Saturday, February 14, 2015

The racially blind and the new age of patroitism

I have an issue I’d like to discuss with regard to a situation which once happened and now is happening to me again. It has to do with a cultural trend which has finally gained a name more recently but has been around much longer. It is an issue with those who see themselves as racially blind.
I see the origins of this trend, at least in my life time, started after 9-11, (I know, I'm sick of referencing 9-11 for every social trend of my generation too, but here we are), and it is centered around people’s ability to speak openly against specific races and not have fear of backlash. Early on it was just against races seen as connected to evil groups who had hurt us whether they were part of it or not. However social pressure soon gave rise a new form of patriotism that included notions against anyone who was not what people saw as American. In my experience, being of Mexican descent, it was weird to have people who knew of my background carry a conversation with me and feel it was OK to speak so openly against Mexicans right to my face as long as the always made sure to put "illegal" before it every time,(which they frequently forgot to). Even if the issues they spoke of did not actually relate specifically to illegals or to illegals at all they felt confident denouncing Mexicans because they were a patriot and had their countries interests at heart.
 In recent years this has gained a name and a new face, people who feel it is OK to speak against specific races and it somehow doesn't make them racists simply because if accused of being racist they can dismiss the allegation by declaring that they voted for Obama. The notion that we have move into a post racial society where everyone should become blind to issues of color is an idea that has gained a following. However I have seen it used more often by people who have prejudice as a free pass to let that prejudice out. I say this out of experience and from a stand point of multiple levels of frustration with a situation. In a previous place I worked my crew got a new manager, and in one of the first conversations with the whole crew we had together the issue of race came up and he openly, adamantly declared that he believed it was right for police to hassle blacks and Mexicans more because they were the ones always doing something wrong. Him being my boss I decided to take less direct action against him and tried to prove him wrong and change his mind. In the process of this he managed to get fired the only other person of Mexican descent on the crew other than me. He did not just have a belief that there were social trends which were true and should be handled, he was a nearly openly racist but he hid it behind this colorblind ideology. Luckily I stayed above his wrath long enough for him to be found out as a scumbag and pressured out of the job. Now I face a situation with a new boss I have who sees himself as so non-racist that he jokes about race freely and doesn’t see it as a problem, even if the way he does it really is kind of racist. My issue is once again trying to decide on whether or not to act on this issue and how.  I made a mistake previously about whether someone just had some misled beliefs or if they were a racist and someone paid for it when I could have prevented it.
The colorblind trend is a weird issue to deal with as so many members of this group think they are on the right side of the issue, but some like Tim wise would say that acting like race is no longer an issue creates more issues.

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