A major part of any conversation involving race will include stereotyping in one way, shape or form. Now, I know that I mention this every time but I realize that I am a white male and really don’t have a true understanding of what kind of problems and trouble that racism causes because I have never experienced anything of the sort.
I grew up in a suburban, predominantly white town outside of New York City. I had one black kid in my entire class of 125 people. It was a little town, so everyone at least recognized each other if they didn’t know their names. Only one mile away from my little bubble of a town is Paterson, which is the third largest city in the entire state, and the second most densely populated city in the country. It has been called the Heroin capital of the east coast and is home to one of the largest ethnic populations in the surrounding area.
Now unfortunately, there have been cases of a black or hispanic person walking or driving through my town that have been stopped and questioned because they either weren’t recognized by the police or were reported as suspicious characters. Now you won’t find any records of this happening but everyone in town had at least witnessed it or knew someone who had witnessed it.
That is just a example that I wanted to share that has been close to home in my life but the problem does not just stop there. The most powerful evidence of racial stereotyping can be found in a airport. According to the Washington Post, this type of profiling only hinders the fight against true terrorism. There are videos, and extensive articles concerning how unfairly muslims and people from middle eastern descent are treated unfairly and as criminals. After the 9/11 attacks, airport security has tightened up incredibly in leaps and bounds, but at the same time, they changes do not really apply to everyone.
One thing that my father has joked about to me when we go through airport security is that we’ll always get through without any problems. I have gone through security at a airport more times than I can count and not once have I ever been stopped, searched specially, or been put in a different line. I am blond haired, blue eyed, red blooded American, and that is what the people at the TSA see when they see Jack Boscoe. I, unfortunately am not the type of person that they are checking for. Although they do not have a quota to fill, they do tend to select more people who are not white and look “different” from the norm.
Stereotyping is not just a purely American problem but a issue world wide. There are different examples of this from all over the entire planet and entire libraries could be filled with information on the topic. The only way that we as a global culture can ever move on from viewing people in this way is by holding individual people accountable for their actions instead of attributing them to the entirety of “their” group, which is incredibly difficult for us as humans because our brains are hardwired to automatically group things into similar groupings due to evolutionary reasons.
As with anything in this world, it starts on the individual level, which gradually becomes more and more influential until it ultimately becomes the norm. It doesn’t mean that you can make this change overnight, but we all have our own places to start this journey.