The End of Racism: So Just What Would It Take?

Okay, so Timmy has me thinking…

Many (if not most) Whites believe that racism is a thing of the past.  Just about every survey (methodology is important here because qualitative research yields different results) shows that Whites no longer espouse racists belief systems.  Still, Blacks are constantly complaining about racism and how crappy it is to be Black–the truth of this is found in just about any study you can find on race relations or issues of inter- or intraracial colorlines.  Wherever you go in the world, the darker you are, the worse off you are socioeconomically.  But now, we have a Black president!  Is this the end of racism?  Does Obama signal the beginning of the colorblind society?

Well, I would think that Whites would answer “yes.”  And, it might be difficult to disagree with them.  I’ll admit that I definitely rethought the saliency of race once Obama was elected.  For decades having a Black president was the barometer used by the average (whatever that is) Black American to measure the level of racism in the US.  Now that “we” have accomplished that impossible feat, can we say that sufficient progress has been made to call for the end of race-targeted initiatives?  The real question is this Black people: WHAT WOULD NEED TO HAPPEN FOR BLACKS TO FEEL THAT THIS NATION HAS DONE ALL IT CAN FOR US TO THE DEGREE THAT WE NO LONGER FEEL JUSTIFIED IN COMPLAINING ABOUT RACISM?  What would we need to see?

As for Black people, I would bet that most Blacks would argue that racism continues in new and innovative ways–that covert racism is the order of the day despite Obama.  And well, there is a whole bunch of research that backs this notion too.  So the question is this White people: WHAT PROOF COULD BE OFFERED TO CONVINCE THAT RACISM EXPLAINS THE FAILURE OF BLACKS RELATIVE TO WHITES (AND ANY OTHER GROUP) BETTER THAN ANY OTHER FACTOR?  What would you need to see?

5 thoughts on “The End of Racism: So Just What Would It Take?

  1. Fair and balanced like a Fox claim on this one. It’s tough to answer for Whites, but for Blacks I’d have to say eliminate, or at least move close to eliminating inequities and inequality in just about every area of American life. From education, to health care, to income, to wealth, to employment, to home ownership, to imprisonment, to government posts, to business ownership. Black people are on the bottom, and in many areas the gap has widened since desegregation, not lessened.

    Syncretizing this with an earlier post of yours, Obama can’t do a damn thing about much of this. If it’s not levied overtly at the general (codeword for mostly whites, then everybody else) good, I don’t think he can accomplish it or get it passed. But please, tell me why I’m wrong.

    • …man, I don’t know IF you’re wrong, so I can’t really tell you why you ARE wrong.

      But, I would like to try to answer my own question for Blacks. For me it would begin with an absolute admission of guilt PRINTED on some sort of federal document denouncing and apologizing for the this nation’s support and dependence on Chattel Slavery, which, contrary to popular opinion, was EXPANDING in 1865!

      I see education as the building block of human capital, so I would suggest a restructuring of districts to counteract against opportunity hoarding and the growing isolation of the affluent (and all of their resources) from the truly disadvantaged. Redraw district lines to include people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and school funding will be addressed. Next, curriculum needs a complete overhaul. In fact, I would say that we have a warped idea of the purpose of education in this country, in general. In regard to Black people, I would like to a concerted effort to correct the MANY historical mistakes being taught. Teach my people from culturally relevant worldview and with culturally responsive pedagogy. In fact, if the whole of effort to benefit Blacks was focused in education, I would be satisfied.

  2. In response to the question of what Whites would need to see in order to believe that racism is still a significant factor:

    Racism still exists. It affects the daily lives and life chances of Black individuals. I believe it is far more subtle than it used to be, but no less effective.

    That having been said, I also believe it is far less pervasive. Racism has receded from many areas of American culture. The youth of today especially inhabit large swaths of American society that is absent of nearly any racist attitudes or beliefs. Not that none exist, but that they are uncommon.

    This has created at least two serious problems. First, it makes racism invisible to many White people, who assume that because they don’t support it or ever see it, it must not exist. Second, racist culture has receded back to its strongholds, including the highest echelons of society. Golf resorts, country clubs, yacht clubs, and boardrooms. These places where racism can still openly exist without condemnation are the same places where power dwells.

    When these two problems combine, you see the situation we live with today. The vast majority of White people (White people younger than 40) are not racist, were never raised racist, and don’t have racist friends. They are often afraid to talk about the apparent absence of racism in American society, but many believe it. On the other hand, the structural make-up of American society tells a very different story. Prisons are filled with Blacks, and the boardrooms are completely white. White schools are amazing, and Black schools aren’t really even schools. If racism is dead, then its spirit is certainly haunting American society.

    In short, this new “subtle racism” is perhaps far more pernicious than Jim Crow ever was. You have a generation of Whites convinced that Blacks are just over-sensitive and milking the whole “racism” thing, and you have a generation of Blacks shut out from the best things in life and unable to convince anyone that racism is real. It’s a terrible situation.

    Regarding what it would take for Blacks to say that racism is over:

    It would never ever ever happen. Never ever.

    — Never ever? Never EVER?

    Never ever ever. It’s way too fun to milk the whole racism thing. White guilt is the new Black slavery. Pick that emotional cotton!

  3. Okay…since we are in agreement that racism still exists in more covert ways (institutionally), we must consider what this might actually mean. I recently read this author who discussed at length the subconscious nature of racist attitudes–that they exist even when we might not think so.

    Whether that is true or not, institutions are made up of people. The people who run these institutions continue the legacies of the institutions either consciously or not. Also, we know that much of what we learn is through observation, and while many of us may not have been taught to hate Blacks, Mexicans (which I’m guilty of….yeah I said it!), or Whites, but still we learn. So how do we learn? We learn through our peers our families and organizations and institutions we come into contact with. All of these are (at a basic level) groups of people. I say this because while virtually no White or Black (well maybe a Black person) would openly espouse a racist stance, how we feel is on display in our daily conversations with our friends, our “benign” movements–who we vote for, what we vote for, where we choose to live, who we choose to interact with, and so on and so forth. MANY studies show that the mundane nature of racism is very much alive and well.

    I recently found out that when some Whites want to talk about Blacks without us knowing, they call us “Canadians.” I know a Black person who talks about Mexicans by calling them kinfolk. My point is that these may seem innocuous, but these small examples represent a more real and covert racism that still exists–a Jim Crow throwback alive and well today.

    (I’m still laughing about the “emotional cotton”)

    I have to agree with you about some Black people never being satisfied with whatever is done, and if we leave it at that, we could be satisfied, but I’d like to ask why?

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