about race?” this individual responded and said “I’m not racist.”

When faced with the concept of race, many people feel the need to establish their supposedly unbiased livelihood as to assure the other person that they will be better fit to give a neutral response. I have found that the people who instantaneously claim their non-racism are attempting to mask a fear of having their honest opinions being deemed invalid.

For those who are unaware, the definition of racism is …

the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.

In many cases, racism can be mistaken for mere pride in ones race or ethnic group and vice versa. It has become clear that people allow themselves to be intimidated by the opinion of others in regards to race when, in fact, anyone at any point and time can be racist whether it is for the duration of a conversation or throughout a lifetime. In today’s society, we are quick to forget the universal presence of division among people, locations, neighborhoods, and cultures. Each divide comes with a separate title of it’s own ranging from racism to nationalism to ethnocentrism and so on. In any event, there is always a finger being pointed at the individual who cordially displays their views without alteration. Social standards forbid the outward expression of racism…when it doesn’t work to their advantage. For example, there have been many cases in the news recently regarding police brutality and racial profiling. The individuals who are victims of these injustices–usually Black–often feel the need to include race as a major factor in the recent happenings but because these “racist accusations” of White-on-Black aren’t marketable in society, they’re quieted almost immediately. Whereas the undeniable presence of the Klu Klux Klan and Caucasian individuals parading around advertising the Confederate flag is nothing more than “citizens exercising their freedom of speech and expression as Americans”. To be sure, I’m not the only one who notices the manipulation of racism to not only make people shy away from the topic of race but to be conditioned that it is solely for the use of White America.

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