Tag Archives: Racism

The Obama Effect: Race in America

With the election of Barack Obama, it was thought that America has made advances on race but are we absolutely sure that country has made advances? Has the election of Obama created more hate groups or White Supremacist Groups? Has the election of Obama created more racial tension in America? I ask these question because after the events that have taken place in Charlottesville Virginia this weekend it seems like there have not been any advancements. As many have stated in was reminiscent of the 60’s.

Obama won the popular vote during each election based on these results this meant that the majority of the country saw past race and voted for whom they believed was the best candidate. The election of Obama was a historical event, I think many people thought this was a huge advancement in race relations in this country but it seems that a small of a fraction of the country was not pleased by this. I do not have statistical data or historical data to back my opinion but it appears to me that the racial tension has escalated with the election of Obama. The killings of unarmed black people seem to have increased but one can argue these killings have always taken place and the introduction of social media has just made us more aware of these incidents. It seems the number of hate groups, Neo-Nazi, White Supremacist and Alt-Right organization have increased or have become more visible since Obama’s election. The election of Donald Trump has also fueled many of these groups, they believe they have an ally in Trump. Trump cabinets would suggest that they do have an ally, his remarks regarding the tragedy in Charlottesville suggest they have an ally. Regardless of who is aligned with whom we must be prepared for whatever is coming.

We all thought the election of Barack Obama meant the pendulum of racism had swung to the side of righteous, equality, and love of all mankind now it seems that the pendulum has swung back to the side of evil, hate, and inhumane thinking. Will the pendulum swing back or are we stuck in evil and hate? If we are stuck will this be the end of America?

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The Fears of a Father

The other day my 17-year-old asked me to teach him how to drive, of course, I said yes I will teach you. I started to think about how this is one of the father-son bonding moments. You know those moments like teaching him to play a sport or having that first talk about girls. Teaching him how to drive would be a memory that lasts forever, we would laugh at his mistakes and rejoice when he finally get the hang of it. These are the times in life when you enjoy being a parent when it just you and your son having a good time joking and laughing with one another. I went to his room and told him to go online and start studying the driver’s manual so he can go get his permit as soon as possible. After he gets the permit we can start his driving lessons.

A few days later my son came to me again and said he has finished reading the driver’s manual and he is ready to take the test. I said are you sure you are ready he said I am more than ready. I told him good we will go next week to the Department of Motor Vehicles so he can take the test. A couple of hours after this conversation my son returns, he asks me “ Dad after I pass the driver’s test, graduate from High School and starts College can you buy me a car?” I said, of course, we can get you a used car for when you go away to college. My son hug, thank me and left the room.

As soon as my son left the room a chill came over my body and my mind instantly went to Philando Castile. A fear came over me that I have never felt before I did not want my son to learn how to drive anymore. A moment that is supposed to be one of the best moments between a father and his son was taken away from me. My dream of reliving the time spent teaching my son how to drive car may not be that enjoyable to me anymore because I will always fear for his safety.

I know everyone will say you cannot let that stop you from living your life and enjoying special moments with your child. I know I will enjoy teaching him how to drive and we will have special memories from these times but there will be that fear lingering in the background. Other parents have the fear of the children getting into car accidents but as black parents, we have the additional fear of him encountering the wrong policer officer while driving. I am not going to let him know about my fears but I know I will not be able to sleep at night when he gets his car.

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.