America’s Li’l Race Problem

Racial prejudice has a place in the minds and psyches of most white Americans.

Racism exists on the fringe.

In the minds of KKK descendents.

In the hearts of neo-nazis Stormfronters.

In the mouths of dumb Nascar fans.

All stereotypes, caricatures of our reality. A reality where racism is actually in America’s living room, all day, everyday.
In the mouths of CNN anchors who wish for a Katrina style hurricane that would clean up the streets of New York (read: kill black people). It’s within the ranks of the police who protect and serve the white order by beating and killing blacks with impunity. And then blame the mess on the injured, on those killed, even. Of course Bill O’Reilly and Neil Boortz are racists. No surprise there. But what about the so-called liberals and progressives like Steven Colbert who has to hire a black to portray part of the cast whenever he needs one for the nights laughs?
Racism is as American as apple pie. More. To even allude to such obviousness to white Americans will get you, at the very least, icey glares. While to black and brown people, not much could be more obvious? So what gives? Are black people crazy? Hispanics and other immigrants, delusional? Anti-racist activist and author Tim Wise points out in a backslapper of an essay,

What does it say about whites’ tenuous grip on mental health that in mid-August 1969, forty-four percent of whites told a Newsweek/Gallup Natonal Opinion Survey that blacks had a better chance than they did to get a good paying job-two times as many that said they (meaning blacks) would have a worse chance?

Non-whites everywhere that might stumble upon this, don’t be made to believe you’re crazy when whites say they don’t see the injustice you decry in this or that facet of American life, white folks have always been blind to the life’s reality’s when it comes to white privilege. Wise continues,

In other words, even when racism was, by virtualy all accounts (looking backward in time), institutionalized, white folks were convinced there was no real problem. Indeed, even forty years ago whites were more likely to believe blacks had better opportunities, than to believe the opposite (and obviously accurate) thing: namely, that whites were advantaged in every realm of American life.

Whites have been and continue to be in abject denial in regards to race in America. The topic just isn’t on the menu. And on the rare occassion that it is discussed, it must be on white terms. White terms meaning that a white or white sanctioned black, must control the discussion.

Question: Will it ever be possible to move forward in regards to race relations so long as white Americans live in a state of delusion as to our reality? I say yes. But it will not happen by employing the same tired approach of attempting to appease whites so that they will enter into discussion. That’s been tried and it doesn’t work. All humans serious about the work of creating a more just United States must engage in this important work with much honesty and much endurance. That goes double for white folks, who I find aren’t used to things not going their way and often don’t last long in conversational dynamics where the usual white line about how the world works, isn’t maintained.

The future isn’t shiny but there is hope. The hope is us.

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