In honor of Black History Month, let me make something clear: not everything is racist. As a society, we are way beyond boy-who-called-“wolf” status. We’ve called “racism” so many times, the word has lost all meaning, so let’s go back.
Google defines racism as: “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,” and I trust Google because Google has never done me wrong (except last week when gmail was down for ten minutes…that was rough).
Through this lens we can very clearly see how many of the statements we make that are charged with racism, are actually just observations.
“That black guy likes chicken.” You know what, I’ve never met a black person that doesn’t like chicken. However, this doesn’t mean those people don’t exist. Also, this does not imply inferiority or superiority to other races, so who cares? Just don’t say, “ALL black people like chicken,” because there’s obviously no way that’s even possible.
“Those two Asian people look the same.” They ALL don’t, but some of them do. Some Asian people are identical twins, some are cousins, and some are strangers, but with that many people clumped into a category, a few of them are bound to share similar features.
“That Jewish lady is so cheap.” Again, not ALL, but wouldn’t it be understandable if they all were? Don’t they deserve that after what they’ve been put through as a team? If anything, we should praise their alleged cheapness, though that would fall under racism. Some Jews are cheap. Some live in the Hollywood Hills.
Is it possible that such ignorance still exists, that anyone can believe a whole race of people matches up exactly on something? As my favorite show, Studio 60, once put it, “I’ve worked in Hollywood for 10 years; I’ve never been in a room with three people who agree with each other.” No group as large as a race can ever have anything in common, not even skin color. There are plenty of albino black people and even more over-tanned white people.
Honestly, I’m just sick of white people trying to remind you of who they are talking about by saying, “he’s tall, he always wears a hat, brown eyes,” instead of just saying, “he’s black.” If he’s the only black guy in the room, why stumble over a bunch of vague descriptors? You can say he’s the black guy, because he is. It’s not offensive to be black.
In closing, here’s a bunch of sentences that aren’t racist:
1. That dog is black.
2. I’m not sure if she’s Japanese or Korean.
3. Italian food is better than Chinese food.
4. I like having sex with black guys.
5. What is your ethnicity?
6. Kiss me, I’m Irish.
7. I like the cream in the Oreos better than the cookies.
Racism is an important word. Use it correctly.