It’s a question of how society views racial minorities (and even women).
Let’s take a look at history. It’s been relatively recent in history that the Civil Rights Movement took place. When African Americans were given rights to own land, live where they want, look for work where they want and to even vote. During the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s, there was even a decent amount of representation regarding people of colour on television. Movies was a bit different (but that’s something which has been this way for some time and even today).
It seems now that we’re dealing with an extremely higher degree of racism today than we were 30 years ago. Or are we? Are we just living in a world where social media allows us to see these things at break neck speed? I’m not so sure about that, but we are given a closer glimpse into people’s lives and their attitudes with regard to race. During the 80’s if you said something horribly racist it was often said among close friends in the privacy of your own home. But today, those feelings can be addressed online without a second thought (and often is the case where those who say things like that don’t stop and think about the consequences). All too often, those who say these incredibly racist things will back out of it with equal speed, either deleting a tweet (and failing to remember that the internet is forever) or claiming their twitter account or facebook feed was hacked (I’m sure that there have been legitimate hacks, but that excuse has been used once too often by a lot of different people on a wide range of subjects).
So the question becomes, are we more racist now than we were during the 70’s and 80’s, or is it that we just see these things more thanks to social media? It’s apparent after 9-11 the number of racist attacks (both verbal and physical) against followers of Islam increased. And that spike hit again when American Sniper came out, gaining some twisted Jaws Effect (the Jaws Effect was so named for the movie Jaws in 1975, before the movie sharks were not seen as a problem but after the movie shark hunts began and in many cases to the point of near extinction). Are we just seeing what’s been there all along thanks to social media? Is it merely nothing new or are we dealing with an increase of racism the likes of which we haven’t seen in decades?
One thing I do know, we are getting this news faster and more accurately thanks to social media. Twitter, tumblr and facebook were the first places I heard of the execution of three young Muslim Americans. It’s obvious it was a hate crime and not a parking dispute. I find it extreme why someone would use a gun in a parking dispute (which there alone should indicate how much of a psychotic Hicks was). Even worse is the number of media outlets lining up to say that yes indeed it was a parking dispute, adding only more fuel to the fire that America doesn’t want to be seen as a hate filled nation.
But the rest of the world is watching, and from where I, and a lot of others stand, it is pretty hate filled.