4 Groups Of People Who Get Ignored In Discussions About Racism

It’s hard to imagine a time when race no longer plays a significant role in society. Regardless of your personal views on the subject, it’s impossible to deny that many people still care a great deal about racism. Given its emotionally charged past, you have to walk on eggshells when talking about race otherwise you’ll invite the wrath of a very angry and opinionated group of people.

That kind of environment makes it all but impossible to speak candidly on the subject, for fear of kicking in a hornet’s nest. Accusations of privilege, myopia, arrogance, prejudice, and all sorts of other ten dollar words will come a-buzzin’ you if you’re not careful. The end result is that many worthwhile discussions fall through the cracks.

Because talking about racism is such a delicate matter, there are groups of people who are impacted by it who are routinely ignored in the media and everyday conversation. Here’s a list of 4 people who are commonly forgotten or deliberately ignored when the discussion turns towards racism.
image - iStockPhoto / mbrowe
image – iStockPhoto / mbrowe

1. The poor/working class white

Members of this group can be found everywhere, but they tend to concentrate in Appalachia and the southeast. They don’t have a college degree. There’s a high chance that they dropped out in high school. Many of them weren’t raised in a two parent household. And boy do they love heroin and methamphetamines. Although a few of them do end up escaping the trailer park they grew up in, the vast majority of them don’t have anything they can hang their hat on.

Jobs are hard to come by and the ones who have a job don’t exactly feel lucky that they have them. They are either stuck in menial labor or bounce around in retail for most of their adult life. And the last thing they want to do is hear about white privilege, because they sure as hell don’t feel privileged working in a dark and dirty coal mine for 13 dollars an hour.

2. Asians who suck at math

Contrary to popular belief, not all Asians are good at math. There are plenty of Asians who aren’t very good students. You won’t find them at the top of their class, enrolled in as many AP classes as humanly possible, or practicing two hours a day at piano or violin. These Asians were most likely raised by permissive second generation Asian Americans who tried so hard not to be as strict and fastidious as their first generation parents that they erred too far in the opposite direction.

The result? They have to settle for crappy community colleges and third tier state schools despite the fact that they have grades considered average for the top or second tier state schools. Since they have Asian last names, they’re competing against the over achieving Asians who perpetuate the stereotype that all Asians are successful, driven, intelligent, and hardworking, and good at math. They don’t get to compete in the general population pool. And the last thing they want to hear about is race based preferences for college admissions.

3. Blacks who go to elite private schools

Born in a stable, upper middle class family with two hardworking, intelligent parents who have professional careers, people in this group were raised with all of the privilege and expectations that come with being part of the American upper middle class. They grew up in a prosperous, all-black neighborhood that is segregated from both whites and poor blacks and were sent to some of the best private schools in the state.

Depending on how driven the person was in school, they either pulled above average grades or were just as overachieving as those overachieving Asians. The latter get to write their ticket to any university in America. The former can still most likely get into at least one Ivy League school, or they can just get a full ride at the best state school. Because the hottest commodity in the college admissions market is the black student with good grades.

Many members in this group struggle with racial identity, since they are very likely to have a lot of non-black friends throughout college and in the real world. They could also suffer from impostor syndrome, because inevitably, there will be that one douchebag of a white guy who told them that the only reason they got into Princeton is because they were black.

4. Brown, male Asians

These guys have it worse than the East Asians. Not only do they get lumped into the “Asian” category when they fill out their college applications, but they also get lumped into the “terrorist” category when people see them out in public. If they go to an airport, they inevitably get “randomly” selected for additional screening.

Although it’s highly likely that they have educated, professional parents, they have to deal with the unique disadvantage of being the truly permanent foreigner. East Asians are rapidly becoming “white” in the eyes of mainstream society, but post 9/11 America has not been kind to brown skinned Asians. They get coming and going from both blacks and whites. And other Asians simply don’t give a fuck. It really doesn’t help that their parents’ accents are so distinctive and hilarious to mock to the average American. TC mark

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