INCONVENIENT TRUTH NO.1: WE ARE ALL PREJUDICED.
Both Black and White Americans need to wake up and smell the tear gas.
Our streets are exploding in rage over the continued existence of systemic racism!
Is protesting in the streets the right way to solve the problem?
I’m not sure, but what I do know is that first we need to admit that prejudice exist in all of us. Those who say they look at people and don’t see color aren’t being honest.
Most people don’t like to admit they are prejudiced in some way or the other. It’s understandable that we want to feel like we’re above such human frailties, but are we?
In my opinion, prejudice is natural. By natural, I mean common… innate… widespread… even understandable. Being prejudiced, in of itself, isn’t necessarily wrong.
Being prejudicial is how we make judgements about everything from who we associate with to who’s our friend, or enemy. It’s weighing the pros and cons and arriving at a logical conclusion that’s in our own best interest.
Prejudice is a legitimate form of discernment. But, it’s when we use that prejudice (or pre-judgement) to discriminate unfairly, or worse of all, oppress those we judge.
It’s quite natural for humans, or animals for that matter, to desire to be around those most like themselves. Nothing wrong with that. It’s how we form groups, alliances, communities, even “races”. These alliances help us to survive in the world jungle.
Naturally, we trust, or identify, most with those who more closely mirror our looks, our views, or our beliefs… whether those beliefs are right or wrong.
This is why that when given the chance, and without prompting, people who are most alike will associate with those most like themselves.
As I said, this in itself isn’t wrong, or unnatural. What is unnatural is to hate someone who doesn’t look or act like you simply because they don’t look or act like you. This is the hurtful impact of prejudice. When it turns into racism. Or sexism. Or xenophobia. Or homophobia.
Or any of the many isms that confine us and limit our potential as a specie.
All of us need to take a long hard look at ourselves and examine our own innate prejudices. If we do we’ll see that prejudice doesn’t have to turn into racism.
Prejudice isn’t confined to any one “race” or group. It’s innate in all of us.
We need to learn to distinguish between what I call racial favoritism, which is identifying with those like yourself, and racism, which is oppressing or discriminating against those unlike you. To me, the former is acceptable, but the latter is not.
We are all prejudiced in one way or another. It takes a special human being to learn to overcome his own prejudices when they harm or hurt others. If we truly want to get past the burden of race in America we need to understand our own prejudices, and learn to accept, even if not celebrate, the differences between us.
INCONVENIENT TRUTH NO.2: RACISM IS BIG BUSINESS.
Racism could possibly be America’s biggest industry. Seriously!
Careers have been launched, and ended, because of racism. If we could not rant and rave about racism many of us would have little motivation to get out of bed each morning.
How many times have you heard the phrase “we need to have a conversation about race”? Probably about a billion, right?
Just how many conversations about race do we need to have before we realize talking about race doesn’t do much to solve racial problems.
I mean, didn’t the Founding Fathers talk about race… right before they left Blacks and women out of the Constitution?
Wasn’t the Civil War about race?
Wasn’t Frederic Douglas, Harriet Tubman, W.E.B. Dubois, Ida B. Wells, and thousands of others before our time, talking about race?
Didn’t Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Marcus Garvey, Angela Davis, and Toni Morrison talk about race?
Didn’t Obama, Professor Gates, and the white cop who detained him in his own home, sit down and have a conversation about race?
How did that work out?
Truth be told, having a conversation about race is like talking about your sex life. Who’s going to be honest?
We continue to talk about racism instead of solving it because it’s big business.
Imagine the hit to the bottom line of the 1%ers if they couldn’t discriminate against minorities or poor people. If they couldn’t poison the environment in ways that disproportionally hurt black and brown people. If they couldn’t produce products or services that bring them billions in profits while leaving many minority communities struggling to deal with poverty and crime.
Can we even begin to imagine how many black leaders would be in the unemployment line if racism was suddenly eliminated?
Or how unprofitable the gun manufacturing industry would be if racial tensions weren’t constantly stoking the fires of fear and hate?
Imagine how much bottled water, canned goods, peanut butter and jelly, alarm systems, or under ground bunkers would go unsold if not for “the coming race war” that many Whites are preparing for?
What would American media, right wing, mainstream, or black, for that matter, have to talk about if not for the racial divide? How would they go a day without discussing race relations, playing the race card, or seeing racism or reverse racism behind every bush?
How many billions would not be doled out by our government if not for its effort at trying to remedy racial discrimination?
How many lawyers would go begging if not for racial discrimination claims being filed?
Get the point?
Racism is deeply ingrained in our beings, our psyche, our genes, and no amount of talking is going to eliminate it.
INCONVENIENT TRUTH NO. 3: MOST AMERICANS ARE SICK AND TIRED OF DEALING WITH RACE.
I know I am.
At a time when so many African Americans are earning enormous sums of money, especially in the areas of sports, entertainment, and business, many Whites are wondering why they don’t put more of their money where their mouths are and invest in their own communities.
Instead of talking about lack of opportunities in black communities, why not create some?
When the buying power of Black Americans is projected to be around $1.2 trillion this year (yes, that’s trillions, not billions), many Whites are sick of hearing Blacks cry wolf about income disparity and lack of opportunities.
This buying power wouldn’t only make American Blacks the richest nation on the African continent, but the 14th. richest on the entire planet.
Many White Americans are rightly asking, show us the lack of money.
Conversely, Blacks are sick and tired of Whites proclaiming the end of racism when unarmed black men and women are still be shot down in the streets by police; disproportionally jailed or imprisoned by an unfair justice system; or profiled, harassed, and reported for LWBing (Living While Black).
It’s hard to claim systemic racism doesn’t exist when African Americans lag behind Whites in almost every economic, educational, and social measure in the nation.
It’s hard as hell to get up off the ground and pull yourself up by your own boot straps when someone has their knee on your neck.
Blacks are rightly thinking, even Stevie Wonder can see something is wrong here.
INCONVENIENT TRUTH NO. 4: RACISM IN AMERICA IS BASED ON TWO ENDURING DYNAMICS.
Those two dynamics are White Exploitation and Black Dependency. One could not exist without the other.
The building blocks of systemic racism in America is white exploitation of black labor and resources. It’s based on the European model of colonization where most of Europe sought to take the lands, labor, and resources of Asia and Africa for their own, and continues today.
It doesn’t matter how many millions a Black man makes a White man will make even more.
A Black man may play on the team, but in most instances, a White man must own it.
For nearly 400 years Blacks have been dependent on Whites simply because they had to. There was this little thing called slavery, you know.
Even after slavery there was segregation, the KKK, chain gangs, voter suppression, and unequal wealth attainment and distribution.
Even when Blacks start their own enterprises, in most cases, they still have to depend of Whites for manufacturing, distribution, or marketing.
It’s a catch-22 type of situation. And, even though the situation is like being in a bad marriage that neither partner is ready to let go of, we have to find a way to break the vicious cycle.
Staying together for the sake of the kids may seem admirable, but in situations like this it’s the kids that suffer the most.
In this scenario the kids are our nation, and we’re all the worse for staying in this bad marriage.
Neither side is willing to give up the spoils it gets from this unholy alliance because it’s who we are. Who we have been for nearly 400 years.
In this cottage industry of righteous indignation and grievance, both sides like to be perceived as the victim.
But, truth be told, we’re all willing participants in this race war.