Week 5 Reflection Post

Of this week’s lectures and readings, I found Bill O’Reilly’s comment on Joe Sixpack and the concept of a lack of race to be particularly intriguing. As Marc Lamont Hill put it, Bill O’Reilly “might be the only person in the galaxy who is able to imagine a raceless human being.” I agree with that statement simply because race has been the cause of so much struggle and hatred throughout history, and certainly throughout the history of America. It’s not something we can ignore, and I think Bill O’Reilly is trying too hard here to present himself as a non-racist. Acknowledging race doesn’t make a person racist; a person’s actions toward the race he or she is acknowledging will determine that.

Dr. Peterson gets into the idea of racial colorblindness, and he makes an interesting point. He says that colorblindness is actually a way to not talk about race, because it, “…reduces racial inequality to matters of individual prejudice, pushing historical and social realities out of the picture.” This is important. Many people today still struggle with racial inequalities because those ideas of racism exist in our society as a result of things that occurred in our past. It’s an injustice to those people to claim that we don’t see race and boil it down to personal prejudice. We all know that every single person in the United States sees race and it’s almost a cowardly act to pretend otherwise. These are big issues and we need to be able to talk about them.

I think that the study Jay MacLeod did shows this idea in the reverse. He found that black youths had more trouble with their employers, even though they typically tried harder to follow rules. However, MacLeod says they, “explicitly discount racism,” and instead believe they are making mistakes. I don’t think this is fair either. They’re taking on somebody else’s prejudice as something they’ve done wrong, when it’s obvious that our society struggles with racism and that is probably the real reason they’re facing more struggles in the workplace. They shouldn’t have to work harder to prove themselves as good employees; we should be able to do something to counteract this racism and make moves toward improving our society’s views on race.

One thought on “Week 5 Reflection Post

  1. I agree with you r observation that seeing race doesn’t make you a racist. Acknowledging the impact that past and present prejudice has is important to understanding how to stop perpetuating it. Colorblindness doesn’t help our society to own the issue and make an effort to correct the situation. As for the MacLeod study, I had an experience at work recently that seemed to fit this issue. A coworker who supervises employees came to me for advice about two employees who were not performing well. She indicated that she was considering not asking them to return the next semester work. Not firing them but letting them go. She was concerned with how it would appear because the two workers happened to be minority members. I asked why she felt they weren’t working out and told me that they had both had numerous incidences of tardiness or other work rule violations. I asked her if there were others with similar records that she chose not to let go, and she said no. I also asked if she had reason to believe that they were being written up more than others who had broken the same rules, and she said no. Her work force is relatively diverse and these two employees had been coached on how to improve their performance and simply chose not to abide by the rules. We talked about the situation and it seemed appropriate to let them go. I was impressed that she had the sense to have someone else double check her to make sure she wasn’t judging these employees unfairly.

Leave a Reply