I am one of those people who quite despises racism and makes a conscientious effort to treat all people by the same standard and view all people by the same light, which, I think, in the year 2011 ce is what we should all be doing. Being a fair minded person in this one regard I can't help but notice that the media continues to perpetuate racism in subversive and subtle ways which I find both irritating and baffling.
The post-racial era has not come to pass, at least not in the Unites States, where we have, for the first time, elected (with a generous margin) a president of mixed race. However, over the internet; where ideas and opinions flow like water, I consistently see that ignorants have found a home where they can freely spew their racist propaganda under the pointy white hood of anonymity.
Where does that venom come from? From what cesspool do these thoughts and ideas spring forth?
Sure, some people are brought up in homes and geographies where racism is common, accepted and everywhere, but there is a deeper, more sinister and infinitely more confounding perpetuation of racist ideas that bombards our senses constantly and most of us are none the wiser; I speak of the subtle ways in which the media portrays African Americans.
No, I don't mean the obvious exploitation of "ghetto" aesthetic in media which is often depicted as the "cool" of the moment and is ascribed to the influence of racial minorities on the culture, we all see that and, yes, many of us are offended by the stereotypes it supports. What I want to address here is the less obvious injection of racism into the culture by way of exhibiting ignorant African Americans as the acceptable norm.
Perhaps you have, as I have, seen many television commercials for just about anything and everything (I've noticed that this is especially apparent in for-profit college commercials) where African Americans are shown speaking poorly with and with bad grammar, this is often juxtaposed with Caucasians who speak properly and with correct grammar. Why is this? Why does the media advertise with black men and women who can't express themselves correctly in proper English? Why do they demonstrate whites as more effective communicators than blacks in this context?
I know that I don't speak perfectly, I know that I don't have perfect grammar, but I am continually striving for it, I know that the way a person speaks demonstrates to the listener the intelligence of the speaker, whereas having poor speech patterns and bad grammar demonstrates the opposite. Why then does the media perpetuate this? They are saying to us blacks are less intelligent than whites which is, of course, complete nonsense and is offensive to everyone. I believe that it is intentional and it is insulting to those of us who have to sit through this absurdity every time we watch television.
If your skin has ever crawled when a Caucasian points out how "articulate" an African American is when they, in fact, are speaking as any school teacher would expect of someone with a ninth grade education then you know what I'm talking about. Everyone should be held to the same standard and if, in your mind, African Americans have a lower standard of education and intelligence then you too are perpetuating this great lie that somehow there is a racial hierarchy. Let go of these stereotypes and hold those that push this lie accountable.
This is actual racism in action, affecting our lives, minds and our culture, it bombards us daily, and it is something that needs to be put away if we ever wish to truly progress to a post-racial era.