The comments I received were insightful. It's hard to argue against the fact that differences exist between races, no matter how inconsequential or small. However, I do believe problems can occur if we assume those overall racial differences apply to everyone within that racial group.
As an example, I might say that those pursuing an English Major are mostly female, while those pursuing an Engineering Major are mostly male. It's easy to make the blanket statement that 'all English Majors are women,' or 'all Engineering majors are men,' but in most instances, that is not the case.
Now, obviously, if I told you I was an English major, you wouldn't automatically think me a woman. However, such things become more difficult when it comes to race.
We discussed in Tuesday's post about how studies show that, on average, black men can jump higher than white men. Regardless, I think it would be inappropriate to assume or make comment about this apparent racial discrepancy without any prior knowledge about the individual's abilities.
For example, if I was playing pick-up basketball, and I picked the token black guy because 'he jumps higher than the rest of us,' that would be wrong. I would be assuming something about someone. His race may produce better jumpers than everyone else, but that doesn't mean this pick-up basketballer is himself an example of that.
In that sense, we can say that our man should not immediately be placed under a blanket statement because of his race.
We may be able to acknowledge statistics as they are--that is, mere statistics--but we can't ever put individuals under the blanket of a statement. That goes for race, religion, gender, anything that classifies someone as a mere part of a group. When we throw people under the same blanket, we risk tearing away their individuality and what makes them them, as opposed to acknowledging them as a unique person in their own right.
So, sure. Maybe [American Minority] are better than [American white people] at [task], but that doesn't mean you should assume as such. Maybe your [American minority] [coworker/friend/relative] isn't actually good at [task] and wants to be known for being good at something else. Who knows?
Either way, get to know them as a person before casting judgments based on the group(s) to which they belong.
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