Home > Uncategorized > Racial Equality: A foray into a forbidden topic by a person absolutely devoid of color

Racial Equality: A foray into a forbidden topic by a person absolutely devoid of color

I know.  I can’t talk about racism.  I’m not Black/Latino/Native American/Asian.  I’m apparently a person of no color.

I wonder what Martin Luther King Jr. would say about today’s world.  What happened to the color-blind society?  What happened to measuring a man based not on the color of his skin but the content of his character?  I look at Denzel Washington and his graceful acceptance speech at the 2002 academy awards.  Nary a mention of race, though he did mention Sidney Poitier and he made a glancing reference to the issue.  Denzel’s words were humble.  “Life has taught me to just try to be the best that I can be. And I thank the Academy for saying to me that on this given night I was the best that I could be.”  I believe that he was given the academy award for being the best actor that year.  Period.  He is one of the best actors working today.

Compare that to Halle Berry’s best actress acceptance speech that same year.  “This moment is so much bigger than me. This moment is for Dorothy Dandridge, Lena Horne, Diahann Carroll. It’s for the women that stand beside me, Jada Pinkett, Angela Bassett, Vivica Fox. And it’s for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened.”  Now, to be honest, Ms. Berry was also humble in her acceptance.  I have a problem with her speech, though.  She talked about a door being opened that night.  Almost as though it had nothing at all to do with her acting ability.  While this was a humble stance to take, it took away from any other actor or actress of color who won an award that night and made it look as though all awards, past and present, had been decided on a racial basis.  At least, partially.  And Hollywood would have us believe they are the least racist of anyone in the world.

Fast forward to 2008.  The US elected its first Black President.  A huge achievement, yes?  I agree.  It was a big deal.  I didn’t vote for him, though.  Not because he’s Black.  Because his ideas don’t match up to what I think the US stands for and should be.  I have personally been told that my disagreement with President Obama’s politics are racially motivated.  I was told that by a White person. I have Black friends who would agree with me.

I believe that racism is alive in the US as it is in many parts of the world.  I also think that it comes in all races.  I know Black people who are racist against “Mexicans” but not against Whites.  I know Mexican people who believe they are “La Rasa”, meaning “The Race”  and everyone else is “racista” if they don’t agree.  I know other Latinos who are not Mexican but have been called that by White people, because “all those folks look the same.”  Yes, racism is alive and well in the US.

I also believe that racism is on the decline in the US.  Yes.  I want to protect our borders from illegal immigration.  That is not at all motivated by racism.  I commented on another blog that I am for allowing Mexican workers to come into the US on an unlimited basis IF Mexico would allow US workers to work down there on an unlimited basis.  This would raise the standard of living in Mexico and lower the cost of living in the US.   It would also lower wages in the US.  What can I say?  I’m for free trade even when it comes to labor.  I just want to know who is here.

I believe it is on the decline in the US because I watch people.  Young people are more likely to have close relationships with people of other races than I was.  I know that my parents would have had no problem with me having Black friends.  They would have had a HUGE problem with me having a Black girlfriend.  Their reasons, in their own minds, would be about opportunities for our children were we to marry, or about society’s problems with mixed-race people.  Those ideas don’t hold water.  They never did, to be honest, but now, multiracial families are fairly common and I don’t think most people think twice about it.

I had a wake up call on my own attitudes about it when a White girl I had a crush on in college started dating a Black man.  I was more full of resentment than if she had started dating a White man, even though the Black man was a friendly acquaintance of mine.  That realization caused me to look very hard a my own attitudes.  I had to make adjustments to my mind.  I had to pray for acceptance.  I’d like to say there is not one iota of racism left in my heart.  I don’t know that to be true.  I guess we’ll see when my son brings home a Black/Latino/Native American/Asian girlfriend.  I hope I find I’m perfectly okay with it.  I’m praying I am.

–Galatians 3:28 “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.”

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  1. August 5, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Great post, Bill!

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