Category Archives: Racism

The “N” Word is Back in the News

Recently in the news, the “N” word has gained the spotlight again. Someone painted the “N” word on the fence of LeBron James home and Bill Maher chose to use the word during his weekly show on HBO. I know I am writing this some time after all the hype around these situations but I wanted to wait to see if the impact of these two high profile celebrities being involved with the use of this word would change anything.

The word being painted on LeBron James’ home is horrible but the thing that I found more reprehensive was the comments from black people about the situation. In particular Jason Whitlock, Mr. Whitlock stated because LeBron is rich and famous LeBron does not experience racism like other people of color. For me the fact that anyone experiences it is the problem, and for LeBron James to experience it sends a strong message. The message is no matter how rich, famous or how many fans you have there are people who will view you as less than them. How do you tell a child that no matter what he or she accomplish in life they will be looked down on by a group of people. I have read somewhere that Yvette Carnell has agreed with Jason Whitlock in part, I admit I have not seen her video yet regarding this topic. The reason I have not watch the video is because I have respect for Yvette but from what I heard I disagree with her on this issue. I heard Yvette believes LeBron should have addressed other issue regarding the plight of black people earlier. I offer this instead of condemning a man for not being awoke before congratulate him for waking up now. No one has the right to measure the pain that LeBron has felt from having this word written on his property.

The Bill Maher situation was difficult for me because I am a faithful viewer of his show, I am not agree with his position on all topics but I generally like his show. Bill Maher tried to make a joke and as a comedian he should be allowed a certain amount of latitude, that’s what I hear from some people but on the use of the “N” word I disagree. Someone mentioned there are terms associated with other groups that people will dare not say in a public forum, so why so comfortable saying the “N” word? I watch the show after he said the word on HBO, there are two things I took away from the show regarding his use of the word. One, I agreed with Ice Cube so what if black people use the word other races cannot under any circumstances use the word. Two, the atmosphere seemed like we are supposed to be grateful that Bill Maher apologized. He apologized because people were upset that he used the word, he did not apologize because he used the word. If just a few people complained about his use of the word would he have apologized?

I stated previously I wanted to see if these situations would improve race relation or have a positive impact, just as I thought nothing positive came from these situations. In a way, the person who painted the word on LeBron James fence has won because the conversion about the issue has created a further divide between us. People are discussing that the fact he is rich racism does not impact him the same way instead of rallying on his side.

Advertisements

Has the Black Community contributed to racism? I ask this question because this question came up during a radio show I was watching the Zo What Morning Show. At first, I thought this was a strange concept but after really thinking about it and hearing some of the points that illustrate that Black community may be active participants.

Throughout America’s history, we have witnessed structural racism such as slavery, Jim Crow, and redlining just name a few. These were put in place by the government or by large institutions that have influence. These systems were put in place to subjugate the black community and keep us from evolving or surpassing our white counter parts, this ensures the other race would have an unfair advantage over black people. Throughout history, people fought and won to get rid of these laws and practices that hindered black people. These laws are now gone so why are black people still at a disadvantage? People will point to the miseducation, the influence of drugs in our communities, and the prison pipeline, but all of these things we as a community can control. We can decide to educate our children by creating our own school curriculum, we can force drugs out of our communities and police our citizens. White people cannot stop us from doing these things, so who is stopping us from elevating us and help to put an end to racism. The answer maybe we are in our own way.

Black people contribute to racism and help keep black people subjugated by thinking or acting as what the other races provide are better than what a black person provides. Antonio Moore of Tone Talks constantly talks about how the black dollar does not stay in the black community. The black dollars stays in the black community for six hours compared to the Asian community where the dollar stays in the Asian community for 28 days.  Is the reason the black dollar leaves the community so fast because black people think other race’s products are better. You always hear black business over charge, the service is not as good or the product is as not as good. Most of the times you will have to pay more at a black owned store because we do not have access to the products at a lower price. If we pay a little more this will give the owner more negotiating power to have his cost reduced because the supplier will see that the owner can purchase more product for resale. This will affect the quality of service and product.

Another area where I have personally experienced racism by one of my own is the work place. There are black people that will hold other black people back from advancing in the work place. These people believe that black people should not make more money or should not become managers, they believe they are the exception. I had a black manager who once she was being fired said she was told to get rid of all the black employees and she did so was is she being fired. I was not fired because I saw what was going on and never gave them a reason to fire me. I also watch a black manager promote people with less knowledge and a poor work ethic over black employees who deserved the promotion.

So after thinking about it, I realized racism is on auto-pilot, white people do not have to put laws in place there are black people who will practice racism on their behalf. This leads to my next question how do we get black people to stop discriminating against their own? And if cannot stop them what do we do with them?

The Functionality of Racism in America

What is the functionality of racism in America? Who benefits from racism in America? Why isn’t everyone working to end racism? Many believe this country was built on racism, if not for slavery would America have been able to build wealth. Slavery ended in 1865 so why hasn’t racism dissipated over these past hundred plus years? In my point of view and some others, racism is as strong as ever in America. In fact, one could argue that racism has increased worldwide since the end of slavery in America. Now there are some who will say that Black Americans are better off today than in the past, but this may all be imaginary. Black America’s wealth percentage has not increased compared to other ethnic groups. Racism may not be as overt as in the past but racism still exist, which begs the question why does racism still exist?

In my opinion, racism has an important functionality in America and that is why racism still exists and may forever exist in America. In my opinion, racism is being used as a tool to mask classism. Past empires practiced classism and this philosophy contributed to the downfall of these empires because the number of lower class citizens outnumbered the number of upper-class citizens. In the classism system, the lower class citizens can easily overpower the upper class. Knowing that this issue has existed throughout history there must be a system in place that will keep the lower class citizens fighting amongst each other. If the lower class citizens are fighting against each other they will not be able to unite and overthrow the upper-class citizen, hence the system of racism.

This theory about the functionality of racism in America came to me several years ago while watching the election coverage on MSNBC. The MSNBC report was interviewing people from a rural town in Mississippi, one of the gentlemen the report spoke with was an older white man, I remember the report stating that the older man’s annual income was around $12,000. The report went through a number of political issues and tried to explain to the older gentleman that it would benefit him and his family financially to support a Democrat. The reported explained that many of the items on the Democrat agenda, if passed, would have a direct impact on him and they would benefit him. The older white stated he would never vote for a democrat because all the democrats want to do is help Black and Hispanic people. The older gentleman stated he was fine with his financial situation as long as the government did not provide anything to minorities. I took two things from this news piece, one the older gentlemen felt that even though he is considered poor, being white made him better than Blacks and Hispanics. The second thing was that he is willing to do without to ensure that Blacks and Hispanics do not benefit in any way. I thought to myself that white privilege is enough and if so racism will not go away.

There are small incidents throughout American history where we see racism mask classism. In 1920’s New York; Italian immigrants, Irish immigrants, and Black lived in many of the same neighborhoods. Gang violence was high during these times because poverty was prevalent, the gangs started to prey upon the upper class. The New York officials knew the city could not sustain with so many people at the poverty level, so the officials started putting the Irish immigrants into the police force and the Italian immigrants into the fire department. This left the Black New Yorkers without any outlets and the Irish to enforce the laws. This created a middle class which meant mostly Blacks were lower class and his protected the upper class because the number of lower class citizens had decreased and the now middle-class citizen were in charge of protecting the upper class.

Martin Luther King’s assassination, when speaking with my son about MLK’s assassination he assumed the MLK was in Memphis fighting for civil rights. I explained that MLK was there in support of the sanitation workers strike. The sanitation workers were striking for better working conditions and salary. One has to ask himself was MLK assassinated because of his work in the civil right movement or because MLK’s focus started leaning towards more economic fairness for all people.

For a moment let us imagine America without racism. Without racism would citizens be upset with the huge wealth gap in America? Would the older man I mentioned earlier be so excepting of his financial situation? America’s love to complain and blame others for the country’s problems, without racism who would they blame? Would the lower class and middle class rise up against the upper class?  If my theory is correct we may never get rid of racism because America is controlled by the upper class and the last thing the upper class will allow to happen is to lose control of the country. Racism may not just have a functionality in America, racism may be the engine which keeps America on the path that is on.