As I was perusing the Internet this week I came across a very interesting study entitled, “When Whites Avoid Mentioning Race to Avoid Being Seen As Racist They Are Seen As Racist.” The experiment was set up so that a white individual would be “randomly” paired with either a white person or a black person. Their partner had a picture of a person hidden from the white person and the white person was supposed to guess who it was by asking yes or no questions. When their partner was black, the white person was much more hesitant to ask about race of the person in the picture. However, if the paired partner was the first to ask yes or no questions then the results varied tremendously. If the partner was willing to ask about the race then that the white person took that to mean race wasn’t a touchy subject to them. According to the psychologist’s, “Our findings don't suggest that individuals who avoid talking about race are racists. …On the contrary, most are well-intentioned people who earnestly believe that colourblindness is the culturally sensitive way to interact. But, as we've shown, bending over backward to avoid even mentioning race sometimes creates more interpersonal problems than it solves." The same experiment was conducting using participants that were between the ages of 8 and 11 and the same results were found for the participants between 10 and 11.
I find racism, in most cases, very difficult to identify. What does racism mean? Does it me excluding or setting yourself apart from someone because of skin color? In that case, affirmative action would be a form of racism, which would mean that racism isn’t always bad…but that sounds a little racist doesn’t it?
As we’ve discussed in class throughout the semester, racism and the overall relationship between blacks and whites today is an awkward examination. It is something people feel the need to tiptoe around in order to be “politically correct.” To me the relationship between whites and blacks mirrors a bad break-up. Girls, you will understand this. Boys, bear with me. First there is the beginning stage of the break-up where one party (in this case white people) is in denial. White people did all they could to see that segregation did not win. However, like any breakup, it was inevitable. The next stage is the “I hate you” stage. Pretty self-explanatory, for the most part, whites were not very fond of blacks. The stage I think we are in right now is the awkward stage. Both parties are over the breakup but it’s still awkward. Slavery, segregation, and everything else that came along with that is in the past. The next stage is the friend stage. I truly believe that we as blacks and whites will eventually be able to look past the judgment of race. The question is how long it will take.