There has been a lot of talk over the last few years over the question of racism. Some believe that yes racism is dead, while others, naturally, believe that racism is not dead. There is also another category of people that believe that there has never truly been racism except by those people that believe that there are races of people. In my opinion this is nothing more than a cop out for those that do not want to deal with the issue of race. In a perfect world we would not have racism because we would not have a need to define people by their race. In this perfect world we also would not have any hate or problems that we have have today. Sadly this is not a perfect world and we do have these problems.
If my answer has not become obvious to this point, I do fall into the camp that believes that racism is not dead today. I do believe that racism has lessened and as the coming generations grow up that racism will continue to decrease.
The problem that we are facing today is that the issue of racism is largely being ignored. It is considered to be the fodder of flamers on blog sites and for some that is where the problem stops. The people who believe this will point to the fact that because Obama was elected president that clearly means that racism is dead. That proves nothing. When a woman eventually is elected president (and one will be, more than likely within this generation) that will not mean sexism is dead. To make the claim that racism is dead because an African-American was elected president is both simple and a little silly.
It proves nothing more than that someone who is not white can run an effective campaign for the highest office in the land.
The reason I am writing this blog is because of a conversation I witnessed today. This woman (who is a family friend) went on a five minute rant about how people of different races (yes she did say races) should not be allowed to marry, date, or even have kids, and that there should be a law stating that. At the end of this little rant she said that she was not prejudiced in the least. I was left dumbfounded. She had just made one the most racist and prejudiced statement that I have ever heard and then claimed she was not prejudiced.
She went on to defend her statement by saying that it was for the benefit of future kids (that would not even be born in her version of the world). Naturally, when she said that my first thought was of Reverend Lovejoy's wife from the television show "The Simpsons" who is always concerned about the children. Further in her defense of her statement she recounted stories about how mixed children were always made fun of when she went to school. First most kids are made fun of for something or other when they are growing up, kids can very vicious. Second, the world has changed quite a bit from when she went to school. It has changed since I went to school.
This is where my statement about the younger generations comes in. I have taught in the public school system and subbed for a few years and what I have seen is quite the change from when I went to school. Children of two races were typically among the more popular kids in the school (according to their family's income of course which is the story for most children). I did not see these children being outcast because they had two parents of different races.
In the end, I do not believe racism is dead because of the older generations and those hard held onto beliefs for better or worse, but it is dying thanks to the younger generations that are starting to grow up.