Sunday, June 21, 2015

Finding the Logic of Racism

I'd like to think I am color-blind. There are probably a variety of reasons for this. I have a number of family members and friends who are mixed and in interracial relationships, and I've been taught to give everyone a chance to show who they really are as people. Bad first impressions and terrible assumptions stop any opportunity to truly get to know someone.

There's been a lot of talk about racism in America.  Many young black boys and black men are murdered while unarmed, their body said to be the weapon that caused their deaths. There's been a lot of outrage. A lot of protests. A lot of confusion around the heart of the real problem. But the heart of the problem occurred long ago and not so very long ago.

I'll explain that little conundrum, because I think understanding the problem will help us solve it and will open up friendlier discussion to solve it.

Racism Embedded in History
A wise person said that, 'if you don't know your history, you are doomed to repeat it.' I'd like to add something to this quote. If you don't know your history, you are doomed to never knowing how and why the world works the way it does. We have to remember that the events of the past shape the present and future. Many things culminate to get us to where we are now.

The reason America might have a race issue is because we refuse to acknowledge it anymore, or if it did, we say its too long ago to affect anything; we believe its buried in the past and doesn't need re-analyzing, which causes the problem to crop up since there hasn't been any proper closure for it.

Not only has there been racism towards African-Americans, but Irish, Italian, Native-Americans, and the list goes on, but right now I'd like to focus on African-Americans, as this is the topic that's been making more headlines and has been more enduring throughout the years.

I'm not saying that all Americans are racist or that a large percentage are. The fact of the matter is that I don't  know, but I do believe that our past can come back to haunt us if we don't critically analyze race relations in the past.

Past Suffering
Many people like to say that blacks need to move on from slavery times, that it happened so long ago that now it's just a way to blame whites for everything. We have to remember that what came after slavery was only a little bit better. You had Jim Crow Law, the Civil Rights movement in the mid to late 60s to put an end to segregation and institutionalized racism. And even towards the mid-70s, there were still areas implementing the much hated desegregation policies. I know a woman in her late 40s that still remembers the practice of bussing, where black kids were bussed to white schools and white kids were bussed to black schools in an effort to de-segregate the population. This is a very long history, even outside of slavery. There is no wonder there is not much generational wealth in the black community when there has been so little time to really achieve it.

Am I trying to make excuses? No, but I'm trying to understand the whole picture fully. And the factors that play into an overall negative view of blacks by the public. There are more factors that go into play besides accountability. We as a society need to see the implications of this. We also need to see the implications of the founding of this country, and how it was secured in order for us to be more sensitive to people of all races and gender.