Us Versus Them
I am currently a Psychology student at The College of New Jersey and am enrolled
in a class called The Psychology of Power, Oppression and Privilege. When I first
began this class I had many ideas of who blacks were and who they were not. I would
not consider myself a racist by any means, like most Americans (that I know), I considered
myself to have an egalitarian outlook on life. Taking this class has given me a greater
appreciation of the Black American's experience. It has allowed me to talk open and
freely with Black Americans that I am acquainted with. I have a deeper appreciation
of the social constructs and systems operating in our country that allow racism and
oppression to exist, but I do have a question for you. Meritocracy aside, why do you
not have any of the following "Modern Racist Forms" on your site?:
As a white woman, I do not experience or see in my community overt, old-fashioned
racism. No doubt the racism that permeates today is a private preference that people
struggle with. They have both feelings of stereotypes (us vs. them) and believe themselves
to be egalitarians. None of which who would admit openly that they may harbor less-than-EOE
feelings. However, the above named Modern Stereotypes which are common media images,
ESPECIALLY on MTV, reflect African-Americans in a very poor light. At some point,
do we not have to take responsibilities for our own actions and live our lives with
dignity and respect and not blame "them"?
- The Thug
- The Gangsta'
- The Playa'
- The Angry Black Man
- The Angry Black Woman
Again, let me reiterate that in lower-socio-economic neighborhoods there is much
pressure on young men to be tough and we know that when there is low self-esteem involved,
the tougher a boy needs to be, but at what point does the black community step up
to the plate and say, we won't allow ourselves to be portrayed this way anymore! Or
acknowledge that these images are not positive and need to be seen just as offensive
as a Pickininny or an Uncle Tom or a Black Brute? When do we, as Americans, stop getting
sidetracked by consumerism and start taking back the values that were once so important
in this country? We are so far off base -- worrying about immigrants and democracy
in the Middle east and abortion that we fail to right the wrongs of racism, sexism
and all the other -isms. We, as Americans, are complacent and if enough of us could
get our minds off of 50-Cent and Paris Hilton, we might actually look around soberly
and intelligently and "take our heads out of our collective asses" (Tim Wise), realize
what's going on and actually join together as one mass and do something about it!!!
Anyhoo...thanks for listening. I hope you find time to read my humble words.
The College of New Jersey
-- April 10, 2006
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