The pursuit of a world free from racism and hatred has given us great things. Gigantic leaps have been made toward a world that is more reasonable, decent and intelligent. The only people who would disagree that racial equality is a positive force and a worthy cause are awful, so it would be really cool if I wasn’t automatically grouped in with them because I happen to come from a coastal region in Scandinavia where humans have white skin.
For centuries bigots, idiots and jackasses lumped every visible minority into a homogeneous group of criminals and reprobates, utilizing all of the terrible little parts of their terrible little brains to be just all-around awful.
Thankfully, those people are now in the minority and it’s their turn to suffer some discrimination, but it’s important to be careful about just how wide a net is cast to snare them. If you overshoot your mark, you’ll end up yelling at a 20-something college student about how he’s subjugating your race and destroying your culture.
If you are comfortable declaring anyone with pale skin a racist, assuming that anyone of a different race automatically considers yours to be less valuable, you’ve gone too far. You need to come back a little bit toward the middle. The obvious point to make here is that by giving in to the idea that all white people are evil, you’ve become the very thing you set out to destroy, but that’s a little too Twilight Zone for my taste. There isn’t a ready-made moral to this story; no one is going to step in and create a middle ground on which everyone can meet.
I understand that as a Caucasian, I have never had to overcome the issue of bigotry in any meaningful way. I will never truly understand what it’s like to be discriminated against based on my race or to have my culture and history destroyed, dismantled and disrespected. At least I hope I won’t. I know that I’ve been part of a privileged race for a very long time. I’m sorry, could you stop scowling at me now?
Is this like when the new kid in elementary school would have to take some beatings before being allowed to play tag? Am I being hazed to make sure I’m cool enough to fit into a post-racial world? Is someone going to pull me aside next week and tell me I made it in? Please?
Of course, bigotry is still very real. Whatever progress has been made toward a world where people are simply considered to be people is tarnished by the existence of hatred, racism and inequality. As long as people still believe in the supremacy of their own race, we won’t be able to move past it entirely, but at the very least you and I should be able to agree that those people are assholes, right?
Photo: Sharon Graphics/Flickr