Aug 23, 2011

 
 
 
Label me cynical, but I don't understand why all the racist stuff that is taking place during this time is still surprising us.  Has the political correct society we live in made us blind to the realities of the world?  Did we actually drank the post-racial Kool-Aid surrounding the election of on Barack Obama?  Did we actually think we all would come together and hold hands while singing Kumbaya?  I just don't get it. 
 
We still live in a time when the only time a black actress can receive acclaim for her work is when she is either playing a maid, letting a white man sex her after he executed her husband, or a welfare queen who allows her daughter to be molested while also molesting her as well.  Every year during Fashion Week (I don't care in what city), we always complain about the lack of diversity on the runways and the lack of designers of color, and yet nothing changes.  We continue to buy the clothes that are put out there and support the magazines that are hard pressed to put into them women and men who look like us.  We still give these people our hard earned money while expecting them to change their practices.  What is the incentive for them to change if they're still going to get our money?
 
My inbox was full yesterday with people complaining about Vogue Italia advertising 'Slave Earrings'.  Before that people were all in a huff about Nivea basically calling black men who don't rock a fab 'uncivilized'.  Don't get me wrong, people were justified in their outrage, but I honestly don't know why any of this would surprise us.  For me, it just solidifies something I already knew. 
 
Racism is a festering wound that we hoped would healed itself.  Instead of cutting the infection out, we just placed a bandaged on it and hoped that the stench of the rotting flesh would somehow disappear.  But just like any smell, our olfactory nerves became saturated with it to the point we could no longer detect the smell and thus we thought it was gone.  But yet racism is still very much alive and well in this country and all over the world (just look at what is going on in London).  We just don't have the heart to deal with it.
 
We make excuses for people racist rants and behavior.  People like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are given entire platforms to spew their bigotry, and yet nothing changes.  Now if these people were spewing anti-Semitic ramblings please believe there would be no way their voices would be heard in the mainstream (ask Mel Gibson about that), but it's okay for them to beat their racist drums about people of color.  It's okay for Glenn Beck to say that if President Obama doesn't win re-election that there is going to be a race riot or that our President is inherently racist against white people.  Saying that type of stuff is okay in mainstream media.  Hell, it may even land you on the cover of Time magazine if you play your cards right.
 
So, why are we still surprised?  Am I crazy, but are people of color (and some well intention Caucasians) the only ones hoping for a post-racial society?  We want a post-racial society so bad that we are willing to turn a blind eye to some of the most overtly racist things that are going on.  It always amazes me when I hear black people say, "I try my best not to take it to race" even when the racism is staring them in the face.  We want so much to believe that we've overcome but the truth of the matter is that there is much work to be done.  Jim Crow is not something that happened 200 years ago.  There are people very much alive that were influenced by the oppression of that era.  This is a fact and it's something that we have to deal with head on and stop hiding our heads in the sand and hoping it will just go away.
 
Racism is not going away any time soon.  As long as we continue to elevate one segment of our society over another, it will never end.  At the rate we are going, we'll still be having this argument 20 years from now.  Until everybody make a conscious effort to learn about the intricacies of other people's cultures, these types of things will continue to happen.  And I will continue to not be surprised.
 
<Drops mic, as I step off my soap box>

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