When we you think of Race, what are the first thoughts that come to your mind? Some might say a competition in which two or more persons compete to see who can reach a finish line first (like my friend Noe might jokingly say).
Others, about 97.9% of the human population might think of the separation of human skin tones or backgrounds into smaller categories to identify a large group. This separation of skin tones has caused many ignorant disasters and genocides throughout the years.
Race even affects the entertainment industry, something we see a lot today - even cartoons like Family Guy and the Cleveland show to Disney’s Phineas and Ferb. This reporter believes that the media plays a major role on how negatively teens view each other and other cultures.
One of my favorite musicals of all time is called Avenue Q. The show is set in New York City about a guy named Princeton just finishing getting his degree, venturing out into the cruel and unforgiving world. He meets a group of very different people that live in a little community called Avenue Q. One of the major songs in the musical is called “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist”. I’m telling you, this is arguably one of the funniest songs on a Broadway play ever, but it also got me to thinking. One of the lines of the song is “You should be much more careful when you're talking about the sensitive subject of race.”
Careful? Really? History has never had a thought about being sensitive or thoughtful for those who were kidnapped and chained against their will to be forced to work as slave; not only Africans, but also ingenious people of the islands of the Caribbean. Once physical slavery was outlawed in 1865, mental slavery gave way to our current situation as of 2011: racist and prejudice thoughts that affect people of all ages.
Media shows us these prejudice thoughts through songs and cartoons. Think about it? Have you ever heard the stereotype that all Asian kids are super geniuses? What about that all black folks have chicken and Kool-Aid every night for dinner? Oh, and here’s my favorite one: All people that speak Spanish are automatically Mexican! Ha! These may seem like dumb stereotypes, but they affect how we view each other.
The more we can get to know and understand different cultures, the better our lives would truly be. Race doesn’t have to be a divider. It could be a connector - a way to embrace the fact that we all aren’t the same skin tone but we all have a story. Once we, as people, are able to listen to one another, the better this world could be. The world isn’t just viewed in black and white, right and wrong; it has areas of gray that can be used to understand others and make all our lives easier.
*United We Stand, but Divided We Fall.*