As we all ring in the New Year, this is the time for reflection on the status of the stolen African in America. We must think about the things that have happened to the African American race for the past year from the little girls being sent home from school for having “unconventional hair” to the people being shot when trying to receive help from white officers or citizens. We know that we must move into this New Year more conscious than before.
A few weeks ago, there was an article/slideshow circulating around the social media sites entitled, “12 Racist Statements That Should Never Go Unchallenged” on atlantablackstar.com, posted by Jay M. Like its title indicated, it showed slides of twelve statements that can be deemed racist, even if they are said innocently. The article however, did not have any explanations to any of the statements or how they should be challenged. This is where I step in for an analysis for each one.
The first statement: “I’m not trying to be racist but…”
Every black person has heard this statement before. The blank is normally filled with something that is a sweeping generalization that talks about the African Americans demeanor, appearance, or any character trait. People will say, “I’m not racist but, most black guys are angry” or “…I don’t like how black girls wear their hair” or something else that does not describe us as the individual. Like most statements that come with a disclaimer, whatever comes after is generally in the realm of whatever the speaker is trying “not” to be.
Also, this disclaimer is normally said to ward off any argument or to protect the speaker. It is seen to be a shield to protect the speaker from backlash of the offended, making them seem like a friend to African Americans but allows them to tote and spout racist beliefs. Sometimes, this can be innocent and harmless even, the speaker may lack a social conscious for whatever reason. However, it is still wrong. With statements like this and many others, their does not need to be a “knock down, drag out” argument but it should be addressed. Simply say, “You may not be trying to be racist…but what you said is very racist.” This statement needs to be challenged so that people know that they can no longer hide behind it when they want to perpetuate the beliefs. Most importantly, it will make the person who originally felt offended feel liberated for speaking up.
It is time for African Americans to change the way we are seen in this country. If we don’t fight for us, who will? To see the original article, go to http://atlantablackstar.com/2013/12/17/12-racist-statements-that-should-.... Read it, share it, and comment on it. Look out for the next 11 installments.