When will we discontinue our insertion of race into every American political conflict or into every American social injustice?
On the surface, Pepperdine is a welcoming and appreciative community. Promoted in the charismatic catalogues we browse before applying and some personal encounters with fellow Waves, Pepperdine generally demonstrates sincere interest in its students.
According to “The Grayde: Am I Worthless?” poll, “grayding” Pepperdine students on student interactions, seven of the 15 people who voted acknowledge students as “Welcoming and appreciative,” while another seven viewed students’ interactions as “Acknowledging yet misunderstanding,” as of yesterday. If that’s the case, why must we persist the talk about race? When will we stop talking about race?
In spite of the “welcoming and appreciative” world some students are privileged to experience, these neither permit nor justify certain actions. I’ve observed or had friends report the occasional use of the “N” word by particular communities when there are “no blacks around” or certain communities hurling the “N” word at individuals in the black community.
Therefore, we will not stop talking about race until we eliminate prominent micro-aggressions and racial insensitivities that offend minorities.
Racial insensitivities and offenses are real. Daily, we can be deceived by Pepperdine’s beautifully embracive culture to the point that we fail to recognize the micro-aggressions certain communities commit, such as walking off of the sidewalks as I’m walking toward you in fear that I may harm you or assuming a penchant for Roscoe’s because of the complexion of my skin.
How would it make you feel if you were followed in the Caf under the suspicion that you may steal one of the many expensively priced items that you are fully capable of paying for? These encounters shape my perspective, shape my experience and shape my reality.
Perspectives on whether race is significant in daily discussions or political discussions differ from community to community. In regards to race, Assistant Professor of Sociology Dan Morrison cites research from Pew Research Center for the People & the Press.
The research says 80 percent of black, but only 37 percent of white respondents say the Brown case raises important issues about race. Granted race is a seemingly prevalent topic among many communities and if we continue to talk about race, it should be constructive.
Such perspectives only rationalize recent racial advancements — social mobility of the black community, Hispanic government officials or minority prominence in entertainment. However, those same perspectives fail to incorporate the interracial offenses or racial insensitivities that rest in the hearts of some Americans. With the existence of such perspectives, when will we stop talking about race?
We will stop talking about race when we authentically embrace the cultures, experiences and realities of those races discussed.
Follow Joshua Gray on Twitter: @theJoshuaGray