Are you aware of the social and racial differences that we still face in America? Do you feel that it is essential that we talk about race with our friends and families? Should children be taught as early as kindergarten on how to break the ice and the stigma that surrounds many of the issues we face today? Well, I do! Many people attempt to just brush the issue under the rug and are afraid to talk about it. But I believe that it is completely necessary to address some of the issues that border this topic.
We don’t talk about racism, but we need to! We should also not be afraid to explore our own personal concerns as well as those we encounter every day. Instead, we ignore the fact that the hatred and confusion about our cultural differences is an ongoing issue and it still exists. Knowing my differences and understanding that we all didn’t come from the same place, but being able to understand that we as human beings are the same; can be very useful when dealing with these types of tribulations. I am very adamant about my perceptions and wanting to bring this overlooked topic to light.
So what is “white America” and why textbooks and children’s literature always favor the “white characters” asks a California native. I recall a woman of Indian descent stating that growing up she always believed that the books that were made available in her schools just weren’t diverse enough, especially considering the vast mixture of race and ethnicity that we find in our schools today. She was often left to question, “Who is the good race and who is considered the bad race?” I do not believe that race is the beholder of good and bad. That is ridiculous. I blame culture and tradition for the stupidity on what’s good and evil. Another thing that bothered this woman was why the hero or the person highly favored in the books she read and the movies she watched, were always a white person. Can you imagine a child having to face the thought of whether or not a minority or person of color could demonstrate the same strength and play the same role as the “white characters” did? It’s sad, but it’s very true.
You see it happening so often in the media that it has become normal. People questioned whether or not Barack Obama was fit to be President based on the color of his skin. How dare they claim that a man of color would not be as sufficient a President as a white man! How does the color of someone’s skin even have the right to determine how great a person they will be? I never was one to look at the race of real people or characters in a book or in a movie. I paid attention to the situation and why it was occurring, while at the same time trying to find the substance and meaning of the situation; applying it to what I’ve seen and draw a conclusion as to why it ended up that way. Coming from such a diverse background myself, how could I use race as the determining factor for life’s circumstances? That type of evil is all in your mindset. Does race have that much impact on our society that it has become an internal issue and is the basis for our perceptions on life and people? In my opinion, I find it rather sad that the color of someone’s skin can have such a negative effect on the progress that we all should be striving to make; and that is to aid in the rise of EVERYONE no matter what their race.
I must say that I have never (to my knowledge) been the butt of a racist situation. But again, I never questioned or even thought twice about the color of someone’s skin. So in my eyes, people are just people. I go off my personal experience with someone and how they treat me. I have never selected my friends, school, work place, or environment because of how dark or light someone’s skin pigment was. But do I believe and agree that it is an unresolved issue amongst a large population of people? Of course! Look at the Trayvon Martin case. That is a complete disgrace to my heart. For those who even think that George Zimmerman had an ounce of truth in his decision, may God bless their souls because that is absolutely preposterous.
Sometimes our views can be swayed by previous information or just cultural bias. However, I think we as human beings need to focus on the issues that started this madness and try to find a way to collectively work through it. I also agree that not talking about race and racism or avoiding the topic only causes situations to boil over. Eventually the top is going to blow, and it will be harder to fight the longer it persists. So why not come together and learn what it takes to be a great nation. Just because no one has or is scared to acknowledge it, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist and it’s long overdue that we wake up and do something about it!
Shay Star is an artist and entrepreneur, and CEO of Team Shay Star. Her website is www.shaystar.com.