Here’s a question:
How much would it take for you to give up your TV for the rest of your life?
Here’s another question:
How much should you be paid to continue to live the rest of your life as a black person?
According to a study in this month’s Harvard’s Du Bois Review, 958 whites of different ages and from different parts of the country were asked variations of the same question (without the multiple choice). When it came to watching TV, most of them said it would take about $1 million for them to be willing to give up their TV. The same group said that to live the rest of their lives as a black person, they would want about $10,000 on average.
When I saw these numbers, two things came to mind. First, while $10,000 is a significant amount, it is not a lot of money over a lifetime which shows that racism in the US, while it does exist, isn’t as bad (or at least perceived as bad) as many people might believe. Having lived in a foreign country for over 10 years where racism does exist and having experienced first hand in both overt and subtle ways on more occassions than anyone would want, I’ll never play down the effect that even small amounts of racism can have or would I ever wish anyone to ever have to experieince it. The study numbers gives me hope, however, race has very little affect when it comes to many Americans.
The second issue is a bit more disturbing. People not willing to part with their TV for less than $1 million goes to show that Americans are just plain lazy. That statistic is just plain insane. I would give up TV in a heartbeat for significantly less than a $1 million. It’s a shame that most white people wouldn’t (and my guess is that this is something would have very little to do with race) and probably is a good indication why we as a nation are becoming a bunch of overweight, lazy slobs…