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Thu Apr 30, 2015, 09:55 AM

Trying to understand current race relations without historical context is the height of insanity.

(Caveat: I am white. So I can't avoid the fact no matter what, I'm coming at this from a white person's perspective, and inevitably someone might accuse me of suffering from white guilt, even though no one in my family ever owned a slave and half my family was barely in this country long enough for the Jim Crow era. Still, I think I've studied enough history that I believe I know enough to speak out on the topic.)

So often I've heard the question--usually directed towards blacks and minorities although usually not expressly so--"Why do people still bring up issues of race? Can't we get beyond black and white?"

And on the surface, it might be a fair question. Consider this: If someone hypothetically had zero knowledge of history--say they were an alien from another planet--and they came across this country and they heard people talking about how people with one skin pigmentation see things differently than people with people with another skin pigmentation, they'd think we'd all be completely insane. Such a biological difference would seem so utterly trivial, so minute that it would seem--without historical context--nonsensical. I mean, besides a random corny blonde joke, do people obsess over hair color? Do people obsess over eye color, or a person's dominant writing hand? Yes, we're all technically One Human Family and none of these things should ever matter.

The problem that we cannot get around, however, is that in terms of skin, those things did matter. We live in a country that all throughout its colonial gestation and for nearly the first century of its existence allowed the enslavement of individuals exclusively with black skin. Parts of this country, including its capital city, were very literally built with slave labor. And then after slavery was finally abolished (only after the most tumultuous 5 year period in the country's history), for another century we saw laws on the books that legally sanctioned the segregation and disparate treatment of people based on skin color. And when those laws were challenged, people were beaten, sprayed with hoses, attacked with dogs and even hung from trees. Did we really expect that Brown vs. Board of Education or the Civil Rights Act of 1964 would act as a light switch that would instantly turn off all of these problems that had been festering in this country for centuries?

The fact that African Americans in this country in its present date disproportionately make up a greater percentage of people living in poverty or incarceration is no coincidence at all. But we're told over and over again that the past is in the past, slavery is long gone, Jim Crow is long gone, etc., so having race "matter" is only causing further division.

In 2015--only half a century removed from LBJ signing the Civil Rights Act of 1964--we're told race shouldn't matter. The problem is, for roughly the first 200 years of the country's existence, we were told that race did matter. We were told race mattered over and over and over again. That fact was drilled into our heads. Race was everything for that period.

In clinical terms, that's what's referred to as bipolar disorder.

I love America. I love the City of Baltimore, a city that I have a deep familial connection with and without any irony whatsoever my favorite city in the country. That we still have to have a discussion about race in 2015 infuriates me to no end. But history demands that we do, so we can attempt to reach that "more perfect union" that has been sought for over 200 years.

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Reply Trying to understand current race relations without historical context is the height of insanity. (Original post)
Tommy_Carcetti Apr 2015 OP
daleanime Apr 2015 #1
libdem4life Apr 2015 #2
Arkansas Granny Apr 2015 #3

Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Thu Apr 30, 2015, 09:57 AM

1. K&R....

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Thu Apr 30, 2015, 10:03 AM

2. Good Post. I call it the Thin Veneer of Equality. n/t

 

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Response to Tommy_Carcetti (Original post)

Thu Apr 30, 2015, 10:19 AM

3. K & R

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