Overt and covert racism
Paula (Asian) thinks it’s a lot easier to deal with overt racism. When someone calls her “slitty eyes” or when people pull back their eyes to try and mock hers, she feels it’s much easier on her conscience since she has proof of the person’s feelings towards her race. Messed up as it is, she’d rather deal with someone yelling out “Yo ching-chong - where you from?!” than having to deal with the more covert and ambiguous acts of racism and prejudice.
I kinda agree with her. Trust me; there is nothing as bad as not being certain whether a remark was racist or not. It’s really hard to publicly address such situations and this leaves you with that weird feeling in the gut most of us hate so much.
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When someone bluntly lashes racist remarks at you, you know to steer clear of those people. What makes a lot of blog battles so frustrating is that we face so much covert are-you-sure-that’s-what-she-meant racism. It’s much harder to prove and judge. How do you fight back at something you aren’t sure about? And what’s more frustrating is that most covert racists are highly unlikely to think or even admit that their behavior is racist.
Here is an example of what I am talking about. I have realized many a times that when I am shopping at my usual store, this sales woman usually treats white customers much better than the rest of the bunch. And since I am mixed-race and dark-skinned, you can guess which category I fall in. I might be crazy but the thing is, she has never bluntly refused to assist me but clearly, she is much more willing to spend time with other customers … white customers.
Well, the other day I was in the company of my acquaintance (a very hot white dude) and as soon as we stepped into the store, she was different. She acknowledged us and was so interested in assisting us and answering all our questions.
Now this is exactly what I am talking about. I am not sure whether her acts before were racist or not. Maybe I usually find her in a bad mood and on this particular day, she happened to have had some crack that lifted her spirits. I am not sure. What’s frustrating is, much as I feel all customers of all races should be treated the same, I can never ever confront her about it because I am just not sure!
Am I being too focused on race? Am I a covert racist too for trying to blame this woman for something that most likely didn’t even happen? What are your thoughts on overt and covert racism?
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