Racism Recalled

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Will you join with me in a quest to recall racism? Racism is overdue and does not belong in our civilized world. It will take more than a strong resolve to tackle racism. Racism is caused by some and experienced by others. Racism in any shape or form is an unconscionable, inhumane and disgusting way of living your life especially in the global village that is hurting so bad. This economic crisis has underlined the fact that we are all in this together. We are all hurting as a result of the greed of some. We all need to be engulfed by an epidemic of hope, support and camaraderie.

In any nation where racism is thriving, we are all losers whether we are the exploiter-losers or the exploited-losers. In the short term, racism may look like a good thing but in the long run we lose. You cannot reach the goal of a non-racial society if you leave racism, unchecked. You cannot be a coward if you want to tackle racism, head-on. Racism has to be confronted, personally. Racism has to be recalled, by you! Even your de facto majority is not a license to be racist.

Racism refers to certain “superior” attitudes and actions of some people that in some way disadvantage other people on the basis of their deemed to be “inferior” race. This negative value judgment is both morally wrong and indefensible because of its intentions and its consequences. You may have grown up with racism. Racism may have been entrenched by the attitude of your parents, your synagogue, your church, your mosque or your school, your college or your primary system. So much so that racism “happens” subconsciously. You are responsible for your racism.

We need to revisit the way individuals interact with others. Just take a look at the courtesies we bestow, one upon the other. We need to just observe how downright rude we can be to one another especially in public spaces. I have often come away from these observations with the conviction that I could see nothing else at play but racism. When someone literally pushes you out of sequence in a line at a ticket booth or at the grocery store it is appalling, and even more so if that person is from another race. I have had many encounters with racists. One that stands out is what happened on a flight between Charlotte and Phoenix. The gentleman (of another race) took the magazine and placed it between my shoulder and his shoulder and he actually requested that I should not touch him. Wow! Racial categories appear biological but have an impact on social interactions and sanctions. Racial categories in the United States often appear mutually exclusive but may in fact be overlapping. Right now you can be African-American, Native-American, and Caribbean-American.

We need to look at racism in the institutions of our society. The quality of the interactions between people is a good barometer of the racism inherent in society. If you have an organization whose management consists only one race and the workers are comprised of all the other races then something is amiss. Why are minorities not allowed in the power sharing and management of the institution and or organization? We need to look at promotions and career ladders because often racism is the glass ceiling that prevents people from upward mobility. We need to look at the social and institutional structures that disadvantage groups by denying them access because of their race.

We need to look at institutionalized racism or racism that is so entrenched in the way society operates that it becomes normative. Racism has a long history and as such has seemingly benefited some while definitely denying opportunities to others.

No legislation or act of congress can undo what has been done and approved by governments and institutions under the banner of racism. No-one can erase the pain suffered as a result of racism.

We need to do something more than agree that racism is wrong. We need to engage in exploratory dialogues about race. Definitely, a national truth and reconciliation exercise can lead the nation to understanding and forgiveness en route to reconciliation and national rebuilding efforts.

We need to resolve to not allow people to make racist jokes or remarks in our presence. If there is not an ear to listen; there will not be a tongue to whisper. We need to be aware of our own racism, prejudice and stereotyping. We need to unlearn old habitual ways of interacting with other races and if needs be seek counseling to learn new ways of interaction. Do something about the recall of racism, now.

After all is said and done, more is said than done. God forbid.

Please send me an email stating your willingness to work on this project to come up with solutions to eradicate this social problem.

I am in the process of publishing my first book containing my memories of childhood and the conflicting images in the nuanced reality of apartheid in South Africa: Flatline to Change.

Leave a Reply