Many people believe that racism is an epidemic of the past, that the N word is no longer slang and that minority inequality is no longer a large issue, especially for teenagers. Although I do agree; many vile and aggressive forms of racism have been dramatically reduced, such as slavery, race separatism in public venues and violence towards those of certain ethnic backgrounds, I know I have witnessed first hand a large amount of racially abusive language, and read about many instances where discrimination is still current.
Where I notice racism play out the most in college is in the language teenager’s use towards one another. I’m sure to many people’s disbelief, the N word is still a very common part of young people’s vocabulary, and although it is almost always dismissed as a bit of ‘banter’, saying things like, ‘This n**** must be black belt’ directed at the Asian student in class, is still a form of vile abuse.
I’ve seen that especially within groups of boys at school, they can often say quite offensive things against one another. A particular group of friends in my year, include 2 boys of an ethnic minority – one Asian, and another who is half African-American – I have heard the former told to go back to the sweat shop he came from, teased about where he was born, and the other boy called the N word more times than I remember.
I think the amount of racism present in the media is very much underrated. In movies, magazines, TV Shows, music videos, through social media and over MANY more mediums there is a very significant amount of discrimination, and as the Internet and technology grow and grow, it seems so does the severity of abuse.
In music videos such as Lily Allen’s ‘Hard out There’ and Miley Cyrus’s ‘We Can’t Stop’, black women feature as background dancers, doing the infamous ‘twerking’ whilst in MC’s video she grabs their ‘butts’, and in both the women featured seem to be ‘just props’, as some new articles say. Also, particularly in rap lyrics if you listen, a surprisingly large amount of them have racist undertones that are often not picked up on, such as
Michael Brown Lyrics
I ain’t racist really
but I’m down with black and brown.
Those who are last shall be first,
Whites on the bottom now!
Kanye West – New Slaves
‘Y’all n***** can f*** with Ye
What you want a Bentley? Fur coat? A diamond chain?
All you blacks want all the same things’
Although Kanye is supposedly addressing the overused stereotype of all ‘blacks wanting the same thing’ the use of harshly aggressive and vile terms especially to someone that does understand the meaning, is surely encouraging their use?
‘F*** you and your Hampton house
I’ll f*** your Hampton spouse
Came on her Hampton blouse
And in her Hampton mouth’
This paragraph has spiked up particular debate within the media, as the line between freedom of expression and misogyny is said to have been greatly over stepped.
Reported racist assault, abuse and bullying have also been extremely high. The Telegraph found that there are over 40,000 racist incidents in Britain’s schools every year, and if also you keep in mind that a lot of bullying goes unreported to teachers or police, these statistics are STAGGERING.1
In some parts of the UK, 31% of people report that they have received some form of racial prejudice, and studies show that racism has INCREASED since the start of the millennium.2
Recent news of the France Charlie Hebdo shootings has raised absolute outrage. The company is known for being considerably extremist and racist, but the question people are unable to answer is where does freedom of speech end, and abuse (which often comes with consequences) begin?
I refer back to my initial point of some believing racism to be an epidemic of the past, but in my opinion it has become extremely understated, and there is nowhere near enough education and awareness around the issue. If there are 40,000 incidents of racism in Britain’s schools alone every year, then we need to start seeing it as a SERIOUS and CURRENT issue, one that should be addressed in the same way domestic abuse and violence is. Racism is abuse, and should NOT be accepted in any forms.
All of the blogs on From Our Eyes have been written by young people. They are about the kind of issues and problems teenagers face on a constant basis, as well as worldwide epidemics that not only youth, but EVERYONE experiences day to day.