Here is a questionnaire to help you realise that Racism very much does exist, even without the very OBVIOUS displays of it with police brutality in America and mass incarceration etc. etc.
(These are very gentle, easy to answer questions. Not aggressive or personal or rude, but an easy way to shine a light on the structural and institutionalised racism that very much still exists in many parts of the world, not just America.)
- How many books have you read by a non-white author?
- How many books featuring a non-white MAIN character?
- How many times have you read a book where the race is only specified for the non-white characters? (spoiler alert, white is assumed to be the norm, that’s why!)
- How many films have you watched with a non-white MAIN character?
- How many films have you watched that aren’t about race or culture that have a non-white main character?
- How many TV shows with a non-white MAIN character?
- How many TV shows or films with a non-white love interest that the MC is chasing after?
- How many times have you seen the sassy black woman, the wise older black person, the token black friend who acts like they have an attitude, the angry black woman, the gangster or thug, portrayed in film and TV as the only representation of a non-white character?
- How many times has a dodgy, awful accent been used on a non-white character, like the forced Indian accent or the Jamaican or African accent in the shows or films you’ve watched?
- How many times did the non-white character get put in a positive spotlight, only because they were a star athlete or grand singer (Black), or math-whiz (Asian) who’s great at school?
Even if you had some good answers to these questions, like I do, the problem is that the odds aren’t even. The ratio is off. You are more likely to read or watch and see 100 white characters or authors and creators to the few non-white ones.
Fact, people of colour are not seen as the norm. They aren’t the default character. They aren’t displayed on our screens and in our books as much as they should be, and as accurately as they should be.
And this is just in the entertainment industry! Imagine what the odds are like in other industries and communities. Racial prejudice and discrimination and stereotyping and assumptions and shunning are still very, VERY real.
See an old post on TV shows featuring POC characters to help tip the scale.
See my last post on how to educate yourself about racial injustice and the lives of POC.