Now, this is a story all about how Will Smith makes a very cogent point about actual racism vs. prejudice.
… see what I did there?
See, people are quick to cry “racism” over the tiniest little perceived slight, to the point where if you root for the Packers while Barack Obama cheers for the Bears, someone at MSNBC will consider you a member of the KKK.
Smith’s comments were part of a Hollywood Reporter roundtable:
WILL SMITH: My wife and I were just having this conversation, and we were going to the dictionary for “prejudices versus “racism.” Everybody is prejudiced. Everybody has their life experiences that make them prefer one thing over another, it makes them prefer blond hair over a brunette; if you see somebody with dark skin walking down the street, you have a different reaction than you have [with] someone who is 5-foot-1 and white. But there is a connotation with racism of superiority: You feel that your race generally is superior. And I have to say, I live with constant prejudice, but racism is actually rare someone who thinks their race is superior.
Wether you agree or not, he makes a rational argument that opens up an actual dialogue on an import issue.
I also happen to agree. I’ve talked about this on the program quite a bit, and wrote a column about it (Read Dear Mizzou: You’re The “Boys who Cried Racist”). I think anyone who’s had a grandparent has likely witnessed this. Particularly if your grandparents are French-Canadian.
I had a grandmother who worked with, was friends with, and who’s favorite niece was an adopted black child. She also had wildly inappropriate prejudices in her assumptions regarding black people. Now, they weren’t necessarily negative, simply assumptions she believed to be self-evident based on her upbringing. Every now and then she’d be corrected, would say something along the lines of “Oh, I guess I never knew that,” and light another cigarette. Oh, old people.
Anyone who’s ever dated someone from another race has probably experienced this too. I dated an Ethiopian girl for a while. Great girl, we still talk every now and then. I was young, and I remember that she was mildly offended when I didn’t know a whole lot about Ethiopian food. But then she also told me, that many Ethiopians assumed a whole lot about American cuisine which wasn’t inherently true.
Then we made out. Young love and all.
The point is, Will Smith is right. People are different, learning about each other is a process, and sometimes the breaking down of walls may be uncomfortable and/or politically incorrect. To conflate that with a Klan rally is to do a disservice to victims of actual racism.
We now return you to our regular programming of overly-privileged college students, and #BlackLivesMatter activists thinking that inconveniencing your Christmas shopping is going to make you listen to their issues.