Is racial bias the same as racism?
In this political olympiad the notion of racism has received steadier attention than it has at any point in my lifetime. The only thing that comes close is the Rodney King beating and the LA riots. Since those were individual incidents that, though reported on for months, only occupied a small portion of the news of the day, it doesn’t have the same impact as the current political climate.
Everybody’s being, or being called, racist—or so it seems. The charges of racism are certainly flying, from Van Jones to the notion that the only reason anyone’s against healthcare is because Obama’s black (even though he isn’t). But is this really racism?
It’s true that we all hold racial bias. Most of us also show ethnic, political, and intellectual bias. Add to that the fact that we all have issues with aesthetic, musical, fashion and familial bias, and you have to wonder, is any of it really bad?
So the black kids and the white kids sit together in the cafeteria. If they chose to do it, what’s the real problem? Yes, there is a lot to be learned about people of other races and other backgrounds, and learning about them will diffuse tension, make relating to each other easier, and help us form strong, diverse communities. But if after all that happens, people still prefer others of the same race, what is there to do about it?
Here’s the thing: usually, the person complaining about racial bias has more than their fair share of it to deal with. The black leader who is complaining about whites with racial bias probably has just as much, and is completely okay with showing it. Minorities announce that they are only going to work with/work for/hire/contract with other minorities. They put signs up like “Black owned and operated” outside, because they know most black people would rather do business with other black people. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
So let’s stop calling racial bias racism. Let’s stop assuming that anyone who opposes you is doing it because of race. In fact, let’s stop assuming that racist people who oppose your ideas are doing it because they’re racist…maybe you’re idea sucks. Once we stop calling everybody racist, we can start noticing the real instances of racism. And once we stop calling for conversations about race, we can actually continue talking about it (since we have been, constantly, for almost 5o years).