The Generation That Cried Racist

by johnathanknight

Cameras are racist.  It’s a passive, ingrained, latent racism, but racism all the same.  I’ll bet you didn’t know that.  Well, it’s true.  Cameras are designed, after all, to make white folks look good.  Cameras are optimized that way, you see, as a default setting.  So cameras clearly contribute to the institution of racism that is quietly tearing our nation asunder.

And maybe we could do something about it if only more folks would make signs and scream.  Then we could look forward to a world where cameras work perfectly every time for both light and dark skin tones.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  If all of us laypeople explain the dangers of institutionalized racism, well, chances are good that someone smart will come along and build the perfect camera.  The perfect affordable camera, that is.

Have you ever asked someone where they were from?  I’m going to go out on a limb and guess you didn’t realize you were being racist.  Yep.  You were.  It’s what we professional activists like to call a microaggression.  It’s more of that institutional racism you need to learn up on.  Microaggressions are real, they’re dangerous, and they’re sucking the very soul out of our nation.  You’re personally responsible for thousands of them, and worse, you don’t even know it.

How do you think it makes someone feel when you ask them where they’re from?  You’re probably thinking, “Uhm.  They usually just say something like back east.”  

Well, it’s clear to me that you don’t get it.  The target of your question is catching feelings over it, whether you understand why or not.  Some of your targets, that is.  Maybe like one out of a hundred, but look, numbers aren’t important.  What’s important is that someone somewhere might possibly feel like you think they’re different and read a lot of unintended subtext into your question.  And that’s bad, isn’t it?  Let’s just be aware and try not to hurt anyone’s feelings, hmm?

Things in this country will get better, but it won’t be until we cater to everyone, not just you.  You and your white privilege, I tell you, it infuriates me.  I hope you can manage to walk away from reading this with some idea of how much you suck. 

Understand this: people of color are profiled in this country in a way you’ll never understand.  They get followed in stores.  They get stared at, even gawked at.  People of color sometimes get pulled over when all they’re doing is driving down the road.  Think of that the next time you’re out.  I’ll bet dollars to pesos you’ve never been followed or stared at or pulled over.

Please folks, work with me.  This may be the only time in history when we get a chance to do this.  It’s important that we get this message out there, if only for the kids.

It’s vital that we teach the white kid to live in a perpetual and constant state of guilt for something he or she had no control over.  And it’s equally important that we teach the black kid to blame someone else for whatever troubles might come along.  Clearly, there’s no chance of upward mobility in this country, so don’t give me a lot of guff about teaching kids to take control of their own destiny. 

A couple of you are probably thinking that all of this sounds pretty divisive.  To you, I say, move along racist.  I’ll have none of your concern trolling here.

To the rest of you, I say, if you want to be a part of spreading this message–and I suspect that you’re guilty enough that you do–please send me whatever money you can.  One dollar, five dollars, two thousand dollars.  It doesn’t matter.  It all helps, and together we can change the world.