Race. That’s the word. What does your race say about you? That’s the question. When it comes to discussing race issues, nobody is honest. We claim that the color of a person’s skin does not affect our opinion about that person, but this is clearly not the case. These two videos from ABC’s Primetime: What Would You Do are affirmations of this. The first scenario depicts a white teenager stealing a bike. Onlookers notice it, still very few call the police, but when a black boy does the same numerous 911 calls are made. In the second video, white teenage boys are shown vandalizing a car in a white neighborhood. While this is an obvious crime only three people call the police: one person calls to report the crime while two others call to report seeing two black boys asleep in a car. When the white teenage boys are switched with black teenage boys, phone calls are immediately made to police.
This shows how much race is and continues to be an issue in society. First there’s race, then stereotype, then prejudice. Stereotypes can and are sometimes amusing, but once a person acts upon it he/she becomes prejudiced against the victim. Blacks are often associated with crime, and the bystanders in these videos are living proof that this notion is still alive, and it will live on until society is honest about race issues.
People tend to evade the issue of race by proclaiming that they don’t see it; they claim that a person’s skin is irrelevant, that all they see is the person in question. Why? Because it makes them uncomfortable? I’ve always asserted that there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeing race. Race is a symbol that tells a story–it tells the story of a person’s culture, heritage and ancestors; it denotes uniqueness and if people can’t see race then they can’t fully appreciate the beauty that is diversity. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with noticing a person’s race. Go ahead, notice it but also notice the person within. Get to know people before basing a judgement on the pigmentation of their skin.