This week's assignment reminded me of a show I used to watch. In this episode of American Dreams, we see an extreme amount of racism and discrimination in the 1960s (not far from Brown vs. Board of Education). The white police officers mistreat African American men and women simply because of their race.
The two videos featuring the author of Between Barack and a Hard Place, Tim Wise, really stuck with me. Since Brown vs. Board of Education and other anti-discrimination events did not happen in my lifetime, I think of it as history that does not need to be focused on. These videos, however, proved me wrong and showed that these events have all formed the way America is today.
The passionate author of Between Barack and a Hard Place says, "There are a lot of people out there every bit as intelligent, every bit as wise and capable as Barack Obama but who have a different style." He explains that some people view Obama as not really black because he doesn't fit the typical stereotypes. This proves that America is not a non-discriminative place because we stereotype often. Electing Obama as President of the United States was a step in the right direction but the problems of stereotyping and discriminating still exist.
Tim Wise says, "We as white folks can be really articulate or really inarticulate and still become president." This quote shows that Americans are living a double standard. Just because Barack Obama is our first black president does not mean that there is no racism in the United States. Obama is respected for how successful and well-educated he is. He had to work extremely hard to be respected as President of the United States while white men have a much easier opportunity to do so.
Wise then goes on to say, "In 62 almost nine out of ten whites said that black children had fully equal educational opportunities. So we've been in denial a long time." When Wise stated this fact, I was appalled. This statistic proves how Americans were and still are living in oblivion. This also hits home because it ties into my service learning school. The school I am placed at is very diverse and it is able to be that way due in part to Brown vs. Board of Education. Nonwhite students are having more equal educational opportunities but it is not this way everywhere and certainly was not this way in 1962 with segregation of schools.
QUESTION: Tim Wise makes a strong point about Barack Obama not fitting the typical black stereotypes. Why do you think this is? What are these stereotypes and how can we put a stop to them?