22 March 2013

Post-Racial America?

Although it's questionable whether Barack Obama ever actually used the phrase, he and many others promised that if he were elected we would have a "post-racial America." That term is sometimes defined this way:

"A term used to describe a society or time period in which discussions around race and racism have been deemed no longer relevant to current social dynamics. Popularized after the election of Barack Obama to the presidency of the United States of America in 2009." (Urban Dictionary)
But, but, but... Yes, that's right, racism is alive and well - maybe even thriving in the US.  One blogger described today's racist attitudes this way:

Racism has a spectrum. On the far end there’s the skinhead, Farrakhan, KKK kind – we can’t fully eliminate that but we can isolate it. Then there’s the latent kind that’s less doctrinaire racism and more a combination of ignorance, reluctance, apathy and discomfort – like when people are able to joke and put their arm someone of another color at work, but they wouldn’t welcome their daughter dating that person’s son. This is a visceral and irrational reaction, one people know they shouldn’t have but can’t avoid. I wouldn’t call these people racists, or even bad, just scared enough to put up walls. See blog here).
Commentator Walter E. Williams bluntly states that, "Many Americans thought that with Obama's presidency, we were moving to a "post-racial society." Little can be further from the truth. - (See more here).

American society is notoriously thin-skinned. People (of all racial groups) get offended easily - and just as easily litigate over those perceived offenses. But, hey, this has led to the creation of a couple of new(ish) industries: ethnic lawsuiting and race hustling. Now admit it, Americans, when we use the term "race hustler" two names (often preceded by the ill-used term "reverend") immediately come to mind.

Far from being over, racism simply changed colors. It's not that whites don't continue to exhibit racism. No, but now racism is recognized (by those actually looking honestly at society) as not in the domain of whites only. In fact, Walter E. Williams (for the record, a black man in America), sees the new reality clearly. In an article published at TownHall.com, he wrote
Even if the president and his liberal allies in the media and assorted civil rights hustlers don't care much about blacks murdering whites, what about blacks murdering blacks? During a mid-March weekend in Chicago, 49 people were shot, 10 fatally, including a 6-year-old black girl, making for more than 100 murders this year. Philadelphia isn't far behind, with murder clipping along at one a day since the beginning of 2012. Have we heard Obama make a statement about this carnage or that most homicide victims are black and that their murderers are black? No, and we won't, because black-on-black crime, like black-on-white crime, does not fit the liberal narrative of the continuing problem of white racism.
No, racism has not gone away in America, nor in the UK, the Netherlands, India, or anywhere else. It is a sin common to humanity. In the Bible, in Acts, chapter 6 we read this: "Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected in the daily distribution." (Read the entire passage at Acts 6:1-6). What do we have here? It's racism, plain and simple. It's an old sin (we could go into the Old Testament and find many examples, as well). 

What do we do about it? I don't have any more answers to that than the many commentators and theologians who have written about the issue extensively. Two things I do know. First, we need to be prayerful about our own attitudes (not so much other folk's attitudes). Secondly, we cannot simply stand around singing "kumbaya" and pretend that the issue has receded from the culture simply because a (half) black man has been made the President of the US.

What do you think, readers? I really want to hear from you on this (touchy) subject.  


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