A university student writing for thecollegefix.com, recently noted that he had attended an online debate during which automatic soap dispensers were cited as proof of systemic racism. One student claimed that the egregious cleanser-dispensing implements are racist because they force “black and brown bodies” to show their palms if they want to get soap. See the inherent racism? The student did, noting that Black and brown people’s palms are “the only light areas” of their skin. Coincidence or diabolical plot? Another young scholar took a different, nearly opposite, tack to arrive at the same conclusion. She claimed that the dispensers “don’t see her hands” due to the darker pigment of her skin.
Incredibly, the writer says that the majority of the more than 80 U.C.L.A. students virtually attending the discussion shared similar views about the marginalizing nature of automatic soap dispensers. The author further noted that the dispensers are actually triggered by an infrared light sensor, and that infrared light is emitted by all people, irrespective of color.
Arguably even crazier claims were put forth during the dialog, ranging from “White people fed Black babies to crocodiles,” to “I had a racist teacher who was racist because she asked me where I was from.” Talk about your conspiracy theories!
One has to laugh when hearing preposterous statements such as these, but it is terribly sad in the end. When an entire generation is urged to see systemic racism and white supremacy everywhere, that generation is condemned to a bitter, sad life of no great achievement. If you’re a person of color, why put out great effort if you can’t possibly succeed because the cards are stacked against you? If you’re not, you’re told that everything you have and anything you accomplish is entirely due to your “privilege,” whatever your actual circumstances. So, why pile on the guilt and self-loathing by continuing to strive and succeed?
On the one hand we punish success, while, on the other, we tell certain groups that nothing is their fault, they are not accountable in any way, that every negative outcome is solely the result of a society structured to benefit the white male Christian patriarchy. As Paul Harvey might have said, the results of such actions are too obvious to require elaboration. Or should be.