If it’s Happening, it’s Relevant

In its prime, Facebook was the best way to poke all of my friends and read their witty statuses. Now, I mostly see idiotic buzz feed quizzes (What bread are you? You’re totally multigrain! Groovy!) and my mother’s pictures. My sister went on Facebook this morning and came across one of her classmate’s opinion on last night’s Grammy awards – one of the most popular music awards shows in the United States. To summarize, this person said that he/she was annoyed while watching the Grammy’s because the issue of racism was touched upon – like when musician Pharrell included a reference to the “hands up don’t shoot” Ferguson movement and when “Black Lives Matter” was mentioned. This person continued to say that racism is no longer a relevant topic of discussion because “it’s not the 1950’s.”

I understand what this person means. Racial segregation and discrimination used to be much more prevalent, lynchings used to occur much more frequently, and slavery formerly existed in numerous states. Living conditions have improved in the past few decades for people of color. Between 1950 and 2015, progress has been made in the United States. The Civil Rights Act of 1964 has passed, affirmative action has given disadvantaged racial groups more opportunities, and public schools are no longer allowed to be racially segregated. But is racism really an issue so outdated that there is no longer any reason to mention it?

I don’t think so.

Something else happened today – the state of Alabama legalized same-sex marriage. More progress for underprivileged groups! Hooray! Marriage inequality is something that is definitely relevant because now, 37 states allow same-sex marriage. Sure, that’s more than half – but it’s not 50.

What about interracial marriage? Am I allowed to talk about that – or do I have to change the topic because “it’s not the 1950’s?” Some people might not be aware of this, but the state of Alabama did not officially legalize interracial marriage until the year 2000 – only 15 years ago. When I was born, not every state allowed individuals to marry each other regardless of race. And that’s sickening.

Maybe concrete evidence of current severe racial discrimination in the United States is nowhere to be found today, but prejudice exists. People still have misconceptions of racial groups. Judgements are still made. People still receive different treatment due to the color of their skin. Even outside of the US, it exists – France banned turbans in 2004. Racism is still a very recent issue, and to say otherwise is disrespectful. Those who honestly believe that racism doesn’t exist are likely either a)not currently experiencing it, and thus are unaware or b)supporters of racism that want to pretend it’s not a problem. Basically, they’re probably either ignorant or racist.

Obviously, racist people are horrible. But it’s also hurtful when people choose to remain ignorant on racial issues. Why do you not want to educate yourself on the issue? Do you think that racism doesn’t need to be a concern to you because you don’t experience it? Well, that’s a very selfish view to have. You might see racism as irrelevant because it doesn’t affect your life – but the rest of the world still exists.

Alabama interracial marriage source: http://www.cnn.com/US/9903/12/interracial.marriage/
France turban ban source: http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-16547479

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