Racism Today (Post 2)


the American Flag Waving in the Breeze Clipart IllustrationLast night a friend of mine told me that there was a confrontation at her place of work yesterday during the Presidential Inauguration. The confrontation which ended with a worker going home and the initiator being told off in classic “aww hell naw fashion” was sparked by one white man’s decision to speak his mind.

The comment that sparked this vicious lashing of words was made after Barack Obama was sworn in as the 44th President of the United States of America. The comment was as follows

“Black people should be glad for this day, because it will never happen again.”

Now I am pretty sure that this older white gentleman was not the only Caucasian having these kinds of thoughts along with other venomous ones concerning black people and Barack Obama, this man was just bold enough to allow the words to escape from his mouth. Obviously he’d had enough of the Obamanism.

I am pretty sure that being that he was bold enough to say that in the company of black people, he definitely would have said more had he not picked the wrong day and the wrong group of proud, black people who just wanted to relic in the joy of their new president.

Recently someone (a black someone) told me that we are about to see a whole new side of white people. We are about to hear things that we knew they thought, but never felt the need to speak. We as black people are about to see how they really feel about African Americans, even the nice suit and tie ones that brown nose them. Even the ones who they play golf with and crack jokes with…even the ones they call friends.

Now before I began writing this post I tried to think things through to try and avoid offending some of my blog readers who are in interracial relationships or who are truly engulfed in the one love one peace one world (you get the idea) type of thinking. But honestly even being cautious I can’t tiptoe too much over the fact that not all white people like black people and honestly some of them wish we would go back to Africa. Just recently someone posted this listing demanding African Americans to head on back to Africa. Now here is my big thing with white people who wish that black people would get back on the ship and set sail to the Motherland. Was it not the Caucasians that brought us here? Did our ancestors just decide one day “Aww hell let’s just go on to America where we can be slaves and be treated less than human” Did our African ancestors willingly come to America to suffer? No, so why now insist that black people go back home when our ancestors had no choice in coming.

Cautious or not,  it is hard to overlook the fact that even with Barack Obama being the 44th President that a biracial person can be told something like this

“You don’t seem that black. I have no worries with you.” 

Taken from The New York Times article “Talk About Race, Relax It’s Ok.”

The article is quite interesting and gives different people’s viewpoints on Barack Obama’s affect on race relations and whether his Presidency will ease the tension when it comes to interracial communication.

Will it ease the tension that is always so evident between blacks and whites when race is mentioned?

 One thing I found in the article that made me go hmmm, is the fact that it is kind of thrown out there that many white people see certain likable African Americans without seeing their race. The examples given were Oprah Winfrey and Michael Jordan, along with them now goes Barack Obama. In reference to President Obama it was stated that somehow it seems that he transcends race. If he does rise above race, and can be seen for what he stands for and his other wonderful qualities, why is he among the tiny few African Americans that are likable enough to be seen as just humans and not black entertainers or black politicians etc?

(I think OJ Simpson used to be on that list to, so watch out)

Personally I feel that for many people Barack Obama stood for something that countless people of all races had lost and that was hope. They saw his qualities above his color because they were looking for something; these people felt lost and wanted change. This change was not race related. So will having a black president change the way we look at each other, I think not. I do feel that it gives many people a sense of ease when talking about certain topics because now as a country we have something in common. We can relate to each other on a level now that we couldn’t before; we share a president that links us all.

Even with the likelihood that some undercover racists will decide to let it all hang out, most black people are still in celebratory spirits and could care less if their coworker who they have eaten lunch with occasionally really doesn’t like them, it’s ok, at least for now. Right now they are ecstatic. They can finally exhale and for black people being able to exhale and feel good about anything political is wonderful.

 

p.s. Has anyone read this book ?

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  1. Would it be an exercise in the painfully obvious to state that the election of the first “Black” or “African American” President is an enormously emotionally charged issue on many fronts?

    Of course extreme comments will be made from those happy about this fact and those for whatever reason are opposed.

    Change and new things are never easy. HIstory has proven this. Look at churches…. we have denominations that refuse to accept what appear to me new moves of God and new revelations and rationalize to an extreme. At the same time, we have those who are part of new revelations and moves of God run away with these events to whacky extremes. And all points in between.

    But no matter how you slice it, change and newness are monumental events. I think it natural that un-gracious criticism will be made by some. People react and many people are rude and unkind. It isn’t right, it doesnt feel good, but it was bound to happen.

    I think best to let such comments be left in the rear view mirror and fade in the background of what the future unfolds to be.

    I am on a different place on the political spectrum to Obama and the Democrats, yet I am excited and hopeful for what is ahead. I am glad that someone fresh and totally new to the political scene like Barak Obama has been elected in. I have learned to be unafraid of change and open minded to those I don’t always agree with.

    I am optimistic.

    Ciao. Chaz

  2. @House

    I am well aware that there are racist black people. There are racists of every race. But I doubt there were any black people screaming racial slurs or holding stuffed animals mocking white people at McCain/Palin campaign rallies… but there were several incidents in which white people showed blatant racism towards Barack Obama.

    You are making it seem as if black people want to blame receiving the short end of the fstick or the majority of history on white ppl (which that is partially true) but somehow are looking for the tides to turn because Obama was elected.
    I feel that most African Americans are excited because they finally heard someone’s voice who seemed to not just care about white people, but who cared about the plight of us all and being that he is part black only made the situation more likeable fo them. But his skin color alone was not the main likeable factor when decision time came. Had he been white and running the same campaign against John McCain I think he still would have gotten the majority of the black votes that he got.

  3. @Melinda

    Thanks for stopping by

    I agree that sometimes people’s statements are misunderstood, and with emotions running high on such a memorable day, his statement definitely could have be taken out of context. Unless they knew him as a regular at that place of business, the worker may have been upset over nothing.

    Now what all was said after he made the statement and she went off I don’t know, but I do know that he never came back and said that he didn’t mean that another person of color would never be elected president

    • Melinda
    • January 23rd, 2009

    Perhaps this is a ridiculously naive comment….but, is there any chance that the white man’s comment was misunderstood? As I read it, he might have simply meant that “Black people” should savor this moment because it’s the only time it will be a “first.” Do you know what I mean? I wonder if he was *not* trying to say “We’ll never again elect a Black President” but perhaps was trying to say “We’ll never again be making such a big deal out of this because this is the milestone. ”

    It can be so hard to understand one another sometimes, and when emotions are elevated—as they surely were on this history-making inauguration day–perhaps he was unable to really communicate what he meant, or became defensive/scared if others reacted to his comments in a negative fashion.

    • House
    • January 23rd, 2009

    BlackGirlThinking:

    I see your point, but do you see mine? If Black people weren’t voting in larger numbers before because they were frustrated with all white presidents, then it goes to show who is racist.

    It is racist to not vote, and having your primary reason to not do so be because of race. It is racist to then turn around and go vote because you think there’s another Black person running and that looks good to you. I’m not talking to you personally blogowner, trying to address in generalities.

    Barack Obama did not run his campaign as a Black man, a Black activist, or MLK, Jr. returned. He ran under the philosophy of “one common purpose for ALL people”. This includes ALL races, not just Black people. Black people are foolish if they really think that Obama is going to hand them anything. We are all different colors in this country, and we ALL have a struggle. Obama has proven to Black people that the “woe is me” act is getting them nowhere. He is the President of the United States of America, not President of Black America.

    It’s time to stop focusing on the color of your own skin, and then turning right around and trying to blame white people for being racist. Blacks are racist as well.

    http://www.truthinthelies.wordpress.com

  4. @ Dctourist. I would like to address this single comment that you made
    “If people were that racist, they would say so in front of anyone who would listen”

    NOT TRUE. There are many people who don’t even consider their actions and especially their thoughts racist. I live in the South and it is unbelievable how many white people go about their everyday lives with a negative viewpoint of the black race. They may not go around broadcasting it, but when they are home or in the company of friends they feel free to discuss how they really feel about black people.

    In my adult life alone I have witnessed at least 4 incidents of someone who was not publicly racist coming out of their shell because of a specific event. So no, not everyone who is racist is bold or proud enough of it to live it everyday and announce it to whomever will listen.

  5. @House

    Very interesting comment. When stating the numbers relating to black people who turned out to vote for this election that had never voted before, is the backgound of why these people never cared to vote before being analyzed?

    I know personally from talking to a few that they never voted because they never felt that we had anyone who would care about black people. They have always felt that we get the short end of the stick and with a history of all white presidents, they never felt the need to cast their vote for another one.

    I don’t agree that the majority of Black people who voted for Barack Obama voted did so just becaus of his skin color, I think that they along with the many white people who chose to vote for Obama did so because he was the better candidate.

  6. Has anyone read this book? White Guilt by Shelby Steele (a conservative African American political writer) – I have. It gives an interesting view of racism from both sides of the spectrum. http://books.google.com/books?id=KUDIisq-KksC&dq=white+guilt&printsec=frontcover&source=bn&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=4&ct=result

    • House
    • January 23rd, 2009
    • House
    • January 23rd, 2009

    I see what you’re talking about, but we’re also seeing another side of Black people that most didn’t see before. Some have seen it, but most white people didn’t know how severe it was.

    Black people are just as racist, and often times more racist, than whites. There are a lot of Black people who now feel that they are automatically entitled to do anything they want because there is a biracial President now. Obama is not just Black, he is half white as well. But some Black people find it comforting to ignore that part, and just focus on the Black side. Then they can pretend that there is a “Black President” who is going to look out for them.

    But our nation has not, and never should, vote for someone solely because of the color of their skin. The majority of people who voted for Barack Obama were white, but some want to forget that part. Also, only 13% of the Black population even turned out to vote at all. This is a very small percentage. Out of this percentage, Obama received 95% of the Black vote. That means 5% of the Black population in America still voted for McCain, or another candidate. 8% of Black America backed Obama. Very slim percentage.

    Out of that 8%, there are many Black people who came out to vote for the first time in their lives, ONLY to vote for someone because of the color of their skin. This unfortunate occurrence only shows the observant that racism is just as rampant in the Black community, if not more than the white. This is undeniable, except to those who choose to deny it.

    Racism, no matter what race it derives from, is pointless.

  7. That’s not what I said. I said that you’re conspiracy theory is ridiculous – that people say good things about Obama in public, but go home “that same day and in the company of their friends/spouses called black people niggers and even voted for McCain because they just couldnt vote for a black person for president.” THAT’s just crazy talk. If people were that racist, they would say so in front of anyone who would listen. Stop suspecting people of these ridiculous hypocracies and just accept that people might actually be saying what they truly believe.

  8. @ dctourist…and I think that you may be slightly in denial if you truly believe that every racist is out in the open and those that might say something racist would be scorned by their friends..

  9. I still think you have this unfounded conspiracy theory going on here… emphasized by your response.

  10. BGT….

    Would you welcome the perspective of a Canadian?

    I dont believe we have the same conditioning in Canada to feel the distinction between black and white races. Certainly not in the context of how Americans express they feel and see it.

    Not that we do not have our racial issues and injustices of past and present. But we do not have the visible reminders of the slave days and a civil war to mark its “formal” end (yes, I realize that the civil war did not solve any racism issues nor mistreatment of African Americans, nor segretation, etc. But it appears to be a historic marker and formal line in the sand).

    Nor do we have the same racial mixing as in the U.S. So my conditioning is completely different and therefore so is my perspective.

    Personally, Barak Obama’s race and skin colour do not resonate to me the way they appear to resonate to Americans I read about and hear from. It resonates more to me that he is a Democrat who was elected on the heels of a Repulican era that was largely disliked.

    I guess what I am saying is that we don’t see the colour issue to the degree most Americans appear to. Certainly, we are aware that Obama is of African descent and that this is history-making. Frankly, the general outlook of many Canadians is that eventually, there would have been an African American president given the proportion of the population. Just like there had to be a first African American baseball player and golfer. Whatever barriers kept these sports predominantly white, eventually reduced. It was not surprising to see politics follow the same path.

    We hear far less attention to the race of baseball players now decades after Jackie Robinson broke the ice. I am only presuming that perhaps 50 years from now, the president’s colour will be of far less an issue of discussion and we will likely by that time see more presidents of other racial decents other than white.

    For me, and many of my fellow Canadians, the talk still centres largely around political and economic issues. We hear more of what Obama stands for and against than we do about his race.

    Not saying any of this is good or bad or right or wrong. I am just saying that without the history and social conditioning, there does not appear to be as much attention on Obama’s race in Canada.

    With all of that said, I can certainly see the historic and cultural significances of the first African American president. Especially to African Americans.

    Ciao. Chaz

    • Wizzy Jr.
    • January 21st, 2009

    I can’t tell you how many blogs I’ve been to where this very subject has been talked about. There are even some white folks who constantly have to remind us that Barrack is half white. WE KNOW THAT….but Lets be real, here. The color of his skin says BLACK (and plus, so does the one drop rule that was givin’ to our society a long time ago). He could use his “whiteness” if he TRIED. A lot of peoples TRUE colors, both black and white, have been seen, even before yesterday. It’s gonna get worse now in the next 8 years (yes, 8 YEARS, DAMMIT) with Obama in the White house (That was actually built by Slaves and was RAN by slaves…in the kitchen and as the house maids or butlers). We have a new face reperesnting Amercia. Some whites just can’t stand that fact that it doesn’t look like THEIRS.

  11. @ dctouristsandlocals

    My statement was not encouraging people to suspect their coworkers of being racist. It was just a general statement that regardless of how things were, some of their coworkers are indeed racists and yes things may or may not change when Obama takes office.

    Some of the very people who chatted with them at work about how wonderful it was that Obama won the election are the very ones who went home that same day and in the company of their friends/spouses called black people niggers and even voted for McCain because they just couldnt vote for a black person for president.

    And if you honestly believe that the people who feel this way are the minority, you seriously have your eyes closed. There is no scorn against friends when they all believe the same way. Or are you unaware that there are countless white people who have no friends of other races, just as there are black people who don’t have any white friends. Maybe associates or coworkers, but not friends.

  12. I think that the people you speak of, those who “think things but never say them” are the minority, and that if they say any of these supposed racist things, that their friends of all races will scorn them. This peer pressure will force them to recognize that they are wrong. You also shouldn’t encourage anybody to start suspecting their friends of racism where they have never seen it before – accusing people of racism is in itself a form of racism. Let’s not get paranoid. Let’s lead by example instead.

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