Thursday, July 17, 2014

The new racism: Racism without "racists"

I consider myself a "minor minority." Racism discussions in America tend to center on the big three: White, Black, Latino. Most Americans think of a Chinese or Korean person when they hear the word Asian, so as an American of Indian descent, it's pretty easy to fly under the radar. Because I am used to looking different than everyone around me almost everywhere I go and because I lean more towards curious than fearful when it comes to learning about other cultures, I am very interested in the dynamics of interactions between races. 

Plus, I am a nosy people watcher, but also very quiet. I tend to take on an invisible quality, so people often say or do things around me I don't think they would around one of the big three. White people talk to me about black people. Black people talk to me about white people. I watch how the Latinos and Koreans who run the corner stores in West Philly interact with the mostly African American clientele. I watch as people awkwardly stumble over whether to say black or African American. I see Africans who don't want to be associated with African Americans. I watch Asians of various stripes obsessed with keeping their skin as light as can be. I've been in Indian churches where you would think they are reading Bibles that replaced Israel with India. I've been in white suburban churches that foolishly think they have not taken on cultural elements. I've been asked if I've ever shot a bow and arrow or whether I was from Indochina and if my parents were illegal immigrants, from church people no less! :-)

All this to say, I don't get too uncomfortable around these discussions. I find them fascinating. Sometimes sad. Often eye-roll inducing. And this blog post isn't going to be a dissection. Perhaps one day I will write my street-level observations. For now I will fall back on leaving a quote, because I find it good to chew on and also because I am getting sleepy and don't feel like writing anymore.

The new racism: Racism without "racists." Today, racial segregation and division often result from habits, policies, and institutions that are not explicitly designed to discriminate. Contrary to popular belief, discrimination or segregation do not require animus. They thrive even in the absence of prejudice or ill will. It’s common to have racism without racists. 

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva

In this country American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate. 
Toni Morrison 

You can read more quotes on racism here

HT: Christena Cleveland

P.S. - I love you all. God made us so different and that is wonderful! Truly! Don't be ashamed of whatever color you are. Don't hate on others. And slam awkwardly into one another more often socially. Maybe it will feel weird at first, or even for awhile. Keep doing it. It's good for you. And it's right. And to all the darker skinned girls chilling in white churches that never get asked out, God sees you, even if that sweet, nerdy guy in your Bible Study who throws around words like eschatology doesn't. And don't worry if you never are chosen to be a wife and mother, you'll get bigger mansions in heaven. (Calm down y'all. It's a joke.)

(The Asian in me has no problem doling out lectures.)

(And the rusty writer in me likes using unnecessary parentheses liberally)


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