Every time two different people from two different backgrounds get in a dispute, race may color the dynamic, but most often it is not the dominant instigator—never mind what Jimmy Carter has to say about race in America. This isn’t to say that we are post-racial or that racism is dead. We aren’t, and it isn’t. Whites and blacks most often have misunderstandings complicated by ignorance of our different experiences. How can any of us know if racism motivates people in a given situation? Sometimes you have to look at a situation and ask yourself if it is being fired by race, or not race. How sensitive is your racial radar? I’m here to help.
Look at these perceived racial injustices and decide for yourself if race was a factor, or if race was not a factor. Get the correct answers at the end and tally your score to find out what kind of race man or woman you are. (Hint: Joe Wilson yelling out “You lie!”? Not race.)
Race or Not Race?
1) Radio personality and professional bigot Don Imus calls the Rutgers women’s basketball team a bunch of “nappy-headed hoes.”
2) Comedian and TV star Michael Richards calls a heckler a “nigger” six times in quick succession.
3) Oregon football player LeGarrette Blount is suspended for the rest of the season for sucker-punching Boise State’s Byron Hout during a round of trash-talking after a hard-lost game.
4) Kanye West commandeers the microphone at the MTV Video Music Awards show, and Twitter goes nuts with calls for that “nigger [to be] lynched.”
5) Serena Williams goes in on a line judge and is fined and loses a point and the match.
6) Actor Isaiah Washington is fired from the cast of Grey’s Anatomy following a controversy where he is alleged to have called a co-worker a “faggot.”