Monday, July 22, 2013
I’ll talk About Race Because You're Afraid To
The heading I chose for this blog was in reference to Attorney General Eric Holder’s words, which are still true today, when he said, "essentially we are a nation of cowards" in failing to openly discuss the issue of race. ”A pundit said that the issue of race is like a horrifying event because we only bring it up after the event occurs.
Racism is “discriminatory or abusive behavior towards members of another race.” We could say that affirmative action is a form of reverse discrimination, even though a lot of us have benefited from it. The Supreme Court punted on affirmative action this time around but it fired a warning shot indicating that its days are numbered.
Trayvon Martin’s death is a good place to start. Sit straight in your chair, lean your head back, and try to imagine a scenario where a young black boy shot and killed a white person who was following him because he was afraid of being being murdered . Don’t be like that poster who said if Trayvon would’ve walked away, he’ll be alive today. The poster never considered the possibility that the same could be said of Zimmerman. We’ll never know what went through Zimmerman’s mind when he first spotted Trayvon but could it have been the young kid’s skin color? If it would have been a white kid walking in that gated community, would it have merited a second glance by Zimmerman?
There’s no doubt that race is a difficult subject to have, as I witnessed the five African -American guests on Meet the Press having difficulty in coming to a common consensus. The guests were, Marc Morial, President of the National Urban League Former Mayor, City of New Orleans Rep. Marcia Fudge, (D-OH) Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, Tavis Smiley, Host, “Tavis Smiley Show,” PBS, Charles Ogletree, Professor, Harvard Law School Founder, Charles Hamilton Houston Institute for Race & Justice, Michael Steele, MSNBC Political Analyst Former Chairman, Republican National Committee. The first subject was about the president’s speech , where Tavis Smiley said it was about time and it didn’t go far enough. Michael Steele made it a political issue and the other three thought it was a positive first step.
We can’t solve the issue by removing the hyphenated distinction and pretend that the races and nationalities don’t have distinctive differences. We certainly won’t solve anything by using the statistics Chris Wallace used a couple of times to justify the shooting of Trayvon Martin. He said that 13% of the population (African Americans) commits half the murders. First, those were from a 2005 report and was he saying that white America has a reason to be scared of young black males? Wallace also emphasized that 93% of young black men who are killed come from black on black crime. Why is that surprising? People are normally killed in their own neighborhood. Adam Lanza did not look for a black school several states away, to commit his murders. Keeping things in perspective will go a long way.
I was not surprised to hear that Sean Hannity made some stupid remarks about the president’s speech on race. It also doesn’t surprise me that the Rev. Al Sharpton is at the forefront of the peaceful demonstrations. The Rev. Al is an activist, and Sean Hannity is feeding red meat to his listeners. That’s what these people do for a living.
A predominantly black city, Detroit, has gone bankrupt but that doesn’t have to happen. We bailed out Wall Street, and the auto industry, so why not Detroit? A lot of racial strife can be avoided with good paying jobs. People will not move back to Detroit unless they hire more policemen and teachers. They need to restore public services before they tackle the difficulty of finding a way to fund their present and future public retirees. Unemployment for black males is 19% but that’s never in our economic plans.
We can’t legislate good race relations but bad legislation like voter suppression and poorly enforced “Stand Your Ground laws” can heighten the tension between the races. The constant negativity towards the poor is based on a perception that minorities do not pull their weight, and most are on the public dole, even thou they are able to work. People who pursue that line of thinking never mention the waste, fraud and abuse in other departments of the Federal government. They use exaggerated stories and filtered statistics as a means to keep their ilk on board.
Race relations are a lot better today than when I was in high school and they will continue that way because our children will see to it. We still have a long way to go because we haven’t had that discussion at the kitchen table or at the community center because a lot of us think that the status quo will do. Remember all the hoopla, when the Muslim community wanted to build a mosque at Ground Zero? The protesters left and the television cameras followed and that mosque sits there today without any fanfare. How did that happen? The Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf and his wife sat down with the 9/11 victims and inclusivity eventually won out.
We often hear people coming to this country need to assimilate but won’t say to what standard. That’s a difficult standard to meet when some people think a hoodie is a symbol of gang culture. I think the beauty of America is that you can be your own person and not worry about what others think you should be. Of course if you want to advance in the business world, you have to assimilate to those principles.
This blog may be a poor way to strike up a discussion about race relations but I won’t know that unless someone points out the areas where I am wrong and then the conservation starts.