Growing up, many of us have been taught the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.” We can say that all we want, but names do hurt, especially when they are provoked by racism.
America has come a long way in terms of striving to provide equality for all no matter the race, gender or age of a person. Inequalities still exist, however, and take shape largely through racism.
Recently, “Seinfeld’ star Michael Richards led a racist tirade while performing some stand-up comedy at the Laugh Factory in West Hollywood. Richards lost his cool when he was interrupted by an African American male. Richards went off on racial slurs, used the N-word repeatedly, and continued by saying, “fifty years ago, we’d have you upside down with a fork up your ass.” Soon after, audience members began to leave, and after about three minutes of ranting, Richards stormed off stage too.
Oddly enough, he returned the following night to the same club for another stand up performance. Since the incident, the media has devoured Richards’ racist ramblings by labeling him a bigot. His words have ruined his reputation as funny man Kramer “Seinfeld.”
Apparently, he is now banned from the Laugh Factory until everything is settled, but I still cannot help but think if the situation was reversed. If he were a black man verbally attacking a white man, how would the audience, the media and the public react?
I think the repercussions for that reversed bigotry would be far worse because systematically, whites are born with privileges that cast them as being superior to minorities. In societal norms, whites, especially white males, have this unspoken power over minorities.
Signs of racism prevail in our own neighborhoods and social worlds. Many people think it is a dead issue, but it’s far from it. We may not realize it, but racism occurs everywhere we go perhaps to you, friends and family members.
About two weeks ago, UCLA senior Mostafa Tabatabainejad was stunned with a taser gun several times for failing to show his school ID or leave the library upon request. Tabatabainejad refused to comply with the police officer’s request because he said he felt he was being targeted for racial profiling since he was of Middle-Eastern descent. He was tasered five times.
The event is currently undergoing further investigation, but so far, Tabatabainejad proves to be a victim of racism.
It is sad to see and realize that racism is very much a part of our daily lives. As I watched the six-minute You-Tube video of Tabatabainejad being tased, I thought, that could be me.
I may not be of Middle-Eastern descent, but I am a minority (Asian American), which automatically gives me less freedom and power than the average White American. What happens if an Asian American suddenly decides to perform an act of terrorism? Will I then be seen as a threat simply because I am Asian?
People are mistreated everyday because of racism. What has the world come to when we physically or verbally harm someone simply because he or she fits the racial profile, given that this profile is created based on stereotypes and sometimes misconceptions of that ethnicity?
Racism has been around for a long time yet it persists because there are too many narrow-minded people who are uneducated and ignorant about other cultures and races. I
It is important to remember and acknowledge there is racism in our society, and sometimes, we are the racists. Therefore, we need to be more aware of the things we do and say. There is a limit to freedom of speech, and Richards crossed that line.
It is necessary to attempt to understand people who different from us in order to accept and co-exist peacefully.