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Is Racism Still an Issue? Are We Color Blind or Just Blinder?

Are race-y issues heating to a boiling point? Yesterday, Chinese-South Africans were given a surprising notification: according to a high court they're not any sort of Asian — they're actually black. The classification is supposed to make them eligible for government affirmative action policies aimed at making amends for apartheid. The term "black" also refers to Indians, making it a confusing system of taxonomy when instead of race, it seems they really mean to describe oppression.

Like the South African court, July's issue of Italian Vogue is making a black statement of its own. Aiming to call attention to and reverse the pattern of a dearth of darker faces in fashion, the magazine's upcoming issue only depicts black models. The photographer of the issue says of the decision to make the statement, “I thought, it’s ridiculous, this discrimination. It’s so crazy to live in such a narrow, narrow place."

Perhaps Vogue's point is a good one: certainly the inclusion of minorities in television is a pale example. According to an Entertainment Weekly study of scripted programming, casts for the upcoming fall 2008 season, each of the five major broadcast networks is whiter than the Caucasian percentage (66.2 percent) of the United States population. The only minority character anchoring a new series on a major network is a cartoon: Cleveland Brown from The Family Guy will get his own spinoff. No word if he gets the biggest dressing room.

The creators of the Obama-shaped monkey toy (or monkey-shaped Obama toy?) ran a letter in the Salt Lake Tribune criticizing the public uproar over the doll. To see what they said,


The creators said:

TheSockObama politically plush toy has been discriminated against in the marketplace of the United States of America. . . . The questions we still find perplexing are; is America really ready for change? . . . Are we now censoring one another's liberty as Americans to freely purchase goods and services on our own terms? Is this the kind of America we want?

What's the happy racial utopia? Do we allow any and all comments and depictions like the SockObama because it's a question of liberty and equality? Do we push for complete homogeny to make an argument about the lack of diversity like Italian Vogue, and should we press television and media to make sure we see an accurate depiction of the full spectrum of humanity? Do we need to ignore specific racial labels to make sure all of those oppressed minorities benefit like the "black" Chinese in South Africa?

Has racism been erased — or just become a chameleon?


Join The Conversation
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
Issue --- no way. ohh my.
dreamsugar dreamsugar 9 years
lol -- you have got to be kidding. It's still alive unfortunately. It's not racists to have Black History Month or the United NERGO fund. You know -- times were different when these things came to be. I remember in school, that I was only taught black history during the month of February (and it was only about slaves - not real positive). The other 11 months was mostly white history. Unfortunately you have to be black to understand this. This is how I grew up and it wasn't that long ago. What really hurt is when they took MLK Jr day away as a national observed holiday. And what hurts more is when white colleagues say -- you know you can take the day off -- as if it's a black holiday. That man fought for all of us people and why ppl choose to over look this annoys the heck out of me.
peaceful1 peaceful1 9 years
Well I only read the first comment and I may be a little late on this but I hate it when people say "well you guys have BET" BET sucks and is more racist than Fox News (and yes Fox News is racist) Also I dont think racism is the issue when it comes to the fashion world. Its preference. The standard of beauty changes, so Im sure that Black models will have their turn...someday...
browneyedgirl00 browneyedgirl00 9 years
Oh, and to answer the question at hand, Yes. Racism is an issue still. It just changes its form as time goes on. Think 50, 60 years ago when discrimination was prominent and its disgusting for us to imagine people treating other people that way. We know now it was wrong how some people chose to act inappropriately. Today, racism exists in a different way. We stereotype, and we make pre-conceived judgments about people being "typical" of their racial background. We caught up in the humorous side of this, but many times its just offensive, hurtful, and people go too far--all people of all races do this.
browneyedgirl00 browneyedgirl00 9 years
Caterpillargirl, I agree with some of what you said. If a show works, it works. There shouldn't be a certain criteria of what shows depicting what race should be fullfilled to meet a number. When you say something like "Blacks have BET" you're in the politically incorrect zone. We don't say or like hear "the whites" or "the gays." It just sounds silly. Just my perspective, but you do bring up a good point in the beginning of your comment. On a positive note, it is good to see when networks incorporated a wider racial/ethnic/cultural audience. But, at the end of the day, a show is a show is a show, and if it's entertaining, it should be aired!
Ultra-Duckie Ultra-Duckie 9 years
Hello everyone! I'm new here so... Don't rib on me too much. :D Anyways, personal story time. I'm black(African American, whatever) but I'm light-skinned. I got teased my entire life from both the black kids and the white kids. Since I excelled in my studies, none of the black kids wanted to hang out with me because I "acted like a white girl". To this day, I've only had three black friends. I don't speak nor act like the average stereotypical black woman and for some strange reason, that doesn't make me black. I have dealt with my share of racial issues from both sides, I'm an activist of sorts, and yet... I was raised in the suburbs in a slightly racially charged city. Most of the black kids and adults act like the stereotypes and the ones that try to excel are called "Uncle Toms" or "Traitors". I don't understand why my own people would cut me down worse than the racist white kids in my schools. Does anyone remember when Obama first started this campaign that a lot of black folks didn't want to vote for him because he wasn't "Black enough"? It is nature to distrust and fear what we don't understand. There is no such thing as being colored blind to all races because there will always be a tension there. Trying to be politically correct about everything just makes the matter worse in some sense. We don't have to like each other, but at least respect the fact that we are all human beings. Blah, sorry for the ramblings. I promise I'll stick to the topic next time! I hope everyone has a peachy day.
anteneh6120 anteneh6120 9 years
I think that in order to resolve the race dilemma we must first understand why it exists. Believe it or not racism is an occurrence of nature. It is natural for us to feel threatened by someone who looks different from us. Each person is preprogrammed to protect his genes and send them into the next generation, therefore virtually every fight(war) is fought for the right to procreate. Nature has designed us for competition, this is empirical in evolution,its survival of the fittest. This is exactly why we have such strong emotional connections to those who are close to us such as family and relatives. So if we are willing to throw morality out the window, then racism and war actually become a good thing because the last man standing would be the best man standing, but in my opinion even if there was one single race left on the planet then competition would erupt within that race so the diversity of humanity actually helps to unite the individual races because as long as we feel as a part of a certain group then there is always a them and us, always someone to hate preventing a fight amongst ourselves of course in these situations the group with the upper hand always benefits. I'm not saying all this in order to condone racism but rather in an attempt to explain why we do the things we do as humans. the first step to recovery is admitting we have a problem but if we don't fully grasp both the historical and scientific context of our existence then we are powerless to act.
FairyPrincess33 FairyPrincess33 9 years
Wow, I can't believe some of the things I've read but it just goes to show that racism is still here and will always exist. As far as some of things said by CaterpillarGirl maybe you should read your post before posting them and think how it might affect others. I'm sorry but I don't think that you can say certain things and then get defensive and say I'm not racist, or I didn't mean it like that. When I was in High School, I would eat lunch with about 10 girls and we ate lunch everyday for two years. One day we were all talking I can't remember what about But one of the girls looked at me and said " Just because you look like the color of Poop doesn't mean you have to act like it". I was really hurt and later she apologized and said she didn't mean it like that and that she isn't racist. Her father is black and her mother is white and she thought that this meant her comment wasn't racist or hurtful. When I read CaterpillarGirl's comment it just brought me back to this, and it just sucks.
flintepla23 flintepla23 9 years
I am sick and tired of people complaining about racism in our country. There will always be racism, no matter whether we keep our assumptions to ourselves, or we tell others. In my opinion, people and the media just need to not get their feelings hurt over tiny little comments... anyone who has ever been outside their house have racist thoughts at the least, it's human nature to make assumptions. Just because we enslaved black people 200 years ago means that even now black people need to be treated special? White people are subject of racist comments and jokes all the time, do you see white people doing the same about black people? Now there is a line you cross however, as an individual to another individual I think it is okay to poke fun at them, but never be cruel.. It seems poking fun or just telling jokes about black people all falls under the category of being cruel. Let's separate the racist comments from actions and throw the actions out, but leave the comments alone, if someone wants to speak, let them speak.
yans21 yans21 9 years
I'm not gonna go through all the comments because it would definitely affect my answer in a negative way...BET is crap i can't even watch it for more than 30 mins.... i don't expect to see blk people in all shows and i hate the show with the token black person or Indian person I'd prefer to just not have them in it but sometimes I'm watching a show and i say to my sister do you realize there has never been a blk person on here and we laugh and it's over i don't get mad because most of the time the blk characters don't represent our family or our friends. Okay now i try my best to see everyone for who they are and not judge them by their race but i must say it seems white people are the only ones who think racism doesn't exist and that's because you get blamed for what some long lost relative did so you get all defensive and end up looking racist yourself....Racism is alive and well but it's just not as open as it was before and everyone is racist these days or should i say prejudice....yes you too blk people. As for the obama doll I'm not offended because i don't look a monkey and obama doesn't either. Americans have become so sensitive during the six years that I've lived here it's so insane how angry we get when we are offended but we believe we have the right to criticize others....the holier than thou attitude is not okay.
ThePerfectScore ThePerfectScore 9 years
I just want to say that we have a very enlightened group of people on Team Sugar. I love the fact that this topic was even brought up. I applaud citizensugar for posting something so thought provoking. And I do think racism is still an issue. But in any case, any minority whether if be women, gays..ect has to fight the majority for equality. Discrimination or prejudice will never be eradicated, but the more opportunities we have for public discussion the better chance we have for change.
orisugar orisugar 9 years
Indian people are barely represented on American television, and when they are it's so stereotyped. On shows like Big Bang Theory and some others Indians are portrayed as nerdy curry obsessed people with thick accents. It's really annoying. I mean I get it, people think the accent is funny, but overdoing this stereotype is really not funny. Television shapes people's attitudes towards a minority group- and if Indians on TV are depicted as clowns it affects how non-Indians respond to them in life.
laurenj laurenj 9 years
this is in response to the comments made by american man: racism not just against minorities anymore: i agree 1. who cares if racism still exists?, i do; and i am not leaving the country. 2. the primary purpose for the inception of such things as the UNCF, Black history month, BET, etc. was to give black individuals "something" to call their own because history, culture, heritage, pride, and a monstrosity of other qualities necessary for the prosperity of a people were taken away from the black people as a direct result of slavery (no, i wasn't there, but my greatgreat grammy & gramps were and, believe me, the mentality is passed down just as easily as skin, hair and eye color), emasculation of the black male (no, i'm not making this up, check 'willie lynch'), desecration of the black family and the perpetuation of such things by the powerful & dominant in our society 3. if anything in this country, the individuals with intelligence, decency, morals, respect and love for one another and God are slowly becoming the minority and the fact that you complain about the "better qualified white person" losing a job to the "less qualified minority person" is just one example of what brings our society down (if anyone feels that i'm being divisive with my words, please read carefully and try to understand, i only wish to educate those who wish not to attain understanding on their own)
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 9 years
Thats what I thought for a while..but as you can see. It can quickly show its ugly head.
skylineking722 skylineking722 9 years
Americans are a lot less racist now than even forty years ago. You don't really see a lot of prejudice towards people in any outward way anymore. Now, it is more of a subtle thing that kind of flies below the radar. That can make the racism harder to deal with, but at least that means that it is slowly diminishing.
chancleta chancleta 9 years
As a Latina and therefore minority I don't sweat it and it doesn't bother me. I don't think racism is an issue and think people need to lighten up. The monkey's rude but our freedom of speech and expression give us the right to be rude. Thanks to our forefather's and the constitution. As for Latino's in TV: lot's of Latino's watch Hispanic channels like Univision and Telemundo. Plus Latinos are everywhere! They don't need their own shows 'cause their in the thick of it all. Give me the name of any major tv show today and chances are there's a Latino/Latina in the cast. To name a few: Lost: Jorge Garcia = Hurley Heroes: Dania Ramirez = Maya Grey's Anatomy: Sara Ramirez = Callie
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 9 years
No..not the policeman..the animal. If I was a toy company competing with that one..I'de use the opposite of a monkey.. a pig.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
Why would it be a pig? He isn't a policeman and doesn't resemble a pig at all. So how did you come up with pig?
Fo-show317771 Fo-show317771 9 years
Would they allow a McCain shaped pig toy (or a pig shaped McCain toy) be sold on the market?
voluptuousinaz voluptuousinaz 9 years
The comment "Black's have BET" I consider to be a racially driven comment. I'm not even black! You may not want to be judged on your opinion but maybe you should consider how things sound before you say them. Moving on.... I learned when I was young that hate is something that is taught. It is a choice that you have. You either can chose to hate a race, religion, creed, or country and miss out on diverse people and cultures the ignorant judgemental never get to experience. Racisim is taught by the un-educated and the ill advised. You must have a narrow mind to slim down your color spectrum to that of your own skin tone. From generation X on I think that racisim has lessened. Although, people are becoming a little more vocal and poking fun at subjects a little harder. I just saw some news article on Yahoo about how Bernie Mac made a comment that was too riskay for Obama. I think that entertainers are scraping the bottom of the barrel to find the next "in" thing. For lack of any imagination birth has been given to a wide array of reality shows, not so funny sitcoms, and the pure old garbage on stations like FOX and MTV. C'mon wtf is up with shows like Underaged & Engaged?! Where you can see two underaged girls take their vows?!!!! Are you serious? On MTV none-the-less?! When I was a teenager MTV was what you watched to know what was "in" at the time. You're basicly telling kids, "Hey it's cool to get married when your underaged. And what the hell why not decide your sexual orientation while your at it too?" OK...rant over. The fact of the matter is, that until the model citizens stand up and decide to change things in the way they act and what they teach their childeren, there will always be racism. Hopefully one day we will all be valued by the type of person we are rather than our looks, skin tone, sexual orientation, religion, or background. We all live in the same world and we all need to find a peaceful way to co-exist.
freakntired freakntired 9 years
I find it completly wonderful that according to you chuckle heads im suppose to raise my children to be embarrased because of theyre race and religon. So what if one person doesnt like Black,White ,Hispanic,Asian,Indian,Native,Greek,German,Irish...blah,blah , that person you?? if this country would stop living in its neighbors windows,most of this crap would sort itself out.if you dont like something turn away, tune out, ignore...involvement breeds incouragement. also I think its awesome when americans my age preach to me about slavery and the equal rights movement.....hey,jerky were you there?
American-Man American-Man 9 years
Alright i will admit racism still excists, allbeit not just against the minorities anymore! Heres my take on it. 1) the biggest point here is who cares if racism still excists if you feel your being oppressed in some way deal with it or leave the country. no one is forcing you to stay here. 2) BET, black history month, UNCF, etc..., i can almost guarantee that if someone founded the United Caucasion Collage fund, or Caucasion Entertainment Television there would be an uproar Immediately. 3) If anything the whites in this country are slowly becoming the minority now, and because of the whining about racial diversity in the work place, a better qulified white person is being passed to hire a not as well quilified minority person to make certain groups happy. which in some jobs can put the workers and public in harm. Well i could argue more but im starting to get upset at the ignorance and closed mindedness of some people, so im done.
QuinnAngel00 QuinnAngel00 9 years
I don't really understand about the whole Chinese-South African thing, I think what they did is kinda retarded. I don't think Black is really a race. I prefer being called Black (you can call me Irish too if you want) over African-American, but that's my personal preference. I'd rather be called Quinn altogether though. I don't exactly identify with being black or white. I am both, I identify with both I guess, with everything, it doesn't matter what my skin color is, I am proud of my heritage. Just because I look more Black than White doesn't mean I should be only considered Black. (I hate choosing a box, if it's online, sometimes you can only choose one. How dumb). My younger sister is half Black and Half Irish too and she looks white. But do you think anyone considers her Black? I don't know, I'd have to ask lol. Moving on... I totally think the Obama Doll is cute. I want one. I'm part black and I understand how some people would think it's racist. But I mean REALLY? Seriously it's the people who think EVERYTHING is racist and EVERYTHING is "because I'm Black." I see a company who makes a cute sock monkey toy trying to make more money by getting in on the whole campaign thing. They seem to like Obama so they made their product after him. Ok, it's a monkey, but it's cute and I'm sure plenty of people like it. It's not supposed to be racist it's supposed to be supportive. A product marketed to their young audience of people who are actually interested in politics. Hell it might get some more people to vote. And who cares about the TV, people should probably be reading books anyway. But I watch TV too and I don't say "Oh no there's too many white/black/latino/hispanic people on this show or channel." If I like a show, I watch it, if not I don't. If it's funny I laugh. People need to grow up. The world is changing, and eventually things like this will be left behind, and so will you. Racism DOES still exist I believe this, but it's people who think everything is racist and etc who aren't helping the world at all. They think they are but they are not. Some people over think things, over analyse things, it's not the way to go.
Great-Sommelier Great-Sommelier 9 years
lol, as obvious as Angelina Jolie? :wink:
Frank-y-Ava Frank-y-Ava 9 years
Finally an important issue has almost the amount of comments as an Angelina post!! But yes racism is still an issue it's just not as obvious!
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