At what point will society stop making excuses for inappropriate behaviors towards people of color? At what point will society look at a situation for what it is instead of relaying it as "freedom of speech"? With social media providers influencing a large portion of the 21st century, these behavior are exposing many horrific thoughts and beliefs towards people of color and our accomplishments. The process of breaking our ongoing barrier has clearly offended and intimidated the many who do not approve.
Lets begin by taking a look at some high school students who voiced their racist discontent with the re-election of our first African American President Barack Obama. Before going in depth with these racial encounters, I'd like to highlight the statement "youth is not a good enough explanation for these behaviors." I emphasize this quote because it is an excuse I hear
constantly to downplay an unacceptable reaction. I am well aware of adults teaching and raising their child to have certain views, but there comes a point in everyone's life when the decisions you make are yours to reap. With that being said, I have no sympathy for the remarks and consequences that racist teenagers have endured.
Twitter is a social network site to randomly post whatever you wish to share. Twitter, in my time of using it, seems to be more open than that of Facebook or Instagram. Facebook seems to cater towards the connection of friends, even professors, and Instagram is made to share pictures. The only explanation I can come up with for the boldness of racist teens on Twitter is because twitter has a large audience of teenagers. Teenagers would find it more appropriate to post their thoughts for the reaction of other teenagers. They do not take in account that although twitter may have a younger audience, it is still, nonetheless, a social media space. I can not think of any other judgement that can mold these thoughts that the behavior on twitter, like in the image above, will not have consequences. I have also realized within the tweets of these racist teenagers that a lot of them do not even consider their thoughts racist even though they go so far as to equate President Obama with a monkey.
It is examples like the Republican Official, Marilyn Davenport, that preserve racial beliefs and deem them acceptable. Photo shopping Obama's picture onto a monkey has completely crossed the line as a "joke" (I do not completely believe it was one in the first place). A monkey is one animal that we, as black people, have always been associated with. It is an insult to resort back to the one animal that has been used and abused since before and after the time of slavery. If we were considered property, then we were considered animals, particularly monkeys. It is the history of our culture that makes the association of "monkey" and "nigger" SO inappropriate.
I am not surprised by any of these remarks by the racist teen tweeters or the emails of Davenport. I have experienced this racism first hand when I was in Michigan State University. Someone found it appropriate to hang a black doll in one of my previous classrooms and the president of Michigan State addressed this issue with the slightest sense of urgency and seriousness. I really don't know how I feel about this; I'm sick of feeling anything about this. The minute I saw those pictures of the teenagers who posted on twitter, I thought of them being in my classroom, on the train to school with me, even as my future colleagues. I'm disgusted at the fact that these views about us/me can and are so close to home. Our fight is not over, but the better question is: will it ever be? Will African Americans forever be associated with the views our successors fought so hard to get rid of?
All in all, I took great offense to everything that was said about Obama. Commenting about his color, rather than his presidency, is offensive to all who fall under the category of African American. It is important for everyone to educate themselves on the concept of racism so that we, as African Americans, will not overlook it or even consider for a second that it is NOT racism, with the many argumentative "rationals" used to hide these bitter truths.