We’ve come a long way. We have a lot farther to go.
When I read quotes like the one above, or titles like this:
I just want to scream.
Image is from NY TIMES: Is Obama the End of Black Politics? By MATT BAI 8.10.08
OK, that’s off my chest, so let’s figure out why.
First, the title of this post. If Obama wins can we just forget about this whole annoying thing called “RACISM?” NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! NO NO NO NO NO!
WHY? Because electing a light-skinned, mixed race, Standard English speaking senator [http://www.discriminations.us/2007/02/obamas_mama_ii.html] does not erase the fact that:
significant gaps between blacks and whites remain. About a quarter of blacks lived below the poverty line in 2006, compared with 8 percent of whites, census data shows. The median income of blacks, $30,200, is less than two-thirds that of whites, $48,800. And studies suggest that employers often favor white job seekers over black applicants, even when their educational backgrounds and work experiences are nearly identical.
-NY Times “Blacks Debate Civil Rights Risk in Obama’s Rise,” By RACHEL L. SWARNS 8/25/08
AND black men make up the majority population in US prisons AND the majority of these inmates do not have literacy skills beyond that of an average 3rd grader AND (now from my personal experience) Black boys are more likely to be designated as in need of Special Education services AND more likely to be placed in more restrictive environments in schools based on their status as Special Education students and more often than not for “behavioral issues.”
A more restrictive environment means they are segregated from other “normal” students and isolated in a classroom with 1 teacher and 1 aide for the majority of the school day. Their class size is limited to approximately 13. They are only allowed to socialize with the mainstream population during lunch, PE, and if they are lucky an arts elective. (Learn about Least Restrictive Environment (LRE) at http://www.wrightslaw.com/info/lre.index.htm)
So, now that we have briefly examined some of the daily realities of blacks in US Society (not to mention that shop keepers treat them differently, racial profiling from law enforcement, and persistently low percentages of black students entering competitive universities) do you think we can all rally together and say:
YES, THERE STILL IS A PROBLEM HERE
AND yes there’s a problem AND I don’t mean to slam anyone for being hopeful about erasing this ugly term that holds so much pain for so many people BUT YES we have to keep it on the table. It’s here and here to stay. I do not believe that I will see the day in my lifetime when RACE is no longer an issue in American culture and society. THAT’S HOW FAR WE HAVE TO GO.
SO! GO FORTH! WE HAVE WORK TO DO. DON’T WALLOW, DON’T BE SAD. BE GLAD.
Information is getting freer all the time. Read a book, assess the evidence. Do you agree with me? What will you do about it? It doesn’t have to be BIG. The SMALLEST actions can make a BIG difference.