“Am I a racist?” That’s what I asked myself yesterday evening. It was one of those late-night contemplations that never seem to amount to anything, so I decided to save this introspection to the drive to work the next morning. So today, I stepped in my car and drove to work contemplating if I am or am not a racist.
I guess in essence, everyone is a racist, but that has to do with some very primal instincts that humanity is slowly trying to shed. People have an inherent fear for that which they don’t understand. Things that look different must also think differently and are therefor, by definition, something to fear, or be distrustful of.
But in modern day’s society people are slowly getting over those fears as we slowly integrate to form what I like to call a “grey mass.” However, according to Eva, studies have shown that people will tend to sit next to someone of their own skin colour in the subway, rather than not. I asked myself that exact same question; do I often find myself next to my own kin, rather than others on the subway. And I could really find a pattern – not that means anything, my memory is totally shit – and I would like to believe that I am not that shallow.
I needed a better definition of racism, and this is the first thing I came up with; making judgement based on appearance.
Now this isn’t really fair since I am a terribly judgemental person and I make judgements based on appearance all the time, and not just racial appearance. I needed a more precise definition of racism, the following definition is what I came up with next; racism is making judgements based on race.
Okay, now we’re getting somewhere. However, making judgements based on someones racial heritage doesn’t constitute as racism, however. At least, it doesn’t to me. It just makes you prejudice since you have set pre-conceptions of a person based on his race. Pre-conceptions are relatively harmless unless turned into something that will influence your actions. So as soon as your pre-conceptions based on race leads to a change in behavior does your prejudice turn into racism.
But that would mean that there is no difference in positive or negative racism. Well, personally I don’t think there is, stricly speaking. Racism just has some really negative connotations to it, and rightly so since there are a lot more identifiable instances of racism that carry that negativity with them. Keyword; “identifiable.”
Merriam – Webster’s says; “a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.”
Conclusion; I still have no clue if I’m a racist. And I still don’t have a clue what racism is. I’ll just use the following definition; “Racism bad, m’kay?”