Media Analysis: Do Not Pass

The challenges of transcending the race barrier still seem prominent. Although many Oregonians feel our homogenous culture has become a very progressive place for everyone, it’s hard not to notice some of the reminders that perception isn’t necessarily the “everyone’s equal” utopia. Yesterday being the anniversary of Malcolm X’s assassination and the emergence of this video circulating the internet, it was no surprise that this essay run in the New York Times grabbed my attention.

Highlighting racial tension, author TOURÉ discusses the choice specific individuals make when they decide to consciously change their race. TOURÉ talks about the pride he has in being black and the way it has shaped his perspective. He goes on to point out the negative outcome for people who do make the choice to make the jump. He references a number of narratives released by prominent authors over the last hundred years and points out the potential physical as well as psychological repercussions that occur with the change.

The article, when I initially read it, evoked feelings of encouraging the separation by creating boundaries between cultural moralities among races. The conclusion that TOURÉ makes is that he points out his conscious disassociation with the white culture as an example that we are different as races. This sociopolitical difference is something that embodies uniqueness rather than tension. He cites the example in his conclusion that white people are encouraged far less to change racially than black people, even though they find the black culture to be “exciting and dangerous and sexy.” TOURÉ’s belief is that this sociopolitical encouragement is a prime example of a ruling culture over a minority.

Regardless of reactions, TOURÉ proposes a fascinating example of an existing gap in a time when it would appear the racial gap is at its smallest.

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