Many times over the past, well, as long as I have been alive I have heard that racism is alive in the US. While I would like to believe that is not true time and again I run into things which show it is kept alive to this day. Kept alive, that is, by people who have a vested interest in keeping it alive. Take today’s example, the browser for African-American people. Not racist? Empowering? Sorry, but I thought that racism was defined as thinking differently about people based solely on their ethnic origins. So then is the thinking that browsing habits and preferences shift based on ethnic origins racist? I know, I know, people usually define it as thinking negatively about people based solely on their ethnic background. But the point here is that we have messages at odds with one another. We’re supposed to ignore difference while somehow recognizing them. IE, ignore the “bad” differences and recognize the “good” differences. More to the point, we’re supposed to ignore race while recognizing race.
If people were honest about getting rid of racism they would realize that this duality in thinking is detrimental. I have to bring up the O word but George Orwell wrote about it in 1949. In fact, he coined a phrase for it, Doublethink. It is impossible to wipe out categorizing people based on a criteria that is used to categorize people often in marketing. That simply is breeding ground for further negative connotations. For example, I dislike Rap, Hip-Hop and R&B music. I find 90% of it shallow, meaningless tripe with very little musical merit or technical talent to speak of. But those three segments are most often targeted at the Urban crowd which is simply a euphemism for black. I’m white. I’ have never lived in any place called rural. Since the age of 7 I have not lived in a city smaller than 250,000 people. Since 16 a city smaller than one million people. However for marketing that apparently isn’t urban enough to be Urban. So now I have music I dislike which is strongly marketed to people based solely on the color of their skin and somehow, somewhere, without me getting the memo, I am the racist one by simply pointing this out. Stereotypes are stereotypes, even if they come from marketing or from “community leaders” whose sole position is created by the friction they claim to want dissipate. Until that is recognized and eliminated any other form of non-institutionalized racism will be impossible to wipe out and, quite frankly, of minimal importance compared to the wide-spread, systematic and accepted form of institutionalized racism.