Problems with race have been plaguing our world for as long as one can remember. However, due to the rise of social media platforms, there’s an added amount of awareness when it comes to social issues such as racism and sexism. Many can become informed on different topics, yet there’s still a large number of user responses. Within these comments and reblogs and retweets, many give their personal insight as to how we should solve these problems. In my experience alone, I can easily tell that racism is definitely one of the most controversial topics of our time, and if anything, I have noticed two prime ways in which we will not be able to solve racism.
“We’re all just humans! No need to focus on race!”
“Humans will always be humans together, no matter what race we are”
Many people don’t necessarily have bad intentions behind these statements, but there’s a level of ignorance that comes from these types of remarks. Yes, we are humans. Yes, we live on this earth together. Yes, we’re all part of the human race. However, no, we aren’t the same through and through. Cultural diversity is something our world needs to embrace, not muddle together to try and “stop racism”. It’s almost a cop-out to say that we can just ignore race to solve racism. Society is not that simple. In fact, racism and daily microaggressions stem from people alienating peoples’ races versus learning to embrace them as they are. There’s no way we can let ourselves be “one whole group of people” without an ounce of understanding among society that everyone is equal regardless of his/her race. I personally don’t want to be ridiculed for being Asian in a predominantly white suburban USA. I also don’t want to be considered to be just like those around me to fit in. I’m proud of my family history and I don’t want to let go of it, and I believe many other POC (people of color) feel this way too.
Rather than promoting a sense of unity by blending us all in a melting pot of the world, why not just let us be a big buffet of diversity? Let people be held accountable for their acts of racism they’ve committed and don’t think you can solve it by squishing us all into a mold of what “generic” humans are. We are all different for a reason, and it’s time society learns to deal with it. Rather than using privilege to put this “we’re all human” mindset into the world, why not say “we’re all different, and that’s okay”?
“ALL LIVES MATTER 2k15”
“Even though I’m not actually ____, this isn’t racism/appropriation/oppressive”
I get that people want to help. However, sometimes it’s hard to get the right message across when there’s so much that needs to be understood. For example, take the hashtag ‘#blacklivesmatter’ into account. This was used to help remember African Americans who have died due to murder and police brutality. Yet, many non-African Americans felt the need to say, ” but ALL lives matter, not just Black people”. The problem with that statement is not the fact that all lives don’t matter and only black lives do, but the fact that this is sensitive to those who are currently being affected most, African Americans. It’s not our right to take that away from them since it’s actually true that they are in a time of brutality and blatant racism. It’s not going to help them to support #alllivesmatter or #policelivesmatter because we aren’t talking about the entire mankind. It’s all about those who suffered the consequences of the police officers who did wrong, and people just want to respect those that have passed. We help the elderly and disabled cross streets because they might need it. We wouldn’t go out of our way to help a young, fit man/woman since they (presumably) don’t need our help. It’s ultimately all about learning perspective before crossing a line that shouldn’t be crossed.
Another common occurrence that I see a lot is people claiming to be experts on a culture that they are not, and thus accusing people of being racist when they aren’t. This can cause so many more problems that it could potentially have started. Take henna for instance. Lots of people accused others of appropriating Hindus/other groups who use henna religiously/culturally. Yet those whose cultures do use henna cleared the air saying that it wasn’t. It’s fine to be cautious, but checking facts is always necessary before stepping forward to call someone out for something you might not know a whole lot about. While good intentions might be meant, things like this spread false information and don’t actually do anything to further solve the problem of racism.
It will be hard to eradicate racism completely from society, but if we want to try, we need to do it right.