Unintended Racial Inappropriateness

Lately, I have had a keen ear to racism in small, almost undetectable doses. I'm not saying these people that I've observed are racist. Sometimes white people really don't know when they have crossed the line and it's just due to the fact they haven't been around black people enough or they're just still completely unaware of the situation they're in, especially when you're talking about the Greater Detroit area. And, well, frankly its not only white people.

To protect the innocent, I'm not going into too many details, but making snide remarks to someone that's from Detroit about Kwame Kilpatrick or their financial situation is really inappropriate. I'm a former Detroiter and I know I wouldn't have appreciated some crappy comments like the ones I heard the other day. No one would say these thing to me because I'm white, so no one actually knows that I lived in the city for over two decades. I've got to hand it to the lady who fielded these comments, she was a lot nicer and more patient that I would have been. I wasn't in either of the conversations and was getting sort of pissed.

I'm not sure why race and racism has been so much more apparent to me lately, even in it's most minuscule amounts, but I have a few ideas.

While researching in the Detroit Public Library the other day, I heard this fantastic podcast about how this test can reveal that people have many buried biases. There was even a white caller that talked about how upsetting it was for her to see black people sympathizing with mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. She said she basically put them under the stereotypical umbrella of ignorant and stupid; I think those were her words. The podcast can be heard at Implicit Attitude Tests Reveal Buried Bias. Very interesting stuff.

Further, I've been listening to a lot of News and Notes on NPR. This is an incredible program and I often find myself forgetting that it's from an African American perspective. That didn't sound right. I don't forget it's from an African American perspective, but I don't feel like I'm excluded from being able to listen to it because of my skin color. It's such a thoughtful show with fantastic insight on the people that I have grown up with and continue to work with. This is my first solution for clueless white people.

My second solution for clueless white (and other) people is: Chapelle's Show. A quick, concise and hilarious round-up of race relations in American today.

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