I Don’t See Race Topic in Better Off Ted



It is very hard to have an extended conversation about race. Some ways we don’t talk about racism is through avoidance. Some of these topics include the “I Don’t See Race” topic exemplified from Better Off Ted, the avoidance topic of having a black friend, and the idea of why it is always about race. It is a problem to not talk about racism because it causes the majority or white people to not listen to the concerns of the minority.

For example, the first avoidance topic that exemplifies how people avoid talking about racism is the I don’t see race topic. A quote that shows this is “It is the opposite of racism because it is not targeting black people, it’s just ignoring them.” This quote from the TV show Better Off Ted shows us that white people will go back to the topic of the idea that they do not see race. This derails the meaningful conversation because it is kind of insulting to colored and black people to categorize people just as one and not to celebrate their differences and to not accept that their skin color is different, rather that they are ignoring the fact that there are different races in the world. This makes the conversation about racism harder to talk about since the philosophy of someone not seeing race which ignores black people completely. A way that white people may go by trying to talk about this topic is through cultural appropriation. Cultural appropriation is “a concept that gives individual ethnic groups a right to exist on their own terms within the larger society while retaining their unique cultural heritages.  It is an attempt at celebrating differences; however, when the dominant culture attempts derivatives these differences to express their own needs (socially, fiscally, etc…), it is an appropriation that denies the credit to the source.” However, this solution by white people is not the solution to the problem because people can still exploit minorities. In the case of Better Off Ted, the exploitation of black workers at Veridian Dynamics for better technology shows the ignorance that the majority has when given the opportunity which in turn shows that this is not the solution to this problem. These ideas relate back to the main point which states that white people will not listen to the minority and that whites avoid the concept all around. They avoid the topic altogether by saying that they do not see race which shows that they are not listening by ignoring the cultural differences by minorities. They also try to take cultural appropriation into the conversation which also ignores and exploits the ideas of blacks to almost nothing. An example of this is Veronica shooting down Lems ideas straight down when he tries to confront her about the monitoring systems even though she could have listened to him and possibly got his intake of things. This shows that it causes a difficult talk of racism because people will not listen to the ideas of blacks.

Furthermore, another way people avoid the topic of racism is saying that you have a black friend. A quote that exemplifies this avoidance topic is,  “The South interpreted it in different ways: the radicals received it as a complete surrender of the demand for civil and political equality; the conservatives, as a generously conceived working basis for mutual understanding.”  This quote tells us that there are very different mindsets to society and how people perceive them. Just because someone is friends with one person of a different race does not make them invulnerable from ideas from the rest of the community. It is like saying since a leader becomes friends with another leader, they instantly become friends with all the other leaders. This causes white folk to believe that they know more about the culture even though they have not even uncovered the majority of black culture. They feel more obligated to say and think for the minorities even though they are not a part of it and can not speak on everyone’s experience.  Therefore, this argument of someone having a black friend derails the conversation because everyone has different mindsets and that not everyone will think the same like the black friend they have. This idea directly correlates with the idea of One Way Assimilation. One Way Assimilation is when “a minority group or  culture feels compelled to resemble those of a dominant group.” This is not a solution to the problem of racism because it causes people to fail to celebrate their culture and to leave it alone rather than to express it and live by it. This goes along with the idea of “I have a black friend” because sometimes in society minorities feel compelled to resemble the white community by becoming more like them and therefore the white community will accept them into society. The ideas of this paragraph relate back to the idea that white people will not listen and that they will often avoid the conversation all together. The idea and white ignorance of “having a black friend” avoids the topic altogether and shows the little they know of black culture with their one friend sample size. This avoidance topic causes for white people to often ignore other blacks and to not listen to their ideas like some blacks did with WEB Dubois or Booker T. Washington. The white solution does not work because it does not listen or acknowledge black culture, rather that becoming one culture is better than the other.

In addition to, the third and final avoidance topic used in real life is the idea of why people keep bringing up racism. A quote that exemplifies this is, “In fact, racism is built right into every level of our society in ways that might surprise you.” This quote shows how racism is still around in everything which relates to the avoidance topic because when people ask that question of why people keep bringing up racism, it is because society literally is littered in institutionalized racism and that the whole purpose of this approach is to entirely ignore racism as a whole. This topic derails everything in the conversation about racism because it completely ignores the whole basis of racism. This total idea of blindness to modern day racism is like a blindness to global warming which both have issues, but some people avoid the concepts all together.  A way that white people have tried to come up with a solution for this is Ethnic Hierarchy. An ethnic hierarchy is “the ranking of different races/ethnic groups, based on physical and perceived characteristics that have been perpetuated through legal and political policy, providing unfair advantages for some races and/or hindering the advancement of others.” This is not a way to solve this problem. The Ethnic Hierarchy fails because it does not allow for the advancement of minorities. The solution relates to the avoidance topic because they both are not in the mindset to help bring change to these people and really only care about their development.  These topics relate back to the idea of why racism is hard to talk about with the idea that white folk just don't listen properly to the main topics presented to them by minorities. The whole idea of white fragilience is enough to show how much people do not listen in high context to other people. That their ideas will often be proofread for whites to fully understand. Ethnic Hierarchy fails when talking about racism because again people will hinder the acknowledgement of black persons ideals with their own which shows the correlation between these points and the main idea.

In conclusion, these all come to the conclusion of avoiding the topic because they all have some type of white input into the argument and it almost acts like an excuse to stop talking about the topic of racism. They hinder meaningful conversations by making sure that their point is the main point and not the other persons even though they are talking about that person’s race.  The one solution to actually start a meaningful conversation or discussion is to simply shut up and listen to each other. People will not get anywhere by giving excuses and lame solutions to a problem that is extremely complex and needs understanding.