The Back Room

With respect to Socrates, my unexamined life is not worth living. The front room is the face we show everyone but we hide our true self in the back room.

A Discussion on Race in America

Non-whites are judged daily by the color of their skin and the sound of their name.   I will never have to experience what non-whites go through.  I can ask questions and empathize but in my life, there is simply no comparison relational to their experience.

This distinction is important to start the discussion.  Any attempt to understand what non-whites go through is white progress not black progress.  In the 1960s Malcolm X spoke about progress and recently Chris Rock reiterated the same idea.  In America, when it comes to race, whites are the problem.  Whites are the ones who have a problem with non-whites because they look and sound different.

Yes, I think I will paint whites with a huge white brush because in America, whites are also the ones with money and power, from business to entertainment.  Whites decide what is acceptable and appropriate in this country.  Whites decide what constitutes a crime, what drug is more illegal than another drug, and who should go to jail.  Whites even decide who deserves to stay in this country.

One of the ways in which whites are the problem is in their ignorance of other races.  Difference is only kept in mind when speaking about marketability, statistics and politics.  Or to put it another way, whites only regard other races when it benefits whites.  That is the difference without a distinction.

In my opinion, the issue of race in this country has been a problem since Manifest Destiny.  When whites saw the skin difference of other races it immediately meant inferior, less than and seemingly animalistic.  It was a short trip from this verbal debasement to literal debasement.

White progress has moved slowly.  Every American generation gets a little closer to appreciating difference and further away from judging difference.  America lost some ground with the hysteria following the events of September 11, 2001 but I still have hope.

Presently, there is anger on both sides.  Anger can be healthy as a non-violent statement or in a respectful discussion.  A statement expresses a singular or collective thought but a discussion is when at least two people speak.  Both methods are attempts at communication.  We need to talk to each other more, hear each other’s stories more, and empathize with each other more.

Here is my personal statement: No race is better than another.

Until we disabuse ourselves of this notion we can’t ever be the United States.

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4 comments on “A Discussion on Race in America

  1. Lawrence Davis
    December 5, 2014

    Whew, you have just defined the very basis of institutional racism. I already said in this forum that we can’t understand America until we grasp its race issues (or words to that effect).

    I just spoke with someone today recommending Cornell West’s “Race Matters”, and earlier this morning listened to an NPR interview with Suzan Lori-Parks about her latest play. This is just to say it isn’t as if the voices aren’t there, it’s just that we are not listening. And this speaks to your point that we are not listening to each other.

    If the current mood continues we are in for some serious trouble – race, intolerance, income disparity, incarceration – and I pray that the moral arc of the universe will, as Martin said, bend toward justice.

    Patience is tough., though.

    Like

    • Andrew Davis
      December 6, 2014

      I am enjoying the dialogues happening, although many are upsetting. On a micro level, I personally have been engaging more people in discussion, particularly tuned into their perspectives and values.

      As Sam Cooke wrote, a change is gonna come.

      Like

  2. writerinsoul
    December 6, 2014

    The “old white brigade” is entrenched in fear that if other people gain (equality, rights, fairness), they will “lose.” I feel they key is convincing people they will not lose but gain by an equal playing field for all.

    Like

    • Andrew Davis
      December 6, 2014

      Some people could benefit from not seeing race as a competition but a collaboration.

      Like

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