This series explores the ways in which the predominating forces in this country are trying to force the country into a “post-race” era despite the country’s lack of achievements in racial equality. The end result will be a disarming of the disenfranchised and an increase in loopholes for which prejudice and racism will begin to prevail.
As much as the mainstream would to believe that America is moving into an era post racism, everything about our society illustrates that we are far from that reality.
So, then I wonder how anyone can imagine that America is ready for a post-race thing. It’s certainly an enchanting fantasy or maybe even an ideal to reach for, but we must never think that it is reality. The above chart generates a question that the answer to which does not lend itself to the concept of post-race ideology. The first question the chart creates is how and why is it possible (if all races are on an equal platform for opportunity) for White people who make up 64% of the United States population control 88% of the country’s wealth? If the answer to that question is some reference to the cultural deficiency of any particular group, then that suggestion in itself reeks of racism in its truest form. If the answer is that White people have historically been the dominant class and therefore that wealth has survived and/or increased through the generations, then again we draw the conclusion that there’s a problem there and it depends upon race.
However, I have thought about what society would be like if we as a country decide that we have conquered our race issues. I recently ran across an article published in Vibe magazine and I thought, that’s what will happen if we begin to believe that we live in a post-race society.
Vibe magazine published an article offering advice on “How To Apologize For A Racist Moment.” They called it channelling Olivia Pope in crisis management. The advice was given by Melissa Agnes, crisis management expert. She takes several real life examples of racist remarks that garnered an individual negative publicity. As I read through the article my stomach turned.
The first issue I took with the article was the the fact that it made the discussion of public racism a conversatinoal topic such as one might have in the breakroom with a co-worker. The article calls these incidents “racial faux pas.” Seriously, faux pas?? And the advice that is offered by the crisis management expert is standard Public Relations damage control strategy. So we are now going to say that racist slips are more PR than Freudian? The entire article trivializes the struggle against racism and devalues the reality of racist oppression.
The other issue is the fact that this article was published in a Black publication. It’s as if the Black community is saying it’s okay if you slip up and verbally call me a nigger the way you have been doing mentally all you have to do is clean up the image of the context. In one advisement Agnes addresses the mishap of Miguel who ranted on twitter that “Black people are the most judgmental people in the world.” Agnes’ advice was that Miguel didn’t have to apologize if he swiftly explaining why he said what he said. She states: “he didn’t have to apologize. He opened the door for an intellectual conversation.” Let me mention here that I have never been sure that I would classify Miguel’s statement as racist given that he is bi-racial. However, Agnes’ advice for this mishap is supposed to be able to apply to other contexts and what it suggests is that sometimes it is okay to not apologize for racist comments. So is this to imply that angry responses to racism are an emotional issue??
There is something very disturbing about a Black publication encouraging the notion that racist statements are minor oopsies for which a little damage control and public relations savvy can remedy. Of all angles to take on this subject they chose some corny gimmick (the play off Scandal) that actually promotes the neutralizing – not eradicating – of racial discrimination.
We are on a slippery slope in the struggle battle against racism and the struggle against post-racial ideology. This could not have been a worse time to present such notions to the world. Certainly to some this may seem like not a big deal but it will be a big deal because it is indicative of what can be expected if those supporters of a post race society are successful. If the idea that America, right now, is a post racial society becomes an accepted notion, then we will have reduced the conversation about racism to minor faux pas that can be cleaned up with savvy PR tactics.
I’m not sayin; I’m just sayin,
An Angry Black Man