Wednesday, November 5, 2008

The Confederate States of America?

I know, I almost threw up writing that crap. The reason I question the confederate states of America is because this presidential race and historic event has exposed the ugly head of racism that has hid below the surface for so long. Racism is a clever animal, it has been so well hidden that most middle class Americans have believed the lie that it no longer exists.
Before you stop reading and say he must be some overly emotional African-American kid pumped up just because a “black” president won the president elect stop and read, just give me a chance. I am a Caucasian-American who grew up in the inner city of Jacksonville and was fortunate enough to grow up with ethnic diversity so am sensitive to any racism, even if it is subtle and soft spoken. I think the subtle and soft spoken racism is actually more toxic that the overt bigots we have all grown to hate. The danger with the soft spoken and subtle kind is that it has turned into jokes and comments said off the cuff. If you ask the average American the question, “Are you racist?” they would gasp and say, in an almost offended tone of voice, “No,” without hesitation.

I’ll offer you a couple of examples of this hatred brewed in jest that I came across within the last 24 hours:

I get a forward text message (which I hate by the way) and it says (and I quote, seriously, this is a quote, not a joke):

“Early voting results are in! Obama is in the lead, however that is expected to change at 5:30 when white people get off work.”

It was hard for me to quote that and even invest my fingers’ energy to type that bull crap. But I’m not done folks, read the next one:

I’m standing at a ladies desk today giving her some feedback on a new system I helped build and am kind of acting as a manager for (within my group). I am telling her to put fifty into a particular field, now that is fifty, as in fifty dollars. Well, my other co-worker says jokingly, “Nah you mean fiddy.” That was funny because everyone I work with is older and you wouldn’t expect to hear slang from them. That’s not where the racism starts though. My other co-worker begins to correct me as I am laughing at the other one who said fiddy, but stops himself half way through the correction and says, “Well, maybe it is fiddy, we did get that new president…”

I know, you are probably, or should be, getting a little more frustrated and in shock, but I’m not done, just one more example:
A friend of mine that I work out with walks into the gym. We are all shooting around getting ready to play a basketball game. He walks in and high fives every African-American person in the room and says, “We did it!” Then he says to me, “I bet you had a rough night, you doing ok?”

I’m fired up at this point because this is the third occurrence of out right racism I have heard and it finally has just worn me thin. I respond to him, “You are a racist bro, you assume because I’m white I am upset that Obama won, don’t come at me like that!” I respond to my bigoted co-worker with, “You are horrible you know, that was a racist comment, please walk away.” I respond to my friend’s text by telling him he is a racist and to never send me crap like that. Surprise surprise, imagine what their responses to me are? “I’m not racist.” This makes me laugh out of anger, you know the kind that you choose to laugh rather than scream? Racism is still alive, it is sad that in a time when this leader need support the most all we can think about is his race. I’d be willing to bet a lot of money that President Obama would tell you himself that he didn’t win this one for the “blacks” or that he feels like he accomplished something special just because he is a “black” man.

Side note, the reason I put “white” and “black” in quotations is because I have never seen a white person or a black person. We are all different tones, some darker than others, others lighter than some, but all tones, not one extreme or the other. To separate is unhealthy in my opinion. We have different heritages, but are all one color, just different tones. Also, I’m not a huge Obama fan, I’m not a supporter who thinks he is a savior or anything crazy like that. I’m not a McCain supporter either. I’m offering a truly unbiased opinion because both sides have their pros and cons.

Do you see where I’m going with this yet? What are the driving issues behind little smart comments or text messages like that? What is really driving a “black” man to only celebrate Obama’s win with those of the same race? Why is his assumption that “white” people are sad and not having a good day or need condolence from him? The answer is that there is a deep deep issue that has not been resolved within them. If there is anything in you that makes you laugh at the race jokes or isolate yourself to one race of people and not include others of another, you my friend have a bit of racism in your blood, in your heart.

Martin Luther King Jr. put his life into creating equality and putting an end to racism in America and would be enthralled to see that America has come so far. I mean America (as a whole, sweeping generalization obviously) came from thinking African-Americans were not even allowed human rights to electing an African-American to lead our country. MLK, however, would be deeply burdened and angry at the residual racism that still infest this country. I thought that the North won, I thought this was the United States of America, not the confederate states. Shadows of the racism many gave their lives for still haunt our current society and it bothers me.

May you search yourself for any ugly left overs, any hints at racism, anything that would lead you to make crude statements or jokes, may you search yourself and pray the God of Heaven would rid you of this poison!

PS…I am listening to the Flobots, listen to the song Anne Braden, track 10, it touches on this issue a little.


  1. hey man, I feel you're frustration as well, but, keep in mind...I grew up in Indiana-heard this crap all the time and in some circles still do......the fact that Indiana went Democrat, first of all, but also for a black man is indication that we're growing up. That hate and racism isn't nearly as bad as it used to be. I'm not saying there are any excuses for what you heard, or that it doesn't still exist-but I have to admit, I got all choked up election night knowing that in a huge way racism WAS overcome Tuesday-even here in the hoosier state. Good posts btw.


  2. hey Kurt, thanks for your comment, I agree that this election showed the amazing growth from the 60's to today. MLK would be very happy to see the opportunity for a "black" man to get into office. I think we just still need a lot of work and cannot ignore this major issue facing the church.

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