Whether by “automatic association” or learned behavior, racial prejudice exists rampantly in America. Verna Myers’ TED speech reflects our automatic associations to the “failing race.” Her eloquent words inspire us to reach within ourselves and embrace the diversity of our collective culture. She opens our eyes to seldomly exposed images of a successful black man. Interestingly, West (1993) points out a theory of why this may be true. He says that we are embedded in a consumer-based market driven culture. I see both of their arguments every day being perpetuated by mainstream media. Think about it: How many images of black men are we exposed to? If so, what image is being drawn? Positive or negative? In the words of Dr. West, are they being portrayed as a “them.” Mainstream media feeds mainstream’s preconceived notions about other races that are not obedient to the mainstream establishment. And its very existence relies heavily on ratings and audience, therefore gives us concrete proof of prejudice in the US. But mainstream knows what to say, when, and how. This is especially true when it targets our misinformation regarding the black community, homosexuality, religion, and so on. This all goes back to the Racial and Cultural Difference Theory by Noel (2008). Those that do not fit to the establishment, are inferior to the beliefs of an organization that exploits its advantages.
Interestingly, the establishment is not one single race. Rather it is a group that directly or indirectly believes that how they live is “the correct” way. Those that cannot and/or will not give in to subjections must prepare for a lifelong commitment in defending differential beliefs. The Los Angeles riots that West (1993) described are a reflection of a problem that “we all” have and must address.
Fortunately today the way we have the power to seek information actively rather than a passive feeding at the six o’clock news. This trend has forced the mainstream to be more creative and rely on different tactical approaches when feeding information. These approaches may not be successful with our newer generations. Rather we are the last ones that rely on old habits that keep us misinformed. The Millennials are the ones who will restructure us a give us all a new identity. The access to information at their fingertips is unprecedented. They will seek the truth that will set them free. Only the true word passed down from generations will prevail.
Myers, V. (2014, November). How to overcome our biases? Walk boldly toward them [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.ted.com/talks/verna_myers_how_to_overcome_our_biases_walk_boldly_toward_them
Noel, J. (2008). White privilege: Unpacking the invisible knapsack. In J. Noel Editor (Ed.), Classic Edition Sources: Multicultural Education (56-59). Boston: Pearson Education.
West, C. (1993). Race Matters. In J. Noel Editor (Ed.), Classic Edition Sources: Multicultural Education (50-52). Boston: Pearson Education.