On Racism in the News

racecoverThink about how “race” has been a headline the past 10 days. Yep, race, that label humans attach to other humans because how one looks.

We have our first African-American president, who actually is biracial; whom many voted for or against because of race. We have a distinguished professor of Black culture at a prestigious university making calls of racism against an officer who also trains peers against racial profiling.

We have a presidential news conference with President Obama making a mistake when answering a question. As fellow blogger Tim Valentine explained to me, the president answered as a Black man and not as a president. Yes, Tim, thanks for helping me understand.

We have a Latina nominated to the highest court amidst charges of racism in judicial ruling, yet none have been cited. We have a senator voting against her because of potentially biased judgment, yet he was denied a spot on the Federal court because of his racial views.

We have a Fox News Commentator calling President Obama a racist. We have countless of viewpoints on race from columnists and bloggers. We have CNN airing a news documentary, Black in America 2 (which I watched), and the first promotion of their fall news documentary Latino in America.

We have a Boston policeman accused of making inflammatory, racist remarks; yet who knows have many other incidents across the USA and around the world that were racist and didn’t produce a major headline.

Change in racial attitude requires 4 key steps: education, reflection, admittance, and reconciliation. Put another way, we have to learn to increase our awareness, examine our personal beliefs, admit our short comings, and actively seek to change what we do.

I think of a recent interview I saw when a person said they had just boarded an airplane and then noticed both pilots were Black. Yes, he initially wondered about whether or not they could fly the plane, BUT he caught himself. Besides admitting to himself that the thoughts were ludicrous, he also publically talked about his thoughts being wrong.

Pope John Paul II going to the prison to forgive his shooter is remarkable forgiveness. In terms of race, I recall the meeting between Elwin Wilson and Rep John Lewis (D-Ga).

Earlier in the year I posted about my trip to the Understanding Race exhibit that toured through Cincinnati. It was a great learning experience. The exhibit is currently in Philadelphia (Franklin Institute) through 9/7/09 before opening a several month stay in Los Angeles (California Science Center) in late September. If you get a chance, go to learn about yourself. FYI: The exhibit’s online site is also a great resource and includes a virtual tour.

We’ve come so far in the past 50 years, but the journey still has a long way to go. I sincerely wish that race was irrelevant – unfortunately it isn’t – but maybe that day of irrelevance will come in the future. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but I wonder what will happen first, racial irrelevance or the fall of the new Rome … personally I hope for racial irrelevance.

Additional Information

Image courtesy of the American Anthropological Association