“Being white is pretty awesome,” writes lawyer Dawn Cutaia in the York Daily Record, saying that white folks don’t have to be part of the KKK to be racist. It can be as easy as laughing at a black person’s ethnic name or not hiring them because of it.
You don’t have to be a member of the KKK to be racist, but not being a member of the KKK does not mean you aren’t racist. Slavery may have been outlawed 150 years ago, but the Civil Rights Movement was less than 50 years ago. Fifty years ago blacks were still sitting in the back of the bus, drinking out of separate water fountains, being sprayed by fire hoses for peacefully protesting, and living in extreme poverty with substandard education.
To this day, there are still a lot of negative stereotypes about blacks. I can’t think of any negative stereotypes about white people, other than we can’t dance. When you are the people in power, negative stereotypes roll right off your back. But for the people who are not in power, even stereotypes we think are harmless can have terrible consequences.
Ever hear whites make fun of black names? Names like Lakeesha and Jashon? Did you know that when potential employers are presented with two identical resumes, one with a white name and one with a black name, the white person gets the interview, hands down. Not so harmless now. And when “undercover” black and white employees interview for jobs, when they both have the exact same qualifications, guess who almost always gets called back? Yeah, that’s right, the whites.
The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.