Anyone who thinks racial tension in the United States is a thing of the past is probably a white person in an all white zip code. One has to look no further than mainstream media to see that race is an automatic seller. People eat it up. It’s sexy, dramatic, and it automatically forces people to choose a side. Divide and conquer.
Race in the Media
But I have to ask myself: “Am I racist?”
The answer is no. I don’t think so. When I see a black person, Hispanic, or whatever I do no immediately pass judgement. In fact, I really don’t think anything at all. I think that is the ultimate sign of non-racism. You are apathetic towards it. I do not feel the need to compensate positively or negatively because a person happens to be lighter or darker than myself. When you think about it – it kind of seems silly.
Then I think about the media. Cases like Trayvon Martin or the latest supreme court decision regarding Affirmative Action immediately conjure feelings of racial divide. I automatically feel defensive – like I am personally being attacked because of my race. But that feeling isn’t natural to me. It has been created by artificial media drama.
Irony: The Liberal (and Conservative) Media Magnifies Racism
I find it ironic that when media, especially liberal media, capitalizes on negative racial stereotypes to create drama. Isn’t this counter to the “values” they claim to uphold This is highlighted most recently in the Trayvon Martin vs. George Zimmerman trials. This has been a political and media gold mine for all parties. It was immediately turned into a white versus black hate crime. (Even though it turns out Zimmerman is Hispanic) “Being black killed Trayvon Martin” or “They are trying to take your guns” the media tells us. All of this only serves to hurt race relations in America. To give us something to argue about. And probably most importantly – it sells.
Irony: Media claims to care about the black community, but they are exploiting them (all of us, in fact) for every viewer and ad dollar earned because of manufactured racial tension. Race relations haven’t been worse in decades. If you disagree, if you think the media is helping, think about this: Would it be on TV if they weren’t makig money on it?
Party Politics: Divide and Conquer
Philip II, king of Macedon, knew it a thousand years ago. To defeat an enemy you must “divide and conquer.” I can’t help but see the similarity today in Partisan politics.
Republicans try to trick conservative white voters than minorities, illegal immigrants, liberals, and atheists want to take away their “family values”. Meanwhile, democrats convince minorities, the educated class, immigrants, and progressives that people with conservative values are racist, backwards, greedy, and ignorant. Both of these parties play upon popular caricatures to force the population to pick a side. It’s a power struggle built on lies and exaggeration.
More Same than Different
We all like good food. We want to be loved and to love. We hate to see someone hurt, we love to see people happy. We work hard, we try, we fail, we need help, we help. We are human – all of us. So why is there so much focus on differences? Who benefits from that. (Hint: I think you know who benefits and it’s not you or me.)