Soon after the attacks on Paris, I received this question: "Dr. Nacoste, I have read/heard black students and professionals say that ‘I can't stand with France because there are issues impacting black students in America that people aren't talking about.’ Dr. Nacoste, help me unpack this..." Oh my...was only the beginning of my response.
Stereotypes allow us to “…keep it simple.” We are especially prone to using stereotypes in times of social change. Like now; we have gone from a segregated society to a neo-diverse society. And as we struggle with our anxieties about neo-diversity, too often we rely on illusory correlations, giving our children the impression you can use a name to identify a terrorist.
Nowadays, and too often, a joke is used to camouflage anti-group feelings (i.e. prejudice). But the camouflage is itself a neo-diversity problem. Camouflage, you see, does not eliminate the bigotry of the joke. Outward, behavioral (word or deed) expression of anti-group feelings is bigotry. No matter how it is dressed, bigotry is still bigotry.
Nowadays we are seeing advice articles that try to help us interact better in today's America. “Never say this to a gay person.” “Never say this to an interracial couple.” “Never say this…” Those kinds of advice articles are showing up all over the place. But what is going on that makes this kind of advice necessary? Here's why and ways to improve your social life.
Dylann Roof is not insane. Dylann Roof is not a lone wolf. Dylann Roof was not socially isolated. Although he had friends who gave him a place to stay, his so called friends did not really engage him in social interaction. Not insane, not a lone wolf, but Dylann Roof was social disconnected.
Taking the Confederate Battle Flag down from an honored position on the SCstate government grounds was important because a symbol of racial prejudice and bigotry was removed as a display of government support. Now when any citizen looks at the symbols of the SC government, there is nothing to suggest that one racial group is more important than another in that state.
We, as individual citizens of this nation, have been too passive in our encounters with language bigotry in our everyday lives. “It’s just a joke,” people say, and we take it as so. “Oh, they don’t really mean that; they’re just joking,” we say to ourselves and others to let it pass.
Now it has become ever more important for Americans to learn to accept and embrace our neo-diversity; the many different groups that make up our nation. Not tolerate, but accept and embrace America’s neo-diversity. I am forever flummoxed that people still think the solution to intergroup matters is tolerance. We just have to learn to be more tolerant. Really?