An Appeal to Reason

Racism is alive and well

On February 28, 2012

Most of the crap we witness on the Internet we just write off. Stupid videos of people dancing crazily, or silly clips of dogs taking a dump are flashed in front of our eyes, digested, and immediately forgotten.

Occasionally, a video strikes the perfect balance between idiocy and offensiveness that catches the nation's collective imagination and turns "viral."

Two Florida teens found that equilibrium when a video of their racist tirade made it to YouTube under the title "Racist White Teen Girls Goes On A Rant About Blacks." During the 14-minute clip, they spread hate by saying black people waste their money, and by making fun of speech habits.

What's surprising isn't the gigantic backlash against the kids, that's pretty much expected at this point, but the amount of support they've received on the video. Racially charged comments dominate the commenting section of the video, and roughly a quarter of the ratings were positive.

Anyone who has experienced the Internet in any significant amount knows that the freedom that anonymity offers also displays people's true colors up to the world. It's much easier to express your hateful and offensive views when nobody knows who you really are.

Yet the two teens decided not to remain anonymous and posted their image in the public. They were expelled from their predominately black high school, and received death threats.

Watching the video, we were left with a bizarre feeling: What century is this? How are human beings still wasting their time with this garbage even after it seems we've solved this problem?

Rhetoric like this shows, however, that the problem isn't solved. Racism still breeds, and a new generation of hate is coming through the works.

Even old titans of hate that were once all but killed are experiencing something of a revival. Hate crimes are at the highest level in five years around Los Angeles, and the KKK has been surging in numbers in Colorado.

Huge and blatant racism on par with the Klan might not be as common, but small acts of racism are entirely common in our lives, even at a campus as racially diverse as UB.

Think about how often you've heard jokes about Asian people here. At the time, the interaction might seem harmless enough: making fun of a bad driver by saying they're probably Asian, or joking about how all Asians are "good at math."

Maybe when it's going on you're not thinking it's as bad as two girls going on a racist tirade that is blatantly offensive, but it's just that wide base of casual racism that supports the large-scale racism.

Also, remember you're not Chris Rock. When you say the nearly cliché phrase "I don't hate black people, I hate n******," you're about to say something racist. There are annoying and obnoxious people of all races. All you're doing by saying that word is giving a view into how racist you are.

Don't tolerate racism in any aspect of your life. The sooner we get over this as a society the faster we can keep ourselves on track to solving real issues.


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