Television Programing & Racism

Children’s television programing in the 90s always had diverse casts. Socially and ethnically, there were always characters from different backgrounds.  Hey Arnold, The Magic School Bus, Recess, Power Rangers. I thought racism was something that happened before 1985. I thought it was all cleared up now.
Integration and affirmative action was before my time, so I thought the ideas of equality were well-established by now. I thought that people had evolved, and knew better than to be so closed minded.  We tell children that bullying is bad, and we should be nice to everyone. We have twice elected a colored president. We tell people that bigoted thinking has no place in modern society.
College is also a special kind of diversity bubble. A college campus prides itself on a diverse student body. I’m a modern American girl. A 90s kid. I live in one of the largest & richest cities in the USA, which is home to every possible flavor of subculture, ethnicity, and minority group.
But because of these sheltering circumstances, I was blissfully unaware of modern racism until I was an adult.
When I was 23, I took a vacation to Louisiana.
On a riverboat casino, wearing a blue mini skirt, I suddenly found myself gathering a lot of attention. I turn to ask my then boyfriend, ”Do I look alright? Seems like people are staring.”
He turns, and nonchalantly mentions that ‘they don’t see a lot of people my color.’
My mind was blown -wholly crap, this is a race-moment.  It didn’t seem like anything to him, but this was one of the more defining moments of my life.
I might have followed up with, “But they know we exist, right? They see us on TV and stuff… am I safe here?”
Nothing happened, of course. But I started seeing racial related issues more-and-more after that.

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