I ran across this incredibly horrifying and depressing video via Bossip. It features a young boy explaining certain “facts” about black folks, including why black people allegedly hate Father’s Day (because they have no fathers), what black people do when they’re drunk, and most bizarrely, that black people throw poop at each other.
The kid in the video above begins with a literal idea of what it means to be black -- mainly, that you are more difficult to see? -- which is troubling enough even before he gets to the more graphic racism. Years ago, I was in a mandatory “diversity training” at my old job, and to my abject horror, at one point the person running the seminar cheerfully asserted that black people prefer to wear bright colors so that they can be seen better. As if there weren't already a billion fucked up things about this as a vague concept, she then actually singled out a black woman in the room who happened to be wearing a vivid coral shirt, using her as an example, saying to her, “Right? We can SEE you!”
I left the room immediately and refused to go back, but I am ashamed to admit that owing to the tenuous status of my continued employment at the time, I did not formally complain about it, because I was afraid that doing so in a documented fashion would later be used against me.
I’m not proud of that. I should have spoken up, because unless we speak up, this crap continues to go on. Sometimes it goes on in spite of our speaking up, but it is the responsibility of right-thinking individuals to at least try.
When this kid uses a nearby box to demonstrate the extreeeeme blackness of black people, it’s not a childish mistake -- and this becomes apparent as the bored-sounding man and woman filming him (off-camera) egg him on to tell them more about the alleged exploits of black people. He asserts that black people "knife the police" and feel at home in the back of a cop car; he also notes, when prompted by a female voice to explain what happens when they go to jail, that they rape one another.
All of this is expressed with the quiet matter-of-fact certainty that kids treat all acquired information, which makes it all the more chilling. This is a child performing the lines fed him by the adults in his life, trying to please and amuse the people filming him, and that's both tragic and nauseating.
All kids are obviously not born with any sense of difference beyond the superficial; they learn to make assumptions based on what they’re told, on what they overhear, and on what they see in the media they consume. This kid is not a lost cause -- I don’t believe in lost causes -- nor is he a terrible human being. He’s a kid, just a dumb kid, and he is simply repeating what he’s learned from the people around him. For all the popular protestations that serious racism is a thing of the past, in the quiet seclusion of private homes nationwide, these conversations are still happening, and kids are still picking this stuff up -- thinking of it as true and normal -- and until that stops, overt racism may get quieter and harder to see, but it's not going anywhere.