February 10, 2017 - mh9868a
Commonplace 4: Aziz Ansari and Casual Racism
There’s like this new, lower-case K.K.K. movement that started — this kind of casual white supremacy. “Oh, let me put my foot in the pool and see how cold this water really is.”
-Aziz Ansari, SNL
Popular comedian Aziz Ansari delivered Saturday Night Live’s cold open the day after President Trump’s inauguration. In his speech he described what he called the “lowercase KKK” which he says is casual racism. Peter Scanlon, the chair of the Scanlon Foundation and founder of Racism. It Stops with Me, says that casual racism, “concerns not so much a belief in the superiority of races but negative prejudice or stereotypes concerning race.” It is interesting that Ansari choose to refer to casual racism with the KKK. Most people associate the KKK with extreme white supremacy. By calling casual racism the “lowercase KKK,” Ansari is asserting that casual racism can be just as destructive as extreme racism. Frequent slight racial comments in everyday conversation can add up quickly. These comments often have a damaging effect. According to Scanlon, “Like other forms of racism, casual racism can marginalise, denigrate or humiliate those who experience it. Harm can occur even if conduct isn’t motivated by hate or malice.” Therefore, people must watch what they say, even now that Trump is president. Just because casual racists are not going out wearing white hoods does not mean their racism is not an issue. Children grow up hearing a parent’s casual racist remark, which that child will remember and internalize those comments. Casual racists can affect everyone around them, and something must be done to stop it. To quote Aziz Ansari, “I think Trump should make a speech. A real speech denouncing the lower-case K.K.K. Don’t tweet about me being lame or the show. Write a speech. A real speech. Because these people are out there, and it’s pissing a lot of people off. And I think it could make a difference. Because other presidents have done things like this, and it has helped. Hate crimes and stuff that went down.” Trump addressing the problem head on could really help change the attitude of casual racists.