Being a black man, I have a perspective that I am sure will match the experience of other races. People of color in America spend a lot of time apologetic to racists. Massa, we sick. I am sure he did not mean it that way, he has never said anything racist to me, or his comments were just unartful. Probably from the time the first enslaved person stepped off a slave ship, white people were offended by the smell, skin color, texture of their hair, and lack of speaking the language. Of course, the slavers’ complicity and those willing to buy enslaved people were just incidental. Instead, black men, women, and children were told to avert their eyes when coming into contact with a white person.
So goes history
How dare Harriet Tubman kill white soldiers to be free; how dare Jackie Robinson play on the same field with white men; how uppity of Rosa Parks to take a seat on a bus and do not take a knee to protest silently. They were rabble-rousers and race-baiters.
Successful black people my age had it drummed into our heads that we had to be twice as good to achieve equity. If one walked into a room with equal qualifications, skills, and experience, you were told your race was not a factor; you just did not work twice as hard. The obviousness of that painful paradigm is an embarrassment to an intellectual conversation. Close-minded whites and conservatives in this country tell us to forget the past; why make our children feel guilty? Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell said of racism in America,
“We’ve tried to deal with our original sin of slavery by fighting a civil war,
by passing landmark civil rights legislation.
We’ve elected an African American president,” he said.
“I think we’re always a work in progress in this country, but no one currently alive was responsible for that, and I don’t think we should be trying to figure out how to compensate for it.”
Yes, we did fight a civil war, Mitch, followed by the abandonment of ex-slaves by the federal government and the institution of pseudo-slavery laws called Jim Crow. The landmark civil rights and voting rights act of 1964 and 1965 began to unravel with the Supreme Court throwing out section five of the Voter Rights Act in 2013. Chief Justice John Roberts asserted there was no longer a need for it because “our country has changed” for the better. The late Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg dissented [throwing] “out preclearance when it has worked and is continuing to work to stop discriminatory changes is like throwing away your umbrella in a rainstorm because you are not getting wet.”
The storm Justice Ginsburg foreshadowed is now a monsoon. Three-hundred-and sixty-one bills have been introduced in forty-seven states to change voting rights. The irony of Mitch McConnell, who vowed to remove Barack Obama after one term, later stating his election was tantamount to reparations, is laughable. Mr. Obama filled the office after 43 predecessors. He was not the first black man qualified to hold the office, just the first to break through the barrier. Is accusing the first black woman named to the Supreme Court—with qualifications twice those of other justices, being a sympathizer to pedophiles, the elimination of racial animus? Is white America so afraid of the truth that banning Pulitzer Prize-winning books is the answer?
Black Americans, including children and other people of color, do not have to talk about race because we live it and are never allowed to forget it. My apologies for bringing up racism.
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