As I’ve become more educated on the subject of socially institutionalized racism I have become so much more aware of it. I see it in my day-to-day, and even when I look back on past experiences. More and more I see how institutionalized racism is like a mirror, reflecting issues that we all believed our society had moved past.
When someone finds out that I don’t always only listen to what is stereotypically “traditional” black music. That I listen to anything from classical to local punk-garage I always receive a response like the following;
“Wow! I’m blacker than you!”
“That’s for white people.”
“You’re not black”
These statements are called microaggressions. These microaggressions make it seem like my identity and the color of my skin are negotiable, like the color my skin or the people I was born from can be changed. It makes it seem like the only “requirements” to be black is to meet some stereotypical qualification rather than melanin that often receives less/no entitlement. Melanin that has “prompted” unjust and unfair treatment from non-POC (people of color). You can not reject one's identity, it is not up for debate.
Yet whenever I call someone out on their racism, they immediately throw up their hands. They know there isn’t much worse than a racist. They shake their heads in disgust to the word, they call me nasty things or try to explain how they aren’t. And yet when I describe the way their words impact me they don’t show nearly the same response.
They don’t like to think about their decisions consequences, especially if they aren’t the one paying for it. The want to believe that they live in a perfect world, where everyone receives the same rights and level of entitlement. The can’t imagine the world as anything else.This is part of the reason they reject the term racist - it destroys their view of a balanced world..Society does not seem to understand that internalized racism is everywhere, and in everyone. We are all subject to racist and bigoted ideals that have seeped into our minds. Why does it matter that we can all accept this? Because those who know better can then do better.