In the musical “Avenue Q” there is a song that says, “everyone’s a little bit racist.”

I agree. And I don’t think racism–to a point–is bad. We all make judgment decisions based on how other people look, whether it’s the skin color or their clothing. It’s natural for people to see, judge, and accept or deny that other based on this perception.

Obviously we cannot change the color of our skin (Michael Jackson aside), so it seems unreasonable and wrong to judge someone based on skin color. But it’s a natural part of being human to perceive these things. Obviously a lot (if not all) of the judgments are socially based, but we are social creatures. As a society we strive for homogeneity and if you look different then we will judge as such. If we didn’t have different races, we would segregate by some other means. There will always be lines drawn in the sand.

I’m not saying that stopping someone from getting a job, murdering someone, or even saying derogatory things is okay. It’s not. THINKING racist-ly and ACTING racist-ly are two very different things. If you don’t like someone, whether it’s for good reason or not, you can most likely avoid that person (or that group of people) if you try really hard. You should not take YOUR issues out on them.

My purpose for this (possibly offensive) rant is that just because you are racist doesn’t mean you need to overcompensate. Treat everyone equally and it’s fine. I feel like society is so terrified of being racist that they overcompensate, putting some groups above others.

What started this? I was editing a press release for work about prejudice and minorities. First off, the whole slant of the article was very negative to whites, making it sound like ONLY whites are prejudice (well, I guess we’re the only ones that can be prejudice since we’re dominant..or something like that). I’m not sure if they were trying to be offensive or they just came across that way.

Second, and I deal with this a fair amount in press releases and articles, the terminology is inconsistent. I think one of my biggest pet peeves is use of the phrase “African American,” which is grammatically and ethnically wrong, in most instances. Just because someone is black and living in America, does not mean they are African American. Many other locales have people with dark (or “black”) skin. Jamaica comes to mind. And Haiti. I suck at geography, but I think you get my drift. Perhaps they all originally came from Africa, but you could argue, everyone else did too.

But many people use “African American” and “Caucasian” (which is even worse than African American) in order not to be offensive, while being equally offensive! (Caucasians are those people from the Caucus islands, in case you were wondering.)

This particular press release did not use “African Americans” and instead went with “Blacks” which is the best alternative. But then they did something which caused this rant: They used “Blacks” and “whites.” I can understand capitalizing “blacks” because it’s a racial group and it could make sense to capitalize it. But to capitalize “black” and not “white” is kind of odd. If you’re doing one, why not the other? What makes the use of the word “black” to indicate a racial group different from the use of the word “white” to indicate a racial group?

And that’s what irritates me. Trying to be unoffensive to one group and then being offensive to another. Just admit that you JUDGE people and move on with your life. After all, we’re all individual snowflakes.

And that means we’re all still snow.

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