This conversation around the historical and common practice of “racialization” is something that my current undergraduate students often find challenging to grasp. As I read and hear about posts on social media that vehemently inject racialized hate about the re-election of POTUS Obama, I am left with that question which I have entitled this blog post. “Are we further repealing the past in our efforts to make race invisible?
What makes this question even more significant is that we are seeing more attacks on such policies as Affirmative Action and increased claims of “reverse racism” in many areas of society such as higher education. What makes this climate one that causes us to struggle so much with the past as we say that we are seeking to create a better one for our future generations? Now, post-election, with all the talk of voter suppression reported, the U.S. Supreme Court is preparing to hear a new yet old attack. This attack is on a particular section (5) of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. There are a host of other instances attempting to make ideas of race invisible on the surface yet none offer ways to make the legacy which is racism disappear.
Without providing a long historical review of what racism has been in this country, I challenge you as a reader to engage your own thinking about these presented instances where race is central to the thrust of the action. Whether it be laws or social/cultural norms, we must continue to remind ourselves that race as abstract and uncomfortable a subject to discuss as it is is still a major thread within the fabric of this country. We are better served acknowledging the huge elephant in the china shop instead of acting like we don’t understand how the fine china was broken.
What are your thoughts?
I do feel there there is a desire to repeal the past in order to make our pasts invisible. I don’t think however that it is being done out of a desire to even the playing field or out of any sense of fairness at all. It is being (attempted) by the guilty conscience of a certain segment of the populace who feel that denial is a remedy to avoid the issue at hand. The same who think if they say enough times that, racism doesn’t exist, then those of us who are targeted by it and witness it as a daily way of life,will begin to believe the facade they would like to successfully create.
Before we can level the playing field we have to first respect the diversity and history or everyone and respect their unique cultural experience as an american and it is in that like experience that we can bond. As long as we have one who fancies themselves an elitist and more american than someone who is just as much an american, if not more than them then you are going to have a push from the disrespected party. That push is a push against the attempt to marginalize the historical and unique cultural experience of a whole segment of the population, all to ease the guilty conscience of some who are feeling some kind of way about it . They aren’t held responsible for the qualifying event (slavery) it is the perpetuation of the inequality, racism, and disenfranchisement borne out of that which some are adamant about keeping alive via policy. Stop trying to hold on to Tera… and the Antebellum south.. It Is GONE .. get over it …
Chet W. Sisk said:
I believe in some past era of humanity (probably before all known records) humanity was “higher” than where we are now. In that time, we could have legitimate discussions as you propose and get informed and contemplative answers. But that’s not humanity today. Asking the question about race only exposes the underbelly of who we are at this point and time. Why there is push back against reviewing the past to perhaps make a fairer way forward is simply not part of the current world view in the US for many of its citizens. We can take refuge in the fact that the majority of these people are older — of a bygone day. The privileged ruling class (or even those who THINK they are in the privileged ruling class) are primarily made up of old men not interested in sharing the power that they believe they so rightly deserve. What your suggesting is sharing, and that is antithetical to their world view. Strange that we should stand in a place like this, considering the fact that nature actually favors sharing and cooperation for the survival of a species. Somehow, a group of people got together and decided that they could outdo nature and create another way into the future that did not involve sharing, did not involve intellect without discipline or information without context, or did not involve anyone that did not look like them. The world view clearly published in Lothrope Stoddard’s 1920 book The Rising Tide Of Color is struggling to maintain itself in 2012 and in the face of overwhelming change. I would postulate that what we are witnessing is Nature’s attempt to restore the share and cooperative essence in an imbalanced world that is ultimately not sustainable. This is a defining moment in the history of humanity. Instead of loathing the challenges, we should be celebrating the shift.