Nicki Minaj’s feud with Taylor Swift over the nominations for Best Music Video of the Year makes me wonder whether there is room for everyone.
According to Minaj, who was not nominated, “If your video celebrates women with slim bodies, you will be nominated for Video of the Year… when the “other” girls drop a video that breaks records and impacts culture they get that nomination.”
In her subsequent tweets, Minaj presents her confusion over not being nominated for the award. In a reply to a follower, she says “I’m not always confident. Just tired. Black women influence pop culture so much but are rarely rewarded for it.”
Whether she was throwing “shade” or not, we can all admit that her comments resonate with other discussions of racial equality happening all over social media and news outlets right now. Are all races equal? Where do we go? Who is to blame? Who is responsible for fixing the problem? These are just some of the questions that people are attempting to answer.
There is room for everyone.
Racial differences, social tensions, and everything in between are topics of conversation. The debates about musical accolades, whether “All Lives Matter” or “Black Lives Matter,” controversy over the recent Supreme court decision on equal marriage rights, and the never-ending daily personal, relational, and career competition all make me wonder whether there truly is room for everyone.
Throughout history, humans decided to pursue what they thought was best for survival and success. Unfortunately, this repeatedly meant the exploitation of one group for another group’s gain. Our history is filled with competition, domination, conquest, class wars, enslavement, subjugation, racism, ethnocentrism, and sexism. The bad and good news: We create and perpetuate them which means we have the power to change them.
We are all responsible for these issues in our society. There was a time when equality was illegal, and that still exists today. Differences are despised and buried beneath the voice and power of the more influential, the more armed, or the majority. But, our history gives us valuable information about what NOT to do to create a more peaceful society.
We need to learn to love and embrace the commonalities among all humans and accept there is room for everyone.
Our hearts don’t have a limit on love. If someone of a particular race, group, or class has slighted you, please don’t assume that there is nothing left inside of you to love other people of that same group. You just have to be willing to do it. We all need each other to move society forward for the benefit of all humanity.
We need more of “your culture, identity, customs, and language are just as equal and cool as mine” and “you being on the same level doesn’t take anyway from my awesomeness.” What I have to offer this world is just as important as what you have to offer this world.
It is from these connections and encounters among ideas and cultures that we make great progress. Maybe viewing each other as human beings, becoming more empathic, embracing all races and racial identities, and actively supporting and promoting equality for everyone are the important steps we need to break down the walls of hatred and prejudice lurking in us all.
Creating room for everyone does not mean we should be “colorblind” to race and racial identity. Colorblindness means that you don’t see cultural differences which is the very beauty and power of humanity. We need to adopt color appreciation and advocacy. Appreciation is to actively notice the differences in others and to embrace them as equally beautiful. Advocacy is to actively support and champion the freedom of every group and the opportunity to achieve success without discrimination.
Everyone regardless of race should have the opportunity to attain any position and live out any dream they want within our society. The only way all these will ever happen is if we conclude that we all need every group to play an active and equal role in our society.
In my opinion, all lives matter, black lives matter, and [insert your group here] matters too. Straight hair is just as beautiful as curly hair. Big bodies are just as cool as smaller ones. One artist can be just as awesome as another artist. One religion has the right to believe what they want, just as another has the right to as well. Your career is just as important as mine. Your talent is just as unique and cool as mine.
I really want to know, do you think there is room for everyone?
Read Part II: There Room for Everyone: Success and Competition
Read Part III: There is Room for Everyone: Compromise and Chemistry in Relationships
2 thoughts on “There Is Room For Everyone: Racial Equality”
I just had a heated debate about this with coworkers. They posit that because black people are so disenfranchised by European society because of the transatlantic slave trade, that America should apologize and be paid reparations. Until that is done, the mental strain of racism on black people will continue, and no one understands other than another back person how that racism feels. I emphatically disagree because being Chinese in America, I have felt and experienced racism since I was in grade school. At least back people re still viewed as American.
Racism is prejudice due to one’s race. We all have different degrees of racism in us. We are all racist in the slightest of ways even if do not want to be. We all have certain prejudices, good or bad, of different races. It doesnt matter if what your prejudice is feels like a superior versus an inferior status to you. No one wants to be stuck in a box. The different degrees of racism are thinking/believing them, saying them, and acting on them. I told my students that I will say a word and they will automatically come up with an imge. I wanted them to note the image and how they felt. The word was “Arab.” One of my students automatically cringed and then felt really apologetic. “I don’t want to be a racist,” she said, “but I get your point.” Until we all understand that it is within us all, and admit it, the conversation is at a stand still because it will always refer to my group versus your group.
As you said, throughout history of every government, every culture, every race, there has been a struggle for power, and people lose when others gain. Playing the who-has-had-it-worse game gets us nowhere. Hatred due to misplaced pride gets us nowhere. Acknowledging the past (from the down and dirty to the inspirational), learning the valuable lessons from our histories to move forward, motivating ourselves to succeed, and finally giving back and motivating others to succeed despite our histories and weaknesses is what will move society forward. It starts with one (yourself). No school, water cooler conversation, kitchen table discussion, networking group, etc. can teach you the information and critically thinking to move on. Do your own due dilligence. It’s easy to find the down and dirty stories, but it’s better for you and your soul to dig up the inspirational ones. Get over the hate. Take on the challenge and place pride in wht you have earned, not just because some group at some point targeted your group, systematically or not.
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You bring up a very good point about the degree of racism that lies in all of us. We do carry certain prejudices, and the challenge is to not allow those prejudices to turn into negative actions and attitudes that divide us all. I am not sure the reparations will ever occur, and to be honest I am not positive that it will change anything much. Money and opportunity can change status but it cannot change someone’s attitude toward one group or another. As you said, the change really begins within ALL of us– the “ingroups” and the “outgroups” alike. We need to make internal changes and have more understanding of different groups represented around the world. Thank you for your thoughts!
Please continuing sharing this article and encouraging conversation about race and racial identity.