All of us have our own pre-conceived notions of what defines racism. These pre-conceived notions typically are based on our own ethnicity and how our worldview has been shaped by our parents, external forces and our own slowly developing views of the world — our personal viewpoints. The facts stand however, that regardless of the color of your skin, making threats to another person based on the color of their skin is racism.
This is the case with Columbia University football player Chad Washington, whose name has been in the media over the past 24 hours. The 19 year-old sophomore lineman — who happens to be African-American — has been charged with a hate crime for allegedly following an Asian male from his dorm room, grabbing him from behind and threatening him with racial slurs and violence.
As expected, Washington’s attorneys have argued that this is not the full picture of events, and we’ll reserve any judgement along those lines accordingly, but the act in-and-of itself on a campus which is widely regarded as one of the top academic institutions in the country is plenty of cause for concern in its own right.
All I’m suggesting is that racism is racism regardless of the color of your skin — white, black, or polka dotted.
It’s the actions that must be addressed regardless of an individual’s color before we can ever get to the point where people co-exist peacefully — even on a well-respected campus full of testosterone-driven 19-22 year old males — a place where getting along is perhaps a little more murky of a notion than it seems on the surface.
Racism knows no color — it just is.