Racism and white privilege are as American as cola.
Indeed, institutional racism has become so common that many white people don't even realize they may be producing, consuming or even exporting racist behaviors and ideas daily. Within the "post-racial" fantasy world, slavery and Jim Crow have been replaced by the more insidious, modern problems of racial profiling, the prison-industrial complex and even microaggressions.
With this in mind, a new video produced by the folks over at College Humor offers a satirical, yet spot-on, representation of clueless white racism through a carefully invented and mass-marketed product: a can of soda.
"Enjoy the refreshing taste of Diet Racism," the spot notes. "The same sweet ignorance of regular racism, but with none of the guilt or self-awareness."
The clip highlights just how many white attitudes, beliefs and behaviors perpetuate the racism that people believe that they've transcended. Such people thinks colorblindness brings everyone closer together, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth.
"It's the perfect beverage for the people who don't directly contribute to oppression, but have strong opinions about how people should handle it," the narrator intones.
Even though the vast majority of white people today aren't engaging in the exact same thinking that justified slave ownership, anti-black lynchings and government-enforced segregation, many refuse to acknowledge how their skin color has given them advantages in life — at the expense of equal opportunities and access for people of color.
The video is particularly effective in skewering casually racist attitudes such as, "Why isn't there a White Entertainment Network," or, "You know I'm not racist, but I'd never date Asians." The video also takes aim at the inaccurate assertion that affirmative action somehow gives people of color an unfair advantage for college admission, because whites don't remember "that black kids had to be escorted to school by the Army."
Sadly, the post-racial narrative of so-called colorblindness has become much more common among millennials, according to a 2014 study by MTV Networks. The findings, conducted as part of their "Look Different" campaign, revealed that 64% of young white people believe having a black president shows that there's equal opportunity for people of color. And only 39% of young white people believe white people have more opportunities than racial minority groups, compared with 65% of young people of color.
Image Credit: College Humor via YouTube
Unfortunately, there is still a glaring lack of consciousness about how racism has historically worked, thanks in part to inadequate educational discussion in American classrooms. But if people like those highlighted in the College Humor video thought about their racist behaviors as they thought about their beverage consumption habits, then maybe they'd stop ingesting racism.
Now, that would be refreshing.