Think About It
Written by Luc
March 9, 2016
Whether it’s #OscarSoWhite, #BlackLivesMatter or other similar hashtags, there has been a lot of talk recently in the US about racism. Some say racism is still as alive today as it was back in the 50’s. Some say entire industries are racist. Wherever you turn, it seems to be racism this, racism that. Though I don’t believe racism has been eradicated from our society, I do NOT believe it is as widespread as some may suggest. Below, are a few reasons I feel this way.
A few months ago, a friend of mine wrote a Facebook post about how a homeless person refused to take some of her money and called her the n-word. My friend went on to use that incident to say racism still exists. Needless to say my friend was a victim of a phenomenon called hasty generalization. Hasty generalization is a common logical fallacy. It happens when one person uses a small sample size to draw conclusions about a larger sample.
It happens to all of us. I currently work in a business where I get reviewed for my performances. Every once in a while, I get a scathing review. Sometimes when that happens, I get emotional. When I do, I get to thinking people (the majority) are mean. My (negative) emotions at the time make me ignore the thousands of previous positive reviews I’ve gotten.
This logical fallacy is wrong because it paints the picture of an overall group as “evil”! In reality, most of us (no matter what group we belong to) are good/decent people. A few example of these are:
I apologize for not being one of those who takes a side simply because I belong to a particular group. Whether it’s blacks, whites, Muslims, cops, women, I’ll denounce this kind of WRONGFUL thinking until I know better. When I know better, I’ll denounce myself.
Though I’m not religious anymore, I was born and raised catholic. I do believe we should treat others the way we want to be treated. If us black folks do not want to be called criminal because of the actions a few of us, we SHOULD NOT call cops or entire industries racists because of the actions of a few.
The second reason I think racism is not as widespread is something called white privilege. White privilege is this notion that white people have it easier, and everyone else doesn’t. I call BULL****.
I once had a conversation with a friend of mine. She is one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen. She is also one of the smartest women I have ever met. On the surface, she should not have anything to complain about. During our conversation however, she told me how she can never have a conversation with a guy, without the guy wanting to be with her. I couldn’t help but to agree. She is stunning. Most guys like myself can’t help but to want to be with a woman like her. It’s unfortunate, but it’s reality. Most of us might think that a beautiful, smart, white woman should not have anything to complain about. As she told me however, sometimes she’d just like to be able to talk to someone about her (wonderful) ideas and have someone listen. Though those problems might not seem real to you. They are real to her. Because they feel real. Though the grass might always seem greener on the other side, it isn’t always.
That’s why I believe white privilege to be a myth. NOTHING is easy. I repeat, NOTHING. Being poor isn’t easy. Being rich isn’t easy. Being black isn’t easy. Being a woman isn’t easy. Being white is certainly not easy!!!
I recently read an article that suggested that white people shouldn’t “dismiss” other people’s issues as non-issues. Well, if we don’t want our issues to be dismissed, we should not dismiss the issues of others, no matter who they are. So what if white people in America have it a bit easier? African-Americans in the US have it easier than MOST kids in third-world countries. Some kids in third world countries have it better than some kids with down-syndrome in America. One way or another, we all have some advantage/privilege over another group. It doesn’t make African-Americans evil for taking advantage of the “African-American privilege”. Likewise, it doesn’t make white people evil for taking advantage of any “privilege” they might benefit from. Life isn’t fair. GET OVER IT.
Another reason I think racism isn’t as widespread is because I believe in progress.
This graph illustrates an uptrend in the stock market. An uptrend “Describes the price movement of a financial asset when the overall direction is upward”. Warren Buffett is one of the (if not THE) most successful investor of all times. He believes in patience when it comes to being a successful investor; He has said: “Being a successful investor takes time, discipline and pleasure”. If you don’t believe Warren Buffett, believe the stats. People who “panic” and sell their stocks during a downturn or decline in the economy, usually lose money. Those who remain patient and stay in, see the value of their assets increase.
The same goes for someone trying to lose weight for example. People shouldn’t quit on a diet just because they gain a pound. Especially if the pound was gained after a significant loss, say ten pounds for example. If you quit on your diet at that stage, you’ll more than likely fail in trying to achieve your long term goal.
My point is, being successful at anything takes never losing track of the bigger picture. In my opinion, the graph above illustrates the progress we’ve made as a society since the 50’s and even earlier. Anyone who says we have made no progress or that we have regressed is looking at the smaller picture (Below). Looking at the smaller picture will tend to make you think you’re doing worst than you actually are.
In the 50’s the law said blacks and whites were different and that they couldn’t drink from the same fountains or swim in the same pools. Today we have a black president. That’s progress.
In the 50’s only 4% of the population approved of interracial marriages. Today, this number is at over 80%. That’s progress.
In the first 53 years (1928-1981) of the Oscars, there were a total of 8 non-white nominees for “best actor in a leading role”. In the past 34 years since, there has been 20 non-white nominees for aforementioned category. Again, if you look at the smaller picture (today), you might think things are worst or not progressing. If you look back on how far we’ve come however, you’ll see progress!
Focusing on progress doesn’t mean we ignore the problem. Focusing on progress just means that we don’t falsely believe we’re doing worse than we actually are. That kind of thinking can actually lead people to lose hope. Without hope, we’ve got nothing. Yes, there is still racism. But it’s not as widespread as some might think. At the minimum, it’s not as widespread as it used to be. It’s important to remember all the progress we’ve made, so we can stay hopeful and so we can keep working on an even better future.
An argument that is often used to point to racism is that blacks are more likely to be arrested and convicted of crimes than whites. That does not imply racism.
First, crime and poverty have often been found to be correlated. This obviously does not mean one causes the other or vice versa. It simply means that often, when one is present (crime or poverty), the other is as well. This correlation is not unique to the US. This correlation is present in many countries around the world, including Sweden. Furthermore, this correlation is not just boundless, it is also timeless. Aristotle, once said “Poverty is the parent of crime”. For perspectives, Aristotle lived over two thousand years ago.
To add even more to this claim, let’s explore the case of Asians. Asians are a minority group making up only about 6% of the US populations. Asians have some of the lowest crime rates in the US. As of 2013, Asians were in the highest income bracket in the US. This stat further emphasizes the correlation between crime and poverty. It suggests that it’s not about race; it’s about money. Where there is more poverty, there’ll tend to be more crimes and arrest. It’s not about race; Money talks!
The problem with blaming such issues on racism instead of income inequality is that it doesn’t help us solve the real problem. If we keep trying to solve the “racism problem”, we’ll keep missing the real issue: Giving the poor & the disenfranchised (whether it’s African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and even Whites) MORE opportunities.
Another reason I don’t believe racism is as widespread is because of the following reason: I think SOME black people blame racism & slavery for their shortcomings for the same reason SOME members of congress blame the President for their shortcomings. It’s also the same reason why SOME basketball players will blame referees after a loss. The same reason why SOME of us blame guns, the media, or politicians for mass shootings. It’s the same reason why SOME of us blame our past for our failures. It’s the same reason why SOME of us blame our spouses during arguments. It’s EASY. It’s a human thing. Saying “maybe I’m not good enough” is one of the hardest things to do in life. So instead, we’ll blame ANYTHING other than the person in the mirror. The few who can blame the one person in the mirror TEND to be more successful.
I studies psychology in college. So, I know most of us do not make decisions based on facts. Most of you will not look at the facts I laid in this piece. Instead, you’ll stick to whatever feeling you had before you read this piece. For those of you who feel that we racism is still a HUGE issue (without facts), remember this: Feelings are important. But if we base all our thoughts and actions solely on feelings, then we’re no different than those FEW racists and bigots who feel that one race or species is superior (without facts). I’m not writing this piece to say that we should stop the fight against racism. I have already acknowledge it is still an issue. I’m writing this to give anyone reading more hope about the future. Hope because most people (no matter what group they belong to) are good. Hope because we’ve made tremendous progress over the past few year, and we will continue to do so. Finally, we need more hope for the younger generation. I’d like them all be aware of all this progress we’ve made, so they can be motivated to build an even better future for the following generation. That in my opinion, is what matters most.
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