Wednesday, April 2, 2008

The black discussion

I've come upon a Washington Times article quoting Condolleeza Rice on the racial divide that is still evident in our modern society.
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said yesterday that the United States still has trouble dealing with race because of a national "birth defect" that denied black Americans the opportunities given to whites at the country's very founding.

"Black Americans were a founding population," she said. "Africans and Europeans came here and founded this country together — Europeans by choice and Africans in chains. That's not a very pretty reality of our founding."
Agreed, Secretary Rice. However, is it not the continued dwelling on this fact that continues to set us back in our "graying" of the divide between black and white skin colors in our communities?

She continued: As a result, Miss Rice told editors and reporters at The Washington Times, "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that."

"That particular birth defect makes it hard for us to confront it, hard for us to talk about it, and hard for us to realize that it has continuing relevance for who we are today," she said. Why is it so hard for us? We all know our history and the impact of slavery and divisions between skin colors and how that is still impacting America. Why can we not move past it?

Even last week in the Wisconsin Supreme Court contest's first debate, Justice Louis Butler called upon his own skin color- proudly marking it as an honorable distinction. He is proud "to have been the first African American Justice on the Supreme Court." Later he claimed he was a child of the civil rights movement, that people died for his rights, etc. While it is true, why does it have to be highlighted? Why is it part of the conversation, or something that should impact an election?

If you don't vote for the black man, are you racist? If you do, does that mean you are more accepting of skin color and ready to move out of the past? OR, as black person would you be racist because you are voting solely on skin color?

I believe it is up to all of us- old and young, political figures and everday Joes, to recognize our history for what it is and to move forward from that.

The more we tip-toe around politically correct phraseology and allow politicians to bring the discussion back to race, the longer we will dwell on that negative history and continue to pit black against white.

Talk about it. Talk about race and differences and societal stigmas in school when it's taught in history class. Bring the white and black cliques together. They already "know they are all humans, just with different skin pigmentations" and roll their eyes - because we're just not allowing them to accept that and recognize their common human attributes. We keep bringing the discussion back to race and re-dividing. Teachers and politicians, members of the media and I'm sorry to say - more black people than white- are drawing the attention to skin color differences.

When's it going to change, if not now?

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