Saturday, February 13, 2010
My Race-Based Valentine
In the most recent issue of Time Magazine (vol. 175, no. 7 | 2010), an article about our current approach to dating reveals an interesting reality concerning race in America. In our apparent postracial era, the issue of race should be much less of an issue, but truth be told, the reality is quite different particularly as we become more socially segregated people. We no longer confront the ugly truth that race still is part of our psyche. This blind reality is most prominently manifested in the youth as they tell themselves with the election of the first Black president that they aren't racist as the past generation. But the truth, if this article is any indication, is that our generation merely replaced racism with "preference." I hear that a lot particularly when the conversation turns to dating. Friends, colleagues, and people who chat during social gathering talk about their experiences of online dating the pros and cons of each site. It is always interesting to note that the pros of each site is the ability to streamline the search of potential mates, which interestingly is what the article in Time Magazine talks as the checking the preference box of race. By the mere fact that the word "preference of race" is not "really" racism seems to indicate that the blunt taboo of racism has been replace with a much softer and acceptable form of individual choice. As if race is really about preferring one taste over another like I like vanilla over chocolate. The reality that this distinction is no longer racism suggests that our society has not dealt with the issue of race at best or at worse our society doesn't see the issue of racism lurking underneath the pretense of personal choice or preference. It seems that we merely placed the issue under the rug as if to pretend, with the election of an African-American president, that race is no longer an issue for the youth. But, it seems that this article is shining a light of truth that the youth, my youth, is no less racist than our parents generation. Yes, we have come along way but at the same time we have stalled by admiring the current reality and by not truly looking ourselves into the mirror. Racism can become an even greater divisive force now than ever before, because we no longer call racism but merely "preference" of taste. And, as I heard some public figure say that our young men and women are dying for our freedom so that we can make individual choices to determine what we like and don't like, that is our right, and if that is what they are dying for, well then, in all honesty, how can one argue that preference of one race over another race is racism particularly when one is merely choosing one's preference of potential partner? Isn't that my choice? So, how can that be racism? That is how the argument moves, which one can't help to wonder whether that argumentation is any different from past form of argumentation like when Europe was attempting to determine whether the indigenous inhabitants of the Americas where human beings -- that is, whether they were equals like the Europeans or subhuman. I guess, it was the European's preference.