Racially Oblivious People
More often than not, when someone says that they don’t notice the color of someone’s skin, that person is a liar. Skin color is one of those things that are totally noticeable. To walk up to someone and say that they don’t notice color is like walking up to someone and saying you didn’t notice their gender. Nobody would think it’s cool not to notice that a person is a woman or a man. Our gender helps to form our identity. Why should it be different for skin tone?
But a lot of people claim that they are racial neutral and argue that black people should not want to change the status quo. Everything is fine the way it is becomes the way things are developed naturally. It is only natural that white people have a vast variety of white role models and white representation in their daily pursuits while black people are often considered racist or racial separatist for wanting more black oriented representation in our daily lives. Often, someone defending the status quo will say something like, black people were well represented by some show with black characters either cancelled years ago or part of the BET or MTV network so that should be more than enough for impressionable black people to develop well rounded identities. One black person in a crowd of a hundred is more than enough to be considered racially fair and equal.
When the absurdity of the argument from the person claiming to be racially oblivious is brought to light, it is only a matter of time before the bias of their true racial nature starts to manifest. All it takes is just a paragraph or two to point out the inconsistencies of their argument and then their disdain for black people burst forth in all its fury. All of sudden, the person who never sees issues of race is tired of seeing black people on the television. The person who thought that the old black television shows were the exception because in general black people are immoral, have a propensity for violence, and/or have no decent work ethic. People who claim to be racially generic will say that if black people want equal representation then black people need to do for black people what white people do for other white people.
A lot of people think they are racially neutral and support people regardless of their color. But those are just flowery words with woefully little substance. The same person that says the racial status quo is fine will turnaround and say if black people want jobs black people should get an education. The racially prejudiced thinking is that the black person is not educated or does not have the experience for gainful employment. There is an assumption that black people will always be unqualified or inherently inferior to their white counterparts.
Why is there an inherent belief that black people are unqualified and inferior? Could there be a connection to the fact that we really don’t see very many images of qualified black people in a variety of well received role models? True enough that the majority of the population is white and so it probably stands to reason that more characters in media will be white. That’s a given. But the scant few black characters in media do little to represent the black twelve point five percent of the population that is black.
White people make up seventy percent of our national population. So it stands to reason that one in every seven professional characters in media is black. It would stand to reason that one in every seven movie or television shows would be centered on the lives of black people. It would stand to reason that one in seven of the pictures in magazines would feature black models or black subjects.
But instead of recognizing the racial disproportion for what it is, we have to assume that the deluge of white only images is an accident of the way things evolved naturally. It is a natural evolution based on a foundation of racial discrimination that is part and parcel of America.
People who claim to be racially neutral are far from it. All it takes is a brief exchange or two for the racist nature of their character to become evident. These people protect their racial prejudices with the assertion that skin color simply doesn’t register in their psyche and that their racial discrimination is a happenstance of life.
But all it really means is that they are insensitive to issues of race and have yet to admit the depth of their racial animosity. People who see and acknowledge a person’s skin color are about as racist as a person who recognizes and acknowledges a person’s gender is a sexist. Racial obliviousness is not a virtue. It is nothing more than an excuse to keep the racial status quo.