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Racist, homophobic “phases” should not be normalized

Racist, homophobic “phases” should not be normalized

Racist, homophobic “phases” should not be normalized
July 02
14:00 2021

A common and recurring theme now is the normalization of past racist and/or homophobic actions. This statement sounds almost ridiculous considering the political and social climate we are currently living in with the Black Lives Matter movement gaining and sustaining traction, and the LGTBQ+ community finally getting the recognition they deserve.

Despite all this, there is still a relaxed attitude when it comes to those who have been exposed for being racist and/or homophobic in the past. Many people often dismiss it as a lack of maturity, while others excuse it because of the era in which the tweet, video, text message or picture surfaced from. No matter the reason, it accomplishes one thing: the blatant disregard for the feelings of BIPOC and members of the LGTBQ+ community. 

One of the first people who come to mind is Justin Bieber. Under his 2019 “Stand Against Racism” post, Bieber wrote, “When I was young I was uneducated and found myself saying really hurtful things not knowing the power of my words…” Though he doesn’t explicitly state what he is referring to, many assume it was the “Why are Black people afraid of chainsaws?” joke or a video that resurfaced of him remixing the lyrics of  “One Less Lonely Girl” to include the n-word when he was 15-years-old.

Bieber then followed the tone-deaf, yet incredibly popular approach and used keywords to put an emphasis on his age and therefore lack of maturity — a bandaid over a bullet wound. Acknowledging that his words held weight and that he was uneducated was not only the most obvious thing to say, it was also the bare minimum. 

People ate it up — they liked his post and accepted his apology on behalf of Black people. His platform was left practically untouched. Now, has Bieber changed? Well as far as the public is aware he does not use slurs anymore — again, bare minimum. But he still does his fair share of harming the Black community through cultural appropriation. So the question is, is he really that different? 

I do believe people are capable of change and the things you did in the past shouldn’t define you forever. People have the ability to grow and become better, but there has to be a different way of addressing past racist and/or homophobic actions. Using age as an excuse is insensitive and promotes normalization. These actions aren’t normal and should not be dismissed as mere inevitable phases.

It disregards the feelings of those harmed. It tells them that whatever offense they took to the tweet, video, picture or message was ultimately invalid because the person was young and knew no better. People should be held fully accountable and face whatever punishment those harmed see fit.

Featured Illustration by J. Robynn Aviles

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Briahna Henry

Briahna Henry

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