Why do you think it is so difficult for people to talk about race?
The discussion of race is something that is taboo. Unless you’re talking about your own race, and I still don’t quite understand that. For example, if I make a comment about a person of race, regardless of whether it’s positive or negative, I’m labelled as a racist. But if an African-American is talking about other African-Americans, that’s completely acceptable. Why!?
I think that it’s a very fine line, considering that we live in such a multicultural society, and people are, I believe, waaaayyy too sensitive about, well, pretty much everything. The other factor with this is that race is also the basis for stereotypes – and before you get all up in arms, you can’t sit there and tell me that you haven’t heard anything like this before – Asians are terrible drivers, Muslims / Islamics are terrorists, Chinese people eat cats and dogs, Africans have AIDS, African-Americans are all thugs, Indians all smell etc etc… these are the kinds of statements that we all hear all the time, and generally, anybody who makes these statements are considered as being racist.
However, the reason these statements exist, is because a small minority of people of a specific race do / say something, and so therefore, society simply generalises that behaviour and associates that with the entire race. I will openly admit that I’m guilty of partaking in this kind of behaviour. Living in the western suburbs of Melbourne, I’m surrounded by an incredible mix of people from all different nationalities, predominantly Asian and African.
One thing I find I’m always saying is that Asians drive Toyota’s.
Now that might not necessarily be true where you live, but it’s certainly true where I live. Majority of all the cars on the road in our area are all Toyota’s, and they’re driven by Asians. Fact. Now, Some consider that being racist. Some consider that a stereotype. Some consider that merely stating a fact. But if it’s a fact, is it still racist? Would the same logic apply when people say that Asians are more intelligent / academic students. Based on results amongst Australian educational testing results, majority of top ten percentile students are of Asian descent. Therefore, making that statement accurate. But does that also make it racist? It’s also true. It’s also a stereotype. Some wouldn’t consider it a racist comment, because it’s putting Asians into a positive light, rather than a negative light.
And if you’re not sure, just remember that everybody is a little bit racist.