Racism is Dead

What is Racism? The Census Negro category, Senator Harry Reid’s comments about Obama and Glenn Beck’s most recent statement that African-American is not a race – are NOT racism. So what is it? It boggles the mind really, and not because we can’t find a definition (or it doesn’t exist); but because it all depends on whom you ask. Even my selected definition may not jibe with what you believe. Maybe you mean prejudiced or a bigoted. There is a difference you know. But in the end does it matter?  You call me a racist (it happens) and now what? You might as well have called me a Gubardink for as much meaning as it has. I have no way of knowing what that means to YOU.

In the midst of a heated conversation where a charge of racism might be made, the only thing I know is that you intend to offend. For me it’s the same as calling me a nigger. I know you mean harm but I can’t do anything with it since it has nothing to do with me personally. It’s a non sequitur. The worst part is “racist” tagging is a conversation ender. It’s intended to put you in your place because really all you can do is deny (which makes you seem guilty) or ignore – which shuts down the conversation. Just like race baiting (i.e. playing the race card), calling a wise person a racist has become passé. It’s a shame because there ARE instances where use of the word is appropriate when defining a pattern of behavior or actions. However, all this random usage makes it nearly impossible to call it when it’s real. It’s a classic case of the boy who cried Racism and it has backfired – big time.

And what if I call YOU a racist and you stopped to ask what I mean? Not assuming my intention but literally asking what I meant to imply? Not EVERYTHING is racist / racism. People tell me my book title is racist. Huh? Maybe like text language this willy-nilly use of the word represents a general breakdown in communication skills; when all else fails cry racism. I don’t know. What I do know is that people have to be bold enough to stop their accuser in their tracks. Get some clarification. If not how can we ever hope to advance past rudimentary name calling to intelligent dialogue and productive relations? A cynical part of me thinks the overall goal is to NOT advance the conversation; things are just fine the way they are. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy per se, just a lazy way of thinking and relating to each other. And that is something we truly need to “get over”. 

4 Responses to “Racism is Dead”

  • Michael Wilson, Jr.:

    I agree that racist/racism/race baiting is overly used and at the same time. The dialogue has become elemtary, reactionary, and soooo typical from whites, people of color, democrats, liberals, conservatives, republicans and everybody in between. However, in spite of that, racism or racially charged incident do exist whether it’s the nonsense of … See MoreCharles Murray’s the Bell Curve in which he suggested that no matter what advantage you give African Americans they will always be behind because they’re genetically inferior, or the rhetoric of some ultra black nationalist, or the blog “A Brief For Whitey” by Pat Buchanan which was a racist rant in response to then candidate Obama March 2008 speech on race, those examples must be called out an not looked over as well as the subtle form of racism like what exist in our criminal justice system or as far as I”m concerned the rhetoric of people in the media like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, and Jesse Lee Peterson (in particular Peterson, an African Amercan who’s often racist towards African Amercans and yes, black folk can hate on other black folk worse than than some whites can). That must be called out.

    The bottom line is that the dialogue on race in general must be advanced uplifted. It’s to easy to call somebody racist or a race baiter. This game of people and political parties calling out race this this, race that falls on deaf ears especially when they have some racial dirt to clean out of their house. If we don’thave a serious dialogue instead of making accusations, all we’re doing is running around in circles.

  • Yeri:

    Racism is a disease that is very difficult to battle. In such a multicultural society, one would expect that we would all just get along. Unfortunately, the fact of the matter is that folks generally prefer familiarity to difference. Not all can have the open mind to learn and understand. I find what we tend to call racism is the fear and/or misunderstanding of what is culturally different in others. I would like to add that I am a black man born in the Dominican Republic and was raised in New York City. Growing up I was often called “Oreo” or “Carlton” and was often criticized and picked on by my Latino and Black peers for “acting white”. Ironically, I was more accepted by my white peers who I found to have more things in common with. I have not felt discriminated against by “the white man” but the people who my skin and birthplace link me to.

    I have been told by people of color that they experienced racism when traveling to Europe. During my 10 months in Europe I was treated appropriately for the culture and if anything I faced curiosity and questions. People seem genuinely interested to know what it was to be different which I found very interesting. I did find that there is tension between immigrants and natives in areas where not too long ago had a rather homogeneous population. This “clash” is what we have been facing here for generations… If it were not the Irish it were the Poles, if not the Poles it were the Italians, if not the Italians it the Asians and so on and so on. We all have faced it one time or another now it’s time to deal with.

  • Funny part is that the Republican party was formed to FREE the slaves (which the Democrats opposed). Martin Luther King was a Republican. And now they have their own ‘Coffee Party” full of children of the rich and people (of all colors) are ready to fall at their feet. By the way, do you know the difference between the Republican and Democrat parties? Republicans are rich greedy company owners who never worked a day in their lives and Democrats are the children of the rich greedy company owners that are still rebelling against their rich greedy Republican parents. And until Mommy and Daddy stop taking care of them, they will continue to do so. The worse part about it is, the hard working Americans are the ones stuck in the middle because somebody has to work so the money can keep rolling in. Oh, that’s right, Clinton (another poor little rich boy) sent all the good jobs overseas when he signed NAFTA so all the rich, greedy, company owners could pay kids 50 cents a day in sweat shops. (It’s legal over there)

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