The Casualness of Racism
Ironic isn’t it, the words casualness and racism are in one sentence. Unfortunately, “casual” racism is quite common.
In some cases, racism is often simply laughed over and considered a joke, although it should not be funny in any way, shape, or form. This is a gaslighting technique, whereas the abusers indirectly sign to the victims that nothing is wrong with the situation that has been created. Many POC (person/people of colour) have felt the discomfort of having others mock their ethnicity and/or race but not being able to speak up about it because of the atmosphere of everyone enjoying it. Most of the time, even after working up the courage to stand up to them, the victim’s anger can be easily invalidated and shut down with “it’s just a joke”, or “why are you being so sensitive?”
The circumstances change when it is a POC laughing over their own ethnicity and/or race, of course. Victims have every right to use comedy to cope with their struggles, it is just disrespectful to do so with another’s. After all, it is the equivalent, if not worse, of using a word without knowing its meaning.
I personally think the biggest issue with racism is that it is still not taken as seriously as it should be. Top media platforms post controversial headlines and articles, racist actions go viral (ex. the fox eye trend), celebrities and creators are forgiven for their racist actions by a large number of people that don’t have the right to pardon it… Even in everyday life, slurs, cultural appropriation, and just overall racist comments are used in laid-back conversations.
I believe it is our job, as the young generation, for the next generation, to fix this. Start by correcting the people around you, even if they are your friends when they are doing something wrong, as difficult as it can be. Educate yourself with them and support those that are affected by the wrong-doings.
As you do so, your eyes will open and they will see the better sides of this world; do yourself a favour and introduce yourself to the beauty in others’ cultures and history!
By Hyewon Lee