Have you ever stopped to think.. Maybe everything isn’t racist?
It’s not uncommon for one to misinterpret something as being racist. With this common misunderstanding, the innocence of those who may be misinterpreted is done away with.
Contrary to popular belief, everything that may come off as racist, is not actually racist. When evaluating whether something is discriminating or racist, the concept of intent and perception should be taken into consideration.
Learning an individual’s true intentions are key to understanding people’s actions. The victim should consider the individual’s meaning behind their words and actions.
Were there any events that took place prior to the uncertainty of determining the racial intent? What motives would the individual have for being racist in the first place?
As far as perception goes, it can be very tricky. Life altering events effect people daily. It affects how people think and how they respond to a situation.
People perceive things differently based on past experiences and society’s influence or something as simple as having a different way of viewing things.
Say for instance, is this glass half empty or half full?
Im unsure if someone’s past experiences or life-altering events will influence their answer to the question asked above but it is likely that each answer will be different based off of their perception of the glass.
While these key factors play a role with individual perception, it also plays a role in group perception. According to Vincent Jungkunz, Racism has been said to be normally in a nonstop normative and invisible form. It is usually outside of our conscious awareness. Subtle racism has made it hard for the perceivers to discern.
Washington State University Assistant Professor, Hsin-Ya Liao and Professor Ting-yi Hong shared that psychologist contend that perception of subtle racism is affected by the group status and beliefs held by the perceivers.
For example, A recent study showed that Millennials are more likely to view Obama’s electoral victory as proof that racial discrimination has been alleviated. Research shows that his election led to what is called symbolic racism, the belief that discrimination no longer exists and that persisting inequalities are due to blacks’ weakness. When whites were reminded of Obama’s victory (regardless of whether they supported him) they were more likely to say that racism is behind us and that blacks receive undeserved advantages.
Belonging to a particular group shapes the way we understand other group behaviors. The way we view racism is heavily influenced by our ethnical group membership.
Social categorization theory suggests that individuals are more likely to relate to people who are more “like me.”
As we perceive racism, we normally detect it in a way that reflects our in group relativeness.
In a world where Caucasians, Latinos, Mexican’s, African Americans etc… exist, each ethnical group membership looks at the prevalence of racism differently. While one group may consider something racist, the other group may not.
Particularly for African Americans and other minorities, the tragic events of police killings and brutalities, empowering movements like ‘Black Lives Matter’, and other day to day racial encounters that minorities face on a regular basis, have put these groups in a corner. Backs are against the wall, now more than ever. The unavoidable feeling of being a victim has become the nucleus of most racial accusations and truth be told, there will always be a feeling that someone in the opposite ‘group’ is out to get whoever is not like them.
According to Stella Coram (2011)
Racism is often conflated with the ‘intent’ to be racist.
Racism does indeed exist but few people are intentionally being racist. Evaluating perceptions and intentions clarifies the racial pressure individuals feel daily. Racism exists and it will more than likely never go away. With the previous statement being true, it is important to understand that everything is not what it seems. Some situations are genuinely innocent.