Racism: could it be even worse than Afro-Americans think it is??

Posted: August 17, 2013 by jennroig in Commentary, English
Tags: , , , , , ,

“The cure for fascism is reading and the cure for racism is travelling”, Miguel de Unamuno.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Martin Luther King Jr.

This is my disclaimer: I’m not white, but I look like one.

I mention this because of two reasons: Looking like a white I have never been stopped and frisk, for instance, but knowing where I come from I know it’s just a matter of random genetic combinations that gave me pale skin instead of a darker one, so I notice what happens to black people, even if it doesn’t happen to me. Secondly, looking like a white does enables me to listen to conversation among white and Latino folks, which sometimes get so outrageous, that I wonder if Afro-American folks are really aware about how bad the situation really can be.

I know racism is rampant, and so blatant that is impossible for a black person to walk around without feeling it on the flesh. Obama described some of the actual, concrete manifestations of racism that are endured by the black minority, when he referred to the Zimmerman’s trial veredict, after killing Trayvon Martin.

Still, Obama spoke about everyday situations. But he didn’t referred to other consequences of racism that can explain so few Afro-American CEOs among the Fortune’s 500, so little representation among the political Establishment.

And when the debate is publicly presented, we would likely hear white folks denying racism, pretty much in the way The Daily Show represented it:

The R-Word (The Daily Show: Tuesday August 6, 2013)

I’m not saying every white person is racist, what I’m saying is those who are racist, they are painfully and sordidly prejudicial people. I’m not even talking about rednecks in Alabama or Mississippi who can’t conceive to be touch by a black kid without having to run to the shower -a real story I heard from a Cuban black girl who visited the house of a “Christian” family in Texas, some years ago. The white lady who was supposed to host her for somedays during a religious event couldn’t handle it and was running after the girl cleaning every object she touched, like she was tainting the house somehow.

That was outspoken, sick, right-in-the-face racism that ignorant whites can’t hide, wouldn’t hide because they think it’s fine, it’s justified by some insane notion of I can’t guess what. That’s the same stupid evil racism that made hundreds of people feel offended by the Cheerios ad:

I’m talking about that hidden racism that persists in those educated, suburban-middle-class people. The kind of people that wouldn’t openly say anything racist in public, who would deny any racist notion in a poll, or omit their true thoughts when interacting in a social conversation with co-workers or among acquaintances, guys that can even have a black friend to show when it comes to prove they are not racist, that sole idea is just offensive!

I’m referring precisely to these people that only show their true points of view when they are among close friends or relatives, then they speak out. That’s when the fear they feel of black folks emerges. It’s about fear, and contempt against the “fact” that “blacks are living without having to work, thanks to the taxes they have to pay”. Fear and contempt. Fear of visiting “black neighborhoods because they are indeed more dangerous, because they consume more drugs, they are prone to felonies”.

That’s one more evidence of selective attention, or selective memory, or just selectivity in the information people want to have. Even if it’s true that news media have its share of unfair portrayal of minorities, the news show white and Latino individual committing crimes. Sometimes horrible crimes like the massacre in Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut. So, no wonder why Zimmerman was acquitted precisely by a jury from Florida.

And don’t get me wrong. These people are not evil or naturally sinister humans. They learnt this way to perceive the black from their parents, and their uncles, and their parents’  friends, and the media, and that part of society that shaped their ideas and worldview. When you take the time to talk to one of them, and explain historic reasons, and explain economic reasons -such as the fact that the black minority is about a 13.1% of the total population, so it’s impossible they consume all the government’s entitlements, even if every Afro-American would receive governmental assistance, which is not the case- and political reasons and most importantly human reasons that show we are the same, except for the fact that centuries ago European colonizers disrupted and abducted a civilization that was brought to foreign lands to be treated as subhuman and we are all still paying the cost. Then that person sees, for a moment that person agrees and realizes racism is baseless, and there’s indeed a huge debt to be paid, which won’t probably ever be fully compensated, because the value of so much damage is impossible to measure.

But just for a moment. After a while or some days you will listen to them repeating a similar remark. The fear and the contempt are so deeply rooted in them…

I guess what I’m saying with this it’s that racism won’t stop with a second or a tenth black president, or with Oprah and Chris Rock showing amanzing stage talent, or some other Neil deGrasse Tyson getting recognized as scientific icon, or more Gabby Douglas winning olympic golds. It won’t stop when stop and frisk will stop, or even after the inmate population will be more balanced among whites, latinos and blacks. After all that, some hidden form of racism will remain in some segment of the population.

Fortunately, young people will receive better education. Each generation will be able to get more information, and will share and interact more with other people from many cultures, races and ethnicities from around the world. With luck, they will learn better, and they will know how to handle diversity, and they will understand the reasons beyond.


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