The Irony of Living in a Post-Racial America

It seems as though in recent years, race has become a hot topic in our American society. There are some people who believe that race can play a big factor in the success and the treatment of an individual, and there are others who believe that race doesn’t play a factor in an individual’s life. There is a notion that we live in a post-racial society here in the United States. A post-racial society is one in which there is the notion that we as a society have entered a time where race doesn’t create obstacles or barriers for people of color. Individuals who believe in the notion of post-raciality attribute inequality to various factors, such as economics or not having a quality education.

If our American society was in fact post-racial, the movement #BlackLivesMatter, would not have as much controversy or relevance surrounding it. The movement, focuses on justice and freedom for black lives. I recall that when the movement was starting to get national attention, there was a counter to the movement with the hashtag #AllLivesMatter. If all lives actually mattered in post-racial America, there would not be a need for the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The murder of Trayvon Martin was the call for action for the movement. The amount of media coverage for the murder and the trial seemed to showcase the idea that the United States is in fact, not a post-racial society. The deaths of other black folk, and the media coverage of the deaths, also seem to point to the idea that the society that we live in is definitely not post-racial.

There is a certain amount of privilege individuals have in assuming that the United States is a post-racial society. Privilege is defined as a special advantage, immunity, permission, right or belief granted to or enjoyed by an individual, class or caste. When discussing the topic #BlackLivesMatter in the United States, it is apparent that individuals who phenotypically identify as white have the privilege of already knowing that their lives matter, whereas Black or African Americans individuals are still trying to persuade America that their lives matter just as much. Typically, individuals who have privilege don’t know that they have that privilege, which is why said privilege often gets overlooked.

The belief that we live in a post-racial America is a surprising belief when one thinks of movements such as #BlackLivesMatter. All lives matter, and every life matters. We must realize that privilege exists, and recognize the impact that privilege has on certain lives. Once our society realizes and accepts that, we can potentially move forward in the hope of actually living in a post-racial America.

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