Commentary on Innocence and Racism

Just watch this video, then read my thoughts

This video is interesting because it really shows that racism is taught. It’s debatable whether he should be labeled racist because he says he doesn’t “know” what the word means but at the same time it can be argued that he did know and was not willing to deal with the consequences of his actions.

This story reminds me of an incident involving another white boy. I remember years ago my church was in Virginia for a conference when the elevators got stuck and we were waiting on the the top floor when we were trying to check out. When the hotel’s mechanic finally got the elevator to work we all piled in and began our descent. When we were almost to the bottom, we stopped at a floor where a white woman and a little white boy squeezed themselves into the crowded elevator *eye roll*. The little boy was about my age or younger (I was somewhere between 9-11 at the time). Out of nowhere the boy said, “I guess we have to make room for the hogs,” and I’m sure this image is basically how all the adults responded (This image is what they wished they could’ve said but they saved).  I missed this initially and didn’t really understand race at the time but the Jamaican adults were not having it after waiting hours for the elevator. My father in response said something along the lines that children repeat what they hear their parents say. The woman, who responded in fear of being labeled a racist (because you know only people in white supremacist groups were racist not the regular white woman from Virginia who felt she had a right to take the elevator trip at that moment #microaggressions), then proceeded to claim that the boy wasn’t her son and try to explain the issue away *Insert sound of a Jamaicans kissing their teeth*

Did the little boy know what he was saying or was he just a poor innocent child who unfortunately was influenced by his environment? I would say he knew what he was doing because no one provoked him neither did any of us try to talk to him yet he felt the need to equate us to hogs (see image). Yes he learned the behaviors from somewhere but he also was beginning to put those learned behaviors into practice. Racists aren’t born nor do they just emerge overnight from the abyss of racism (unfortunately not a real thing because if it was all the black people would have destroyed it a long time ago and eliminated racism and racists) but they exist after a lifetime of getting away with saying racist things and living under white privilege. The little boy in my anecdote already had a grasp of how white privilege worked to protect him and I would say the same thing goes for this boy. The frat bros form the SAE scandal learned that their behavior was acceptable from somewhere and had that video not surfaced nothing would have happen. With how police officers have been getting off with murder we can see how whiteness is prized and protected on all fronts in our society. All those officers, especially the overt racist ones, started out like the boy I saw so many years ago and this little boy in this video. People are going to say let’s forgive him and teach him better, which I agree with but the same forgiveness and patience isn’t given to little black boys and girls who are being suspended over foolishness  such as the 8th grader who was locked up for six days over some skittles *Insert eye roll, heavy sigh and kissing teeth sound* I think someone needs to educate little Caleb (I don’t know who but definitely not his parents/family where he most likely picked up this language from) because he and many like him will one day be the next police officers, store employees, real estate agents, and bank clerks that will use their position and privilege to support and defend overt and systemic racism. So this post is to all those that felt a post-racial future would come because the children are our hope, the reality is that’s a lie. It’s going to take more than voting for Obama for racism to not only disappear from our society but also the hearts of many.

FYI if you search Google Images for ‘Innocence’ mainly white children will come up but you know we post-racial and all.

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