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2007-05-13 08:05 pm (UTC)
Re: racism, I have had much the same experience as you recently. Although I lived in a couple of different areas of the U.S. as a child, I've grown up mostly in the South. Of course a lot of the Southern stereotypes are true, and there are plenty of racist people who live in this region of America, but I'm always surprised by the number of people who think that racism is only limited to white crackers who drive around with Confederate flags on the back of their pick-up trucks. My high school had a pretty large population of people like that, but for the most part I think there was
racism there, simply because we'd all pretty much grown up around each other. We had a pretty fair ethnic split -- about half white, and then a quarter each black and Hispanic.
This past year at college, I feel like I've encountered much more racism than I ever did in high school. I go to a small private college with an overwhelmingly white population; here's the
(http://www.princetonreview.com/college/research/profiles/studentbody.asp?listing=1023384<id=1&intbucketid=) profile for it. I'm pretty sure the only way they came up with a number as small as 86% for the percentage of white students is that a lot of people must have checked "other" or chosen not to respond. Anyway, despite the racial imbalance, I still didn't really expect people to be racist... I guess there's just that whole assumption that well-educated young people from a middle class background would know better than to be so bigoted. I think the only difference, though, is that they aren't blatantly hateful. I just think a lot of them are kind of ignorant about the problems, maybe because they were distanced from them while growing up? But there were just some things I heard that definitely rubbed me the wrong way.
One of my friends would volunteer to pass out food in one of the poorer neighborhoods, which was predominately black. When she was getting ready one morning, she was rushing around to change her shirt. "Oh, that one is too low cut!" she claimed. "I don't want anybody to rape me!" Um... what?? So you're going out to help people, but at the same time you assume that they're all rapists and criminals?
Another thing that I noticed a couple of times was the rooming arrangements for the black students who lived on campus. They were invariably roomed together, regardless of whether they had
in common or not. All three of the black girls who lived on my floor were put in the same room. Another guy I knew was stuck with a roommate he was completely incompatible with -- but wait, they're both black! We can't stick them with anybody else!
Anyway, errr... this is a pretty long comment, sorry. I guess the point is that, yeah, I can completely see where you're coming from, and it's pretty upsetting to see people living with such biased views while still convincing themselves that racism is a thing of the past.
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