Dr. Eric Drown
12 April 2019
Modern Day “Race” Issues, Is There A Way to End Societal “Race” Issues?
The Whiteness Project and the Blackness Project are both huge statement makers. Both projects portray a loud voice with very strong statements involving the racial tensions that run throughout the US today. Both projects give the people who participated a chance to share their personal experience with the problem of racism or to just speak about the topic of race. I feel like all these people on both sides had something to say about the topic at hand. Some things that the people in the whiteness project said were senseless and arrogant but some of the other people in the whiteness project said some things that really made me realize that there are good people who don’t use the color of their skin as a perk. On the other hand, the blackness project displays the same boundaries where people talk about their experiences and things of that such. The blackness project felt deeper obviously because, number one I can relate to their problems, but they also have firsthand experience with the problems that come with racial tensions and racism.
The issue involving “race” is a figure in everyone’s lives, white or black but it may just figure and effect our lives in different ways. For example, Connor from the whiteness project states, “There have been plenty of times where I had consciously taken advantage of the fact that I am white and umm you know I always kind of knew that if I got in trouble I could just get a lawyer, suit up, show up and it’ll just be a slap on the wrist” for example “I’ve been arrested at least 20 times and the only thing that I have on my record is public intoxication”. This very well describes the way “race” effected/effects Connors life. Another example on how “race” effects a white person’s life, “When I got my job for example, I walked in there, and I just looked like a clean cut white person, and they hired me pretty much because of that reason, it’s just the small things that no one really notices, but life’s a little bit easier being white.”- Nicholas from the whiteness project. In this quote Nicholas clearly states that it is just much more easier being white. These are all not things that are monumental in these people’s lives, they won’t have to hide their true self and put on a false persona to get a job. They don’t have to cover their identity when walking in a store, so they don’t get accused of stealing.
“Race”, just reading, hearing, or seeing the word gives me so many flashbacks or being profiled, demoralized or verbally abused. Even when it is told as a joke it still makes me feel a certain type of way of being in the skin I am in, but I will never shame myself for who I am. This statement can be related to the fact that I feel as police or the people who are supposed to be protecting us are either killing us or taking their time saving us because of this idea of race. In the blackness project a man who was interviewed says, “We all a army you know and out here instead of the police doing out here what they doing we suppose to be policing our own communities. When you seeing something out here some type of injustice don’t be a punk man intervein say something that’s your right to say something you know what I mean.” This is a pure example of how black people have become accustomed to trying their best to save themselves and set rules for themselves. There is one more example that explains how just the color of our skin has labeled us as the enemy over the years. Jamie shares her experience, “Every time I come in contact with police it’s always a problem of course, I’m black you white you part of the law I’m a black man out here you think I’m selling drugs, well actually I’m on my way to work.”
If you want my honest opinion, I feel that there would never be an end to racism, I feel like if there was an end. The forever lasting scar would be prone to reopen any time of the day. The only way I feel as if there would be close to an end of racism is raising the next generation of children to no see people as the color of their skin but the color of their blood. Because in that sense we are all the same and equal. But, the downfall to attempting that is, the racists people would not be for raising their children to become not racist, I am a firm believer in you are not born a racist you are taught to be a racist.
The Blackness Project, this is not a clap back at the whiteness project even though that is what it may seem to be. But the Blackness Project is a story, an insight, a learning experience for the people who don’t experience. These people who spoke in this project are people who I relate to on a level in which the Caucasian community. This story is a story about what the African American race has been going through for over 265 years. From slavery to modern day mental enslavement. A story about the trials and tribulations of what we as a race go through on a regular day basis. A story on experience and pain, that pain that will be forever embedded in the African American people’s minds and souls. An insight on these people’s individual stories, these individual struggles that they endure. And finally, a learning experience, take it however you’d like but watching this should be a learning experience in a way that you try and put yourself in the shoes of the people who struggle, the poor, the mentally weak, the people who fall short of societal demands.
We all have a shadow; it is not always visible because sometimes it may be dark outside or there just may be no light where you are standing now. But our shadows are there, they are just something we live with whether they are behind you or beside you. The African American culture is constantly judged by the shadows of their past, “aggressive”, “thieves”, a whole bunch of names and things that people define the black culture as just because of the look of a shadow, something you can’t even see clearly. The black culture has been enslaved in many different forms, and yes, in my eyes black people are still enslaved. Maybe not physically but mentally, we wake up knowing that some societal norms and the way society talks about black people not being able to complete school, have certain jobs, or do certain things. Most of the African American culture has a feeling of not being able to do certain things because society portrays them to being incapable of holding certain positions and jobs. An article in the New York Times perfectly demonstrates and portrays the topics at hand. The article states that, “Ramon Ray, 46, a New Jersey entrepreneur, always dresses in a suit or a sweater. But he has still been asked by strangers to park a car or been handed luggage or a coat to hang up. The bias, Mr. Ray said, was an assumption that he was “the help.” He is also aware of the racist assumption that black men are menacing. It has prompted him to modify his behavior in ways that include keeping his distance from white female strangers, especially in isolated places like parking lots.” There is your reality.
I personally cannot believe that this is a conversation that is still happening, that this is a conversation that is held on an everyday basis. Lorna from the blackness project states “”I felt frustration, I felt frustrated because it is a clear indication that we are still having the same conversation that we were having when I was younger, I thought we would have advanced by now”. For years upon years this has been an ongoing problem throughout out many different generations of people. And all these people go through the same issues even when they are generations apart, they still relate to older generations problems. This shows how deep our blood runs, through suffering, mental and physically destruction, abuse, and every single African American soul is affected. That’s the deep story.
“Race”, “race” has been an ongoing issue for years, I feel like this is the root of all our problems as a human race. “Race” has taken over the way we work as a society, it has diminished opportunities on a societal and personal standpoint, If you pretend to say that the idea of “race” is not real and is not alive and well than this may not be your favorite piece of writing. In this essay I will be trying to explain, portray, and dissect the ideas of “race” and the negative aspects of it. I will be trying to explain how people in modern day society use words, phrases, ideas, images, beliefs and patterns of thought to talk about how race relates to reality. Finally, you will hear my standpoint on where I stand in the idea of thinking of a way where there could be an end to racism.
Here’s a simple way to make you realize that “race” is alive and well. What is the first thing you see when you see someone in a distance whether it is at a bar, park or football game? Most of today’s society will say that they see the color of one’s skin, in which I am not surprised about. All of these consecutive years of the simple label of black and white manipulated the human mind to the point where the color of someone’s skin is the first thing you see when you lay your eyes on them. It all started with the simple label of black, white, tan, purple, pink all these labels were the start of something big. I know some people wish they didn’t see like this and I know some people wish that they didn’t have this habit. I am a product of this, no I am not racist what so ever, but I usually see the color of someone’s skin before anything. This just shows that there is a problem and it has been passed down.
Not only did we label people by the color of their skin, but we gave a definition and stereotype to the color. Whites are usually the wealthier and proper group, compared to blacks where they are defined as the poorer and unproper and ghetto group. In one of the articles in the transcripts Suzanne states, “So, by 1691, we have a definition of white and we have constructed race in what becomes the United States. It’s important that we see this creation was for the upliftment of white people, primarily to support the white people at the top. Poor and working-class whites will get little. They will get just as much as is needed to ensure their allegiance.” – Suzanne. This quote clearly represents my point of the labels and definitions we give.
What is even worse about this topic of conversation is that I know some people who use these labels and definitions against other people, or they use it for their own sake, instead of trying to get out of the habit of these labels and definitions. For example, while watching the videos of whiteness I stumbled upon two very clear and good examples of two men using their labels and definitions to their advantage, “When I got my job for example, I walked in there, and I just looked like a clean cut white person, and they hired me pretty much because of that reason, it’s just the small things that no one really notices, but life’s a little bit easier being white.”- Nicholas. Secondly “There have been plenty of times where I had consciously taken advantage of the fact that I am white and umm you know I always kind of knew that if I got in trouble I could just get a lawyer, suit up, show up and it’ll just be a slap on the wrist, for example “I’ve been arrested at least 20 times and the only thing that I have on my record is public intoxication”- Connor
I speak from the heart; I speak from experience and I speak for the people who can’t. This topic of conversation has been detrimental to my life along with the life of millions of other colored people in this country. Everything I spoke on is true, pure, and my reality. If there were to ever be an end to the racial diversity, the judgement of another person’s skin, and the labels put on my people, I don’t think it will be permanent. I would treat this topic as a healing wound that would never be fully healed. If there were to ever be an end to the racial injustice of today’s modern-day society, it would have to be a complete one hundred eighty degree turn in the beliefs in the next generations views on the color of someone’s skin. I see that as nearly impossible simply because there will always be one person who is taught to be racist or taught to look at black people as the labels that are already stamped on us. I hope this piece of writing gives you an insight on the life I live along with the life of other minorities. We need to unite and stand as one and defeat the constant persistence of racial judgement.