Wednesday, October 19, 2005

SU's Racial Ignorance

It seems like every two days, I always have to restrain myself from walking up to certain people on this campus and shattering their jaws over yet another racist comment or ideology that they dare spew from their mouths or their pens. People who say that racism does not exist apparently need to get their eyes, ears and brain checked out for an affliction of "DENIAL" and need to be medicated with a dose of fucking REALITY (and a jaw tap, for good measure).

Yesterday, SU's Daily Orange, or as some call it here, the "Daily Oppressor," released a story on this student-created show called "Over the Hill" that comes out on this local student television station called HillTV. In a nutshell, for the past year and a half, the show's creators have made a program that, in the spirit of "comedy," is filled with racist skits that constantly make fun of "smelly Indians" and "gang-banging blacks" and the occasional ode to the "good ol' days" when black people were getting lynched "for fun." Now, this show has been going on with episodes like these for over a year, but the reason why no one said anything until now was because in reality, no one around here really watches HillTV. In my opinion, HillTV's always been a waste of money (the station itself is funded with a large percentage of SU's student fee), but now, the fact that HillTV has been wasting our student money on racist shit like this has caused the entire minority community to once again drag themselves out of bed and wearily fight yet another battle in the name of equality and justice.

(You can find the DO article, which also includes clips from the show itself, right here)

Now, before people go and commend the D.O. for its story, keep in mind that this is the same paper that has historically and repeatedly called for the impeachment of every single Student Association President that's ever been a minority, despite the fact that they've all done more for the SU community than the rest. Do not forget that this is the paper that constantly ignores the major racial and gender issues that plague this campus, or downplays major events thrown by the darker skinned members of the SU community, despite their tremendous influence across all of campus.

Now, the apologists are quick to mention that they are tired of talking about racism and minority issues, and don't want to even think about them because the only thing that happens is that people get angry. These are the same people that stay completely silent in class discussions when matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation are brought up, despite the dire need to say SOMETHING about them. These people are the same ones that believe that the only reason that the "-isms" are a big deal nowadays is because "people" (AKA: minorities) keep on bringing them up and using them as a crutch to get anywhere in life.

And then, a few days later, and BAM, another blatantly "-ist" incident occurs. And then the apologists go into hiding, or come out in complete denial (like, foaming at the mouth denial) and tell everyone who's upset that they are "seeing things that aren't there."

Well, fuck you people. Let me give you a small dose of what I dealt with in the past four days alone.

A couple of days ago, in Starbucks, of course, this Caucasian girl walks up to me and says, "Umm, excuse me. Are you in Raices?" (and yes, my fellow Spanish speakers, she butchered the pronunciation, too.) Now, Raices is a Latino dance troupe here on campus that about 20 people are a part of, and they are one of the most successful organizations on campus.

"Umm, no, I'm not."

"Really?" the girl asked.

"Umm, noo... why do you ask?"

"Well, I just thought that because you're Latino, that you'd be in it."

"So, I need to be in Raices just because I'm Latino?"

"Oh, no, it's not that at all. It's just that, well, y'know..."

"What?"

"Well, it's just that, like, what else can your people DO on this campus besides dance?"

....

"Listen, I'm, umm, going to go now. Take care. Please don't be offended! Bye!!"

And she ran out, almost burning herself with her grande, nonfat, sugar-free vanilla latte. From the look that I gave her, I guess she saw that I was definitely NOT happy.

Another incident occurred, once again, at Starbucks, when these two white guys were talking to one another and said,

"Didn't Jamal go to that rally or something in DC this weekend?"

"Yeah, man. He was out there for 12 hours in the cold."

"(Laughs) Man, you can never underestimate the willpower of an angry black man."

(They laugh for 20 seconds, then look at me, on the other side of the cash register)

"Hey, man, you're not angry, right?"

"Not yet," I growled. They looked at me, startled.

"Well, let us order our drinks, and then you can be as angry as you want to be. Hell, you can even start a rally!"

Trust when I say that they got their just desserts when they received their drinks...I made sure that they received broken cups that would collapse on them and burn them as they were on their way to whatever shitty endeavor they were about to embark on. And collapse, they did... :-D

. . . .

Shit like this happens every fucking day here at SU. Whoever says that this shit doesn't happen anymore definitely needs a fucking reality check.

7 Comments:

Blogger Robert said...

Actually, I'd consider the men's and the girl's comment more in the category of a stereotype than racist. You may not like it but it wasn't racism which is defined as seeing oneself as superior based on one's ethnicity.

It's the same as saying republicans hate black people, Chinese people can't drive, white people can't dance, etc. We all have them and for the most part they're stupid generalizations.

10:49 PM  
Blogger djkibblesnbits said...

Robert, I must respectfully disagree. And the Oxford American Dictionary also respectfully disagrees. According to the Oxford American Dictionary, racism is defined as follows:

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

Now, the part about "all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race" is DEFINITELY facilitated in the form of stereotypes, which you correctly identified. True, not all stereotypes are racist, but in these cases, they most definitely are. The girl basically said that the only things Latinos can do is dance, and the white guys tried to mock me as just another "angry Latino," and they did it in such a condescending way. In both instances, as well as the Hill TV debacle, there was definitely an attitude that was taken that was one of assumed superiority over another based on racial lines.

And no, it's not the same as saying that Republicans hate black people. Last I checked, Republicans aren't a race.

The other examples you listed, yes, they're stereotypes, but more specifically, they're RACIST stereotypes. Plain and simple.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

11:51 PM  
Blogger Freebird said...

My honest opinion is that I think minories are very sensitive to any thing close to resembling a racist or stereotypical comment simply because we've had to endure it our entire lives. I could go on and on with personal examples, and maybe one day I will on my blog cause some of them are a little funny - at least now I can laugh at a few of them, but then I was seriously pissed.

I also find it amusing that it's never the minories who say racism is a thing of the past cause we know its not true. I've often said that I've experienced enough as a Hispanic to really, really feel bad for blacks cause you just know they probably get treated worse.

This reminds me of a conversation I had with John just last night. For one of my classes I have to do research on a Supreme Court case involving civil liberties. John suggested racial diversity. Of course, he's totally against it and I'm all for it because the way I understand it the good ol' boy network is alive and well. Anyway, that my personal opinion. :-)

10:14 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

My republican comment is an example of a stereotype.

Here's the definition from Webster:

a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

12:16 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

12:27 PM  
Blogger Robert said...

I would agree that the girl's comments were racist as that seemed to be her original question's focus. It also shows her stupidity in that she wonder's why a dance troupe is always going around dancing.

The guy's were just dismissing your "anger". It wouldn't be racist to dismiss your right to anger, just ignorant (a casual bystander wouldn't know your situation enough to say whether you have or haven't been subject to it). It doesn't mean they think you're a lesser person, just that your anger is unjustified.

I think most of the reaction Caucasians have against the racism charge is that many think minorities view any challenge, ineptitude or insult as racism It's so overused that true racism is obscurred (in the minds of those judging whether something is racist).

An example is the Bush Administration's handling of the Katrina crisis. Also, some people see racism where sarcasm was intended. For example, check out this site. Some of the comments in the letters sent indicate that some don't realize it's sarcastic.

12:56 PM  
Blogger ~Krystyn~ said...

I'm sorry for your recent encounters with obviously ignorant people. Whether it's racism or stereotyping, it's not right!

8:13 AM  

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