Thursday, August 18, 2011

Racism still exists, America. It's just gotten very subtle.

One of the things White folks need to get through their heads is that African-Americans do listen, do pay attention, and do know all the code words and behaviors.

Why? It's a matter of survival for us. We have lived in a world, a world that existed as recently as 50 years ago, within my Father's lifetime, where an African-American saying the wrong thing, or merely looking at someone the wrong way could get them killed.

Don't believe me? Ask Emmett Till. To esoteric a reference for you, then why don't you try Amadou Diallo or Abner Louima?

Of course, they represent the most extreme form of racism.  Today, it's form is far more supple, downright invisible until it strikes.

The election of an African-American President is a historical step forward for us as a society and a nation, it does not mean America has moved past its at times very racist self.

No, we don't have crosses burned on our lawns.  We're not called every name but a child of god.  That's the past.  Now, we just have our authenticity questioned.  If you're like me, you have extra eyes following you around the store when you shop, or you see the bag get clutched a little tighter when you're on the elevator.  (Or you're told over and over again that the movie that offends you shouldn't offend you).

If you're the President, you're hounded (repeatedly) for your birth certificate.  If you're his wife, you're right to complain is cut off.

Consider what Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry says in this piece, and what it says about the view that fundamentally, there's a certain part in the lizard-brain of American that simply will never view me as a "real" American.

What should scare you (Lord knows it scares me) is that I've found these lizard-brain reactions not just in Conservatives, but Liberals as well.