During Black History Month, which ends today, many have remembered Martin Luther King’s famous “I Have a Dream” speech from 1963. Although much progress has been made in the five decades since that speech was delivered, racist jokes still persist in our society.
Unfortunately, teenagers often find amusement in racist comments, discriminating against other races and even their own. On the Internet, especially on social media, there are memes that disfavor certain races for the point of getting views or likes.
“I don’t really care if someone makes a racist joke about my race,” said Mexican American sophomore Marcelina Ortega in an interview with JSR, demonstrating that racism is so common that sometimes its targets have taken an indifferent view of it.
When interviewed by JSR, some students stated that racism is inherent in society because it’s part of human nature.
Chinese American Leo Ouyang stated, “While racism is a bad thing, it’s human nature to label a race or category a certain way.”
“There will always be racism,” agreed Korean American junior Elijah Lee. “We’re only human, and humans have a tendency to think they are more superior than others, particularly in class. Class is mostly divided by race as well, so in the end, as long as we have a hierarchy of social classes and race, discrimination will always be present.”
Racism does not restrict itself to jokes and insults, however. The jokes reflect the fact that racial stereotypes are prevalent as well, and these can be harmful. For example, it is a common stereotype that Asians excel at math. This can cause unnecessary pressure and expectations, and it can also impact the self worth of those who are stereotyped.
For example, Elliot Rodger was a 22-year-old Asian American whose self-deprecation led him to go on a murderous rampage in Isla Vista last summer. One reason for his rampage, according to a manifesto he wrote before he committed the act, was his belief that Asians did not have the ability to court blonde girls; this belief was founded on society’s judgment. Rodger has been cited as being a misogynist, but racism also played a huge role in the tragedy.
Yet, according to several people, racism is natural and there is no real cause for concern unless it is meant to offend. However, all racist comments should be exposed for the despicable attitudes they portray, and we should acknowledge that they can have terrible consequences. Even if it is a part of human nature, racism is not acceptable.