February 16, 2011


Each month, we highlight some of the reflective posts of our work study students. Unedited, they blog about observations, experiences and thoughts about diversity in their lives as seen through their lenses.

This post is from Wanny, a sophomore ALANA-A Leader:

Top Ten Racial Stereotypes

10. All White people lack rhythm
9. African Americans are good at basketball
8. All Asians are geniuses
7. Hispanics don’t speak English very well or not at all
6. Native Americans love to gamble
5. All Asians know kung fu
4. African American men are well endowed
3. Middle Easterners hate Americans
2. White people are racist
1. Hispanics are all illegal aliens

I found this list on a blog I was reading. Below the list there were hundreds of comments about all of the stereotypes. One comment stuck out to me;Everyone is subconsciously racist! It is part of the human defence mechanism. We don't want strange looking people coming into our territory as they pose a risk to our food and women. Its only natural, as long as we don't start race-hate groups and start violence because of it. Its a two way street also, as minorities are as racist as anyone except they are quickest to label everyone else as racists. In fact white people have a racist label attached to them continuously through the media and even throughout their schooling. A whole group of people are blamed for the actions of racist individuals, both past and present. You do not have to feel responsible or ashamed because of others actions, only your own.”

I believe racism stems from ignorance. No one is subconsciously racist. Although at first glance, it might seem like this person is onto something they really aren’t. What is the definition of “strange looking people?” The usage of those words shows the individual’s lack of education on the subject. The person who wrote this is referring to everyone who is not white. This person goes onto say, “Its a two way street also, as minorities are as racist as anyone except they are quickest to label everyone else a racist”; of course right after defending white people by claiming that they’re victims of blame that carries back decades.

I have met people who have these same thoughts. They find nothing wrong with it. It’s not about a whole group of people being blamed for actions made in the past that weren’t their own. It is rather simple. Racism happened in our past and it still happens today. Hard to believe and sadly it is the truth. Although we personally are not responsible for all of it, we do have a responsibility to educate ourselves. Neglecting to learn about “the actions racist individuals” have made is in one way reinforcing the ignorance that leads to racism in the first place.

There is a difference between not knowing and feeling hate towards the unknown.