Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Takin' the Temperature

Personally, discussing race with others has always been my own taboo rule. I would avoid discussing race issues like I avoid napping on train tracks. I was concerned about being run over by someones, over-powering opinion or flat out racist remarks. Also, I was concerned of offending others by what I might say. If I were not so desperate for the class credit I'd have dropped the class in a heart beat after learning of our topic.

So, I had a bit of a self-realizing epiphany a couple of weeks ago. Some time in the early AM I thought it would be a good idea to stumble my way down to McDonalds for a bit of breakfast. I had a good 10 hours of courage in my gut and racism on my mind. I staggered up to the Plasma Center where a line was forming at the doors before they opened. Being a bit short I asked a couple of guys how much I could get for doing this. One thing lead to another and I sparked up a race discussion with 3 black fellas and a white guy. We talked for a good hour and a half. Quite soon into the conversation each one of us made the same statement from different POV's; for the majority people have no ill feelings towards any other race, yet there seems to be this looming idea that it's a serious problem. Well that raised all sorts of questions. One quite threatening looking guy said it was in our media; that we are told it's a serious problem in America, and we take their word for it. I feel it's a profound point. The conversation continued 'til they opened the doors and I went on to get myself and the guys some of them sausage sandwiches. Came back, tossed the sandwiches to the guys, and got heckled by 30 or so guys, in the same manner by different races, "Hey, where's mine?".

I continued to walk home contemplating what had happened. It was the first time I had ever struck up a conversation on race, and certainly to that degree. I have always felt a little unsure of how I viewed people; do I think of everyone equally? This is what struck me, after that conversation I felt confident with myself and with a lack of bigotry. Before my problem had been that I had no way to gauge myself; by avoiding the topic I simply had no way of knowing where I stood amongst others.

Perhaps that guy was right, maybe racism is only an issue because we are told it is. Maybe the majority of us really have little or no bigoted tendencies. Perhaps we're all products of our environment. I feel Americans are greatly media influenced, perhaps if we portrayed a different attitude on race in our television it would rub-off on people. Phil you are the Media, what do you think?

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