"On The Streets of Paris"...James Baldwin
I will begin with the sentence everyone says when he or she makes a statement or post about a race, “Most of my friends are Black”. But in my case most of my friends are White. I was not privy to going to a predominately black school nor born or raised in a predominately black area. I am from a family of school teachers and Dairy farmers and my family has a substantial amount of land when it was all combined it's close to 500 acres to be exact. And yes, my grandparents and parents had their fair share of racism and lack of support from their peers. The color of someone’s skin or the mention of “White” people are the reason we can't accomplish a dream was never mentioned in our home. The one thing my parents instilled in us was to sleep with one eye opened, to always watch our back and be two steps ahead. Yet, we were not ignorant of what any ethnicity may be capable of doing to another human being or a person's biased behavior because of the color of someone's skin. Therefore, I must always ask myself in every situation would my intentions, comment or opinion be different if I were referring to a different race? I ask myself these questions in order for my thoughts to always stand on neutral ground. I added this video because too often, I see comments on social media that are excruciatingly painful to read but the unexpected eye-opening moments is when a bias comment is posted by a co-worker or friend. Bigotry is always revealed in the comments on topics about race, politics or gender and conclude with I have a Black friend, White friend, Latino friends, a Gay friend and so on. People use the ‘I have a fill in the blank as needed friend” statement, as though they are playing monopoly and by saying they associate with a certain ethnicity, political party or supports the LGBT community, then they should receive a Get Out of Jail card for their bias comment.
Bias Behavior and Contempt
James Baldwin expresses how he felt while living in Paris. While in Paris, he began to write again because he felt he didn't have to continually watch his back. He goes on to say he doesn't know the thoughts of people in certain positions in the United States, for instance, an employer, a store clerk or members of a Catholic Church or what they may do to him because of the color of his skin. Today every ethnicity and gender has to watch their back because everyone is portraying someone totally different online. Social Media comments also provide insight into societies mentality, it’s a small glimpse of how we truly feel but can't verbally express to someone if we were to bump into them on the street. However, the pleather of (I call them) “face the nation” groups feel it is their duty to tell you to your face while hiding in the masses of people. They will pile into a bus or car to meet up for a March and a violent arguing match breaks out. There is so much expression of contempt in society. Is contempt being fueled because we are becoming it’s “All About Me” generation and culture who believes their opinions are facts and his or her sources are concrete based on the information provided to them from commentators on YouTube? And it's just not millennials with a huge ego…It’s adults of all ages and it is passed on to children. There are no repercussions nor a slight moment of regret for any comments or actions. Unless it goes viral and becomes center stage and then, we see some form of apology with tears. Now, with the latest public outcry over a group of Covington Catholic boys behavior was justified to taunt a Native American man because earlier that day, they were taunted by a group of Black Israelites which now the media has changed the terminology to “Black Men”. However, no one reported that all parties involved were wrong for their comments and behavior and no one had just-cause for their actions but an unbias report would limit bigoted comments and society must continue with its contempt and some sense of prejudice to function in America. I truly want to believe that the hearts of mankind is good but it's hard to tell by their comments and actions towards one another. Sometimes it feels as if society is deemed as narcissists. Which means peoples comments and actions will only get worse.
Click Here to watch a clip of the beginning of James Baldwin’s interview