Systemic racism: Observing my own biases
July 16, 2016
I watched Crash last night, which is a 2005 film about the racialisation of people and the systemic prejudice that keeps everything silently spinning around white supremacy. Perhaps the most productive thing that the film achieved was that it made me aware of my own skin colour and biases. I found myself the most affected by the righteous policeman who, despite doing what he could to challenge the status quo, ended up killing an unarmed black man, who he offered a ride on a winter night. But why, why was I drawn to the "good" white male? Was he really that "good"? There were numerous other characters, who's life circumstances were equally painful, virtuous and unjust. Unjust? I do not think the white cop acted heroically by just treating people with a bare decency, and then found himself in an unjust position, but that was my initial reaction. The medium of film kind of dramatises things, makes things more emotional and obscures the truth. This movie is dangerous, because it is so "discrimination is everywhere, everyone is racist" that, if you don't think about it deeply, you will walk away thinking, "society is the problem, because we are marinated in fears of "the other", so everyone is fearful and therefore racism is an inevitable thing". But I don't think that is true... in all moments of discomfort and ignorance, there is an opportunity to challenge white supremacy and the systems that perpetuate it.... But why was I so readily empathetic towards the white guy?