Racism? Never Heard of It
Post-Racial America has put Black people in a precarious situation. We have remained steadfast in our pursuit of equality and equity, and we have made incredible strides throughout this nation’s history. As we counter the affects of thousands of years of continued exploitation, degradation and oppression, we in turn agitate the narrow-minded members of the majority. They use the progress that we’ve made as a nation as an excuse to stop maturing. Many members of the majority have exhibited behavior that encompasses several pathological defense mechanisms, including distortion, denial and delusion. They have decided that racism doesn’t exist anymore, the affects of government-sanctioned slavery, mass murder and oppression have been eradicated, and that Black people are simply lazy, ungrateful and sensitive.
As insane and unfounded as that may sound, that stance has been adopted by many in this nation (just watch Fox News). Nowadays, White people will call me racist just for mentioning race. Every time a Black person claims to be a victim of oppression or racism, their’s a group of white people rolling their eyes somewhere.
This common response to our plight has made many of us, especially those of us who work with white people, apprehensive when we feel the need to respond to a racial offense. Many of us try to avoid being the Black person in the room that claims that everything’s racist. Even my firm’s vice president didn’t say anything when the office gave him a du-rag and Madea Goes to Jail on DVD as retirement gifts.
I was in a meeting with my consulting team yesterday, and my manager was explaining how data from different cities was worth different values. “For example”, she said as she began pointing at each team member, “Jill could be worth 1.25, Megan could be worth 1”. She was about to point to me and both of the white girls had already received their values. I honestly wasn’t paying that much attention to the example, I already understood how weighting worked. That is, until she said,
“Kai could be three-fifths”
Before I could even digest what I heard, Milton, the other Black guy on the team, received a value of one-halfth. To a white person, this could seem like a non-issue. To a Black person, who would’ve only represented three-fifths of a person under the Three-Fifths Compromise 150 years ago, the shit’s offensive. If I were sharing an example regarding the development of a railroad, I wouldn’t point at Ling Wang and tell him that he could lay the tracks.
Ignorance of history or its residual affects is not an excuse for this shit. Black people continue to fight for the right to be considered whole people, outside the realm of taxation and representation. I told you guys a few posts ago that one of my coworkers said I could dress like a slave during a costume parade. And she suggested it with a smile on her face. You may be under the impression that behavior exhibited without malicious intent cannot be racist. If that is your stance, I would like to direct you to our Unintentional Racism Files.
I’m not sensitive, I’m tense. In past posts, I’ve mentioned the adverse physiological and psychological affects of racism on African-Americans. We are agitated by ignorance on a daily basis. The tactic of denying the existence of racism has only promoted ignorance among many within the majority. So they’re suddenly surprised when they hear about an unarmed Black kid getting shot in the chest by self-proclaimed neighborhood watchman. Us Black folk already knew that thousands of Black kids had been slain for less.
When Joel Ward, forward and Black guy for the Washington Capitals, scored a game-winning shot in Game 7 of the Stanley Cup, mad white folks lost their shit. Thousands of racist tweets from fans of the defeated Boston Bruins hit the web littered with racial slurs and bigoted saltiness. There were so many tweets, that the Boston Bruins organization had to release a statement condemning and apologizing for their racist fans. But Ward was already used to bold racism, he’s a brother on ice. He even said that he really just cared about the fact that they won and were moving on to the 2nd round of the Stanley Cup playoffs.
So yeah, racism exists. People hated it when a Black guy scored a goal in the hockey. Imagine how they felt when President Obama took office. Post-Racial America is not what it claims to be. Us Black people are still victims of police brutality, still getting stigmatized as “threatening”, still encountering discrimination at the doors of opportunity, and still getting blamed by the Republicans for every other damn thing. I feel as if I am under constant, but subtle attack, and rightfully so. If I take offense to being called a slave, or “three-fifths” or a “thug”, or Mary J. Blige singing about fried chicken, its because things aren’t peachy keen. Facebook and Twitter were strewn with updates about “Nigger Appreciation Day” this year on Martin Luther King day and I saw a KKK rally the last time I drove through Texas. I have every right to feel antagonized and targeted. Those who have not experienced constant racism may perceive those feelings as sensitivity. That’s completely okay, so long as they display some cultural sensitivity to dissapate the delusions of Post-Racial America.