Jul 25, 2013

Political and social commentator Keith Boykin wrote a very interesting commentary for BET.com that I felt the need to share.  Boykin, in this article, does a wonderful job of trying to explain the disconnect between whites and blacks when it comes to the issue of racism.

Please read the article and tell me what you think.

Here is what he wrote:

So what explains the disconnect?

Years ago, I heard a law professor explain what I call the "magnet analogy." Remember those big red and silver horseshoe magnets from high school? Now imagine you had to walk around the world with a huge horseshoe magnet on your neck. Aside from the heavy burden of carrying the extra weight, you'd quickly see the world a lot differently from those without the magnet.

The first thing you'd notice – there's a lot of metal in the world. Keys, coins, cell phones, even appliances would suddenly get a lot more of your attention. Why? Because the magnet attracts them. But those without the magnet would continue to remain oblivious to the metal assault on your body.

That's the experience for African-Americans every day. We're surrounding and inundated by the metal of racism while those who do not carry the magnet of Blackness remain oblivious to our experience. To them, racism is a thing of the past.

The problem is we need to recognize how new and subtle forms of race bias have replaced the old overt acts of racial discrimination. Maya Wiley of the Center for Social Inclusion explains how brain science has identified subconscious racial bias taking place in "nanoseconds" at subliminal levels. "There's something that police officers and college students and George Zimmerman all have in common," she told MSNBC's Melissa Harris Perry recently. "And that is that they're more likely to shoot a black man with a wallet than they are to shoot a white man with a gun." They call it "shooter bias."

Unfortunately, our laws and our public discourse haven't kept up with the changes in racism. Many whites are still stuck in the 1960s image of overt bigotry, of Klansmen burning crosses and segregationist governors blocking schoolhouse doors. They may know a parent or a grandparent who still uses the N-word, but as long as they refrain from using it themselves then they can't possibly be racist, they think.

But Paula Deen aside, modern racism isn't really about the N-word. New code words like Detroit, Chicago, "Stand Your Ground," voter ID, food stamps and welfare now carry the same impact with dog whistle messages too subtle to be reported by many in the media. This seemingly race-neutral language allows the majority to engage in public discourse under the mantle of innocence and thus dismiss the vestiges and effects of hundreds of years of legally sanctioned white supremacy. The only racists in this vision are the people who complain about racism.

Click here to read the entire article

1 comment:

  1. His last two paragraphs said it all. At the same time, I contend that if anybody listens for just a few minutes, our plight is not that difficult to understand. It may be hard to take because it challenges an established belief system, but by no means is it hard to understand. I hold to the notion that to acknowledge it ultimately requires accountability and responsibility and many whites don't want to go there. So they'd rather deny and deflect.