CW: This article discusses topics of mental illness and suicide which could be distressing to some readers.
Has history ever accurately and authentically depicted events? That whole question is a debate in itself. Do we not fully understand what is happening right in front of us, or are we blind to it? If so, what is the reason for this? Does it have anything to do with history, or is it a result of a lack of care on our part?
If we can focus on these problems at hand even if it is only just for a few minutes. The positive effect it could have not only on us but on so many others in the world who may feel voiceless. We could all be the impact that we all are yearning to see.
What Even is Critical Race Theory?
Critical Race Theory (CRT) is something that is often used but misused and misunderstood. Originally coined over 40 years ago, the term once was ambiguous but now is frequently used in US courts of law as a means of educating children about race relations in the country. Currently, it is a universal theory that is used all over the world - particularly in the UK.
Critical Race Theory is simply an academic concept that says that the whole idea of race is a social construct. It isn't something that is nurtured through individual bias or prejudice but rather is deeply rooted in our legal systems and policies.
It is even argued that as people become more familiar with CRT in daily life, the intolerance of CRT becomes more normalised. This normalisation inherently leads to possible negative consequences.
"Use of race-neutral language effectively masks white privilege while policies and practices seeking to redress the structural and historical dimensions of racial inequalities are stigmatized as providing unfair advantages for people of color in the marketplace."
Since the murder of George Floyd in 2020, CRT has become much more popular in the American consciousness. There was major controversy surrounding the killing of an innocent black man by a white police officer - however, I am pretty sure that most of you are aware of what followed. In terms of CRT, both individuals and institutions grappled with how racism continues to haunt us despite the fact that no blatantly racist segregation policies from the civil rights era remain.
Is it Appreciation or Appropriation
Cultural appropriation is a topic that is heavily debated across all internet platforms. What constitutes appropriation or appreciation? The line between the two is so blurred that it often boils down to the individual's own beliefs about what they consider culture appropriation to be. To examine cultural appropriation objectively, we must first fully comprehend what it involves.
Cultural appropriation can be defined as the use of a culture's symbols, artefacts, genres, rituals, or technologies by members of another culture. However, it goes deeper than just this! The act of cultural appropriation can be placed into 4 categories with them being:
Cultural appropriation runs deeper than the average person thinks. Take this, for example, the 2018 Qipao Appropriation Enigma is still happening even after the Caucasian girl was slandered across the internet for wearing a Qipao to her school prom. Her lack of intention to look into Chinese history played a detrimental factor in the way the media and those of Chinese descent treated her.
If people were taught about the effects and consequences of cultural appropriation on the ethnic group from which it was taken, perhaps the level of occurrence would decrease. If the individual was able to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the historical, cultural, and possibly even religious elements that it contains. In some cases, people may begin to perceive these appropriators as appreciators if they simply gave credit to the original source.
We would see more willingness and openness to share cultural and racial items and attributes if we stopped viewing them as a trend.
Histories Depiction of Race: Is it Fact or Fake?
If you have ever considered this question, you may have already formed your opinion and answer to it. So my intention is not to change that but try and enlighten you about the different events that have happened throughout the year to result in what we now know in today's society as being race.
An act that was established in the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act implored harsher penalties for those possessing crack cocaine than powder cocaine. Funnily enough, Black Americans are more likely to possess crack cocaine whilst white people are the latter. Four years after the implementation of this legislation, the average federal drug sentences were 49% higher than white offenders. Objectively speaking, it is like the system pushes for the image that ethnic minorities are villanized more than the stereotypical average white individual.
The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry was intended to be one of the most objective and accurate reports on the events that occurred to Stephen. However, as we now know, some of the evidence was fabricated to protect and victimise the perpetrators whilst villainizing the actual victim. You could argue that there could be a thousand reasons why this may have happened. Maybe Stephen was the antagonist? But the moral of the story is that the institution works in such a profound way to harm ethnic minorities but aims to keep white people reputable.
A few examples (both contemporary and historical) have been linked below to give you some further reading in case you are interested in this topic.
Historical Examples - African American Progression
Live as One
We are all aware that society is structured in a way that benefits some while restricting others, but all we can do is work together to overcome these challenges. History may not be the complete truth, but it is all we have. We must create our new reality, and the best way to do so is to strive for harmony. This concept may make you sigh because it is a little idealistic. Regardless, we can all try and give it our best shot, right?
We are all existing and we are all people. Some may need more guidance than others and others not so much. But the simple point is that we all have room to learn and grow. We should not solely rely on laws and legislation to tell us what is considered culturally or racially offensive! Rather we should seek the answers to these questions ourselves.
Learning about others, rather than just those who look like us, and sharing our cultures with one another would be the next step toward a world in which we can all coexist happily. And a much-needed step in the right direction!