Equal Treatment

When did the demand for equal treatment for the black community become a demand for undeserved handouts for black people? Time and time again I have witnessed the automatic rejection of any call for a semblance of equal opportunity for blacks dismissed as little more than black people wanting a handout or special treatment. Make a statement that companies are woefully lacking in diversity and people who want to protect white privilege roll their eyes with mock exaggeration and recite stereotypical rhetoric refusing to give the subject any serious consideration. Therefore, it can only be concluded that the dominant culture feels that the equal treatment of black people would be giving the black community treatment that is not deserved. The only treatment black people deserve is subjugation. This type of thinking is in and of itself is racially discriminatory and should be a concern for everyone, black and white.

Many people on both sides of the racial fence argue that black people do not deserve equal status or the benefit of doubt because, overwhelmingly, for whatever reason we may wish to give collectively or individually, circumstances prove that obviously black people are more likely not as qualified as their obviously white counterparts. Although I vehemently disagree with this assumption, whether or not it is justifiable is not even remotely the issue here. The question at this time is what consideration does the black individual who has earned his or her degree, who has taken the steps necessary to garner experience, who has made the sacrifices in their life for long term goals instead of immediate gratification, who has the raw natural talent, and/or who has jumped through all the hoops necessary to prove that they are more than capable for an opportunity, deserve?

A large portion of our culture is quite comfortable dismissing the supremely qualified black candidate as nothing more than one of the stereotypical woefully prepared candidates that we as a society have come to believe to be the only product of the black community. Our only evidence for our supposition will be the color of their skin. When we as a collective see the black candidate in line for an opportunity all too often they are dismissed without so much as a glance at his or her real qualifications. The dismissal of the black candidate is justified by the overwhelming statistics pulled out of someone’s ass that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt for many people that, generally speaking, black people are in many ways inferior to white people with respect to ethics, criminal behavior, intelligence, loyalty, perseverance, and any other way a comparison can be made. Many people don’t have a problem with this form of racial exclusion. But how fair is this exclusion to the black candidate who does have the personal strength to be more than what stereotypes say is the dominant culture’s definition of black people?

Even if people believed all the stereotypes they cannot believe it holds true for every single black person that exists. People who think black people are generally inferior to white people will suggest that black people be more like some black person who has transcended their expectations of black people. People will display this type of thinking with such less than helpful comments like black people should be more like some wildly successful black skinned American icon that somebody took a chance on and gave them an opportunity to demonstrate their abilities. As blessed as Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan are these days they didn’t get to where they are by themselves. They had the good fortune to have someone give them an opportunity to do a job that they were obviously qualified to do. It would have been very easy for someone to just dismiss these and the other famous black icons as little more than typical black people based on the color of their skin. But somebody wanted to look past that single characteristic for some reason or another.

The real issue here is are we as a society comfortable with the fact that we allow the black people who do meet the standards for opportunities to be dismissed and minimized because of race fueled prejudices? Some of us say black people need to go to school. I would have to agree. But what happens when the black person who has been to school applies for a job and is dismissed because somebody thinks black people are uneducated and they need to go to school? What happens when the black person with years of experience under their belt applies for a job and is dismissed because of the assumption that as a whole, black people don’t have as much experience as white people?

Even if all the racial stereotypes about black people were true doesn’t the person applying for the job deserve the same exact consideration as any other person? Even if it was a matter of fact that black people are generally inferior what if the black candidate right before you was the exception? Nobody would know unless that person is given a chance. It’s not the racist stereotypes that are the problem. It is the fact that so many people, black and white, are willing to base their decisions on those stereotypes without giving the black candidate a fair chance to prove the stereotype doesn’t apply here. In this were the case, black people will compete fairly and prevail accordingly. But when we tolerate the dismissal of the black person before he or she is given a chance to prove that the racial stereotypes are falsely applied we allow artificial restrictions to keep our black population from competing fairly.

Racially biased stereotypes are not the problem. People’s willingness to make decisions based on nothing more than racially biased stereotypes is what keeps the black community from competing fairly. Allowing black people to compete fairly is not a handout. It is only fair.