Hello, my name is Christopher and I am a twenty-eight-year-old black male that was born in raised in Southwestern Pennsylvania. I would like to share with anybody that decides to read this blog what racism has looked like to me in my lifetime. If you are familiar with area you may know that a nickname for it is “Pennsyltucky”. One may ask why do people call it “Pennsyltucky?” Well, people in Southwestern like to do things that they believe southerners do. These things include but are not limited to; driving with a large Confederate flag on their truck, talking with a thick accent, and spewing out racial slurs and other harmful rhetoric. Before I go on in this blog, please remember that I said that they do things that they believe southerners do.
On many occasions, I witnessed people engage in blatant racism. Blatant racism is obvious in that people do not hide how they feel about a group (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). For example, I have had people stop talking to me out of nowhere because their parents did not like them talking to black people. Also, asking some girls to homecoming or prom was out of the question because their mother’s and fathers did not feel comfortable with them being out with me. But wait, it gets a bit worse. I have heard people say the n-word (I was going to type it out but I just can’t bring myself to do it) and then when they notice me, they would say “oh, I don’t mean you; you’re a good black person.”
Since 2008, I have seen ambivalent racism a lot more than blatant racism. Ambivalent racism is a bit more difficult to see than blatant racism. Ambivalent racism is when people have two views that are varying from each other (Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts, 2012). People that show ambivalent racism often are aware of the prejudices and discrimination that other groups face but they still feel as though everybody is on equal footing.
Anybody reading this may wonder why I chose 2008 as a mark. Well, that was when Barack Obama was sworn into office. I began to hear the sentiment that racism is not really a problem anymore because a black man has been voted into office. I had a conversation with somebody that admitted that people or color do face adversity that white people do not. However, since the country put a black man in office then people of color can become anything that they want if they just work hard for it. I do not believe that this person was inherently racist; he did not treat me any differently than anybody else around. However, he held two contradictory beliefs that stopped him from seeing the challenges that people of color face in this country.
I decided to take this opportunity to talk about racism because I wanted people to know that yes, it still exists. I believe that Schneider, Gruman, & Coutts (2012) did an excellent job of explaining the different types of racism but I wanted to further expound upon their message and make it real. I hope that anybody that studies Lesson 6 will see why diversity should be welcomed. It may not solve all our problems but it can present us with new ideas on how to solve issues facing us in today’s world.
Schneider, F. W., Gruman, J. A., and Coutts, L. M. (Eds.) (2012). Applied Social Psychology: Understanding and Addressing Social and Practical Problems (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications