Some in the American government and in the media have made the proclamation that “racism is dead”, at least here in the United States. If you ask me, the people saying this are either overly idealistic and naïve or they’re willfully ignoring facts. Because the sad fact of the matter is, racism is far from dead. It’s just not as overt as it used to be, it’s become subtler so it can thrive without being reprimanded or outcasted by the majority of Americans who don’t believe in racism or think it’s immoral.

Need proof? The Southern Poverty Law Center estimates that there are over 200 known hate groups in the United States, with Ohio having 31, New York 42, and California 77. Other large states have many different hate groups, most having racist beliefs, and the states with fewer hate groups are more likely to have groups that can be categorized as Neo-Nazi, White Nationalist, KKK, Racist Skinhead, Black Separatist, and General Hate. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg! Just imagine how many small or new hate groups out there the SPLC has yet to document! The numbers are scary if you think about it.

And then there are recent episodes where racism has reared its ugly head and broadcast all over the media. Cliven Bundy recently remarked that he believes that blacks (or as he calls them, “negros”) were better off under slavery than they are now, because apparently not learning to pick cotton has lead to them being on government welfare, aborting kids, and sending their young men to jail (I could write an entire post on the meshuggas of this guy if I wanted to, but why bother? He’s obviously nuts and in the end the federal government will force him to pay the money or send him to jail, possibly with his militia friends in tow). And then he acts like the victim when reasonable people are offended by his words and says MLK Jr. didn’t finish his job.

First off, Mr. Bundy seems to forget that slavery was not a walk in the park. It was inhumane, cruel, and caused the deaths of untold millions. He also doesn’t seem to realize that there is much more to why some African Americans are on welfare, mostly because they are not afforded the economic, environmental, and social resources to help them get off welfare. Plus not all blacks are on welfare, aborting babies, or in jail. Our President identifies as black*, and he’s not on welfare (unless you count living in a government building and receiving your paycheck through taxpayer money welfare), has two beautiful daughters, and has never been to jail unless it’s been to talk to prisoners.

*Yes, he identifies as black. It’s not a biological thing, but a social construct. Amazing that we make such a big thing over a construct of our minds, but there you go. (see this post for more)

And is being on welfare necessarily a bad thing? Mr. Bundy’s ancestors were brought from Nevada on a welfare program, if I remember correctly. So don’t preach like you’re better than them, because your life is the result of welfare programs, Mr. Bundy. And by the way, don’t blame a dead man for what’s in your heart. You have only yourself to blame for your racist beliefs, and if people are offended, it’s because there is still reverberations in our own society resulting from the darkness in our past. No covering up will rid our nation of that darkness, and people are right to be offended by your remarks. At the very least, you can be considered callous, if not outright racist.

And then there’s Donald Sterling, who’s been banned from the NBA and forcibly relieved of the LA Clippers because he didn’t want his biracial mistress seen with black people. Some people say he may be senile, others say he’s worried about his performance, and others just say he’s a racist pig. I think that whatever he is, he is a hypocrite because his team is mostly black and he’s seeing a woman who is half-black, and that his hypocrisy, as we have seen, is his downfall.

It is nice to know that the same weekend we all started talking about Sterling, Family Guy had a wonderful episode that dealt with racism, not just from whites but from blacks as well. And it is nice to know that we are having a dialogue about this, that we are not trying to sweep racism under the rug or deny that it exists. That’s like trying to ignore a serious medical condition or disorder in the hopes that it goes away. Just doesn’t work out in the end.

You know, the Supreme Court is right: a lot has changed since the Civil Rights Acts were passed. We are now a more technological, global, connected society. We recycle in the hopes of not accelerating the destruction of the Earth, and the idea of a black man or a woman running for President is no longer ludicrous, but the former has become a successful reality (twice!) and the latter is welcomed by a huge majority of the country.

However racism is still a problem in this country, and it is something we will have to deal with if this country is to continue to grow and prosper. So denying racism and saying it’s dead isn’t the answer. Rather, open dialogue and a lot of love and understanding is. And we need to have more of it.

Oh, and to the KKK guy in that one news clip who says he has black friends but doesn’t believe in “racial mixing”, where are your black friends exactly? Do they know you wear a KKK robe? And could you bring me an article from an accredited medical journal published in the past ten years that says “racial mixing” is a bad thing? I would love to see it!

  1. I just reread Southern Horrors by Ida B. Wells. Another good book is The New Jim Crow.

  2. Oh yes, it is a sad state of affairs and it does make it seem like the problem is spiking doesn’t it? Oh, and did you hear about the torrent of racist twitter comments that happened after the Bruins lost to the Montreal Canadiens? Specifically, those directed at Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban?

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