In a recent “discussion” with an individual of the Right Wing persuasion, I was told that “racism is no long a problem, reverse racism is the issue.”
I don’t believe that, in the least.
I could research pages of data to support my contention that racism is alive and well in the US. The statistics are endless and, of course, are subject to interpretation, correctly or not. Rather than a dry, academic exercise, I am just going to express my thoughts on a couple of recent observations.
It has been my thought that the election of President Barack Obama has done more to expose the racist underbelly of America than any other event since the assassination of Dr. King in 1968. In my view, the election of the first black president did not prove that America has moved past race, rather it proved just the opposite.
The barrage of racially-tinged commentary about the candidate and now president was bewildering. The intensity of commentary was made even more disconcerting by it’s acceptance, particularly by the Right.
Affirmative action is usually given as proof of the claim of reverse racism, which is laughable to me, considering the long history of discrimination in America.
“Blacks have a 375-year history on this continent: 245 involving slavery, 100 involving legalized discrimination, and only 30 involving anything else.” – Roger Wilkins
How can leveling the playing field be “reverse racism” when the minorities were the victims of discrimination for a century and a half?
The term “affirmative action” was first used by President John F. Kennedy in Executive Order 10925, issued on March 6, 1961. Despite a 50 year history, various efforts at affirmative action have not yet to eradicate discrimination in housing, employment and education. Significant improvements have been made, but the road ahead is still very long.
I have faith that a new generation, one that has grown up without segregation and discrimination as obvious as that that we grew up with, will break through the barriers that kept racism alive during our lifetimes.
I can only pray.
(The tread photo is of the dead body of Michael Donald, a black man randomly chosen by the Ku Klux Klan and lynched in 1981, after an unrelated black man’s trial was declared a mistrial in a case of a murder of a police officer in Mobile, Alabama. The lynching was totally an act of senseless violence. Donald had nothing to do with the trial. His family sued the Klan and were awarded a $7 million settlement.)
William Stephenson Clark