Post-Racial & Post-Editing

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Yesterday, AOL News posted a piece I wrote about the idea of post-racial America. In short, I feel this country will become “post-racial” the second after Waka Flocka Flame beats Akeelah in the next spelling bee.

What ended up being published was a very tamed and poll-stat friendly version of the sentiments I sought to convey.

And yet, I was still met with the typical emails:

You’re lucky that you’ve got AOL and other left-wing media giving racial preference positions to black racist “writers” like you.

Your boy Obama is a typical black racist, too. He proved it after the Henry Louis Gates incident – an incident which I notice didn’t come up in your tired old AOL Lexis-Nexis rehash.

Americans aren’t racist. They just don’t like racists like you.

White haters like you will ALWAYS be pointing out that our efforts are not good enough. I am convinced that it never will be!  The problem does not lie with us, sir.  Whites have made tremendous, even more than acceptable, strides. The problem is that blacks have NOT.

This country has come a long way in racial relations; shame on you for using your intellect to set this effort back to the 1960’s with your slick rhetoric.

Until we as a country stop dumbing down and giving everything to the blacks there will always be racism.

Tea Party huh? Those people are pissed at the government, it’s not a race thing fool.

I was polite in my responses (but later marked them all as spam, no worries) and was greeted with retorts like this:

Thank you for replying to my email. And thank you especially for replying in a white voice. It was mighty white of you.

And as for me being a racist, I gave $100 to Alan Keyes during his campaign against Obama during the 2004 Illinois Senate race. I’d gladly have Keyes or Condoleezza Rice for President, especially in preference to the chocolate Pied Piper.

None of these responses surprised me. Anytime you mention the word “racist” there will be plenty of people ready to shout “YOU LIE!” as if you’re acting like some fancy Negro who thinks he like runs the country.

A hit dog will holler indeed.

What gets me, though, is that what was published was so mild. For me at least.

If you’d like to read it, click here.

You would’ve thought I said, “I want to stab those tea party folks and you fancy liberals with my Black power fist Afro pick!”

I can only imagine what would have been said of me had my original piece ran as is. I actually think that one had a bit more nuance to it albeit obviously more pointed in its criticism. I took aim at white liberals as much as I did conservatives, which is at the core my main point. I never intended to say all whites are bad. I think it’s silly to believe that, but some people can’t take any sort of criticism.

We are not post-racial and its disingenuous to say otherwise. The end.

Still, I do want the original version to get some sort of life especially after the responses the defanged version netted.

So if you’re interested, would love for some of you all to read both and share your thoughts.

Here it goes:

Though it would be disingenuous to deny progress, it’s hard not to look at racial politics in America mirroring that of a person on a stationary bike. As much as we like to think we’re peddling forward, we really haven’t gone anywhere.

It’s what makes many so frustrated when it comes to this debate about whether or not we live in a post-racial society.

Those who champion such claims tend to inadvertently prove its fallacy. Chris Matthews is the most recent example of this. Despite his affinity for President Obama and the feeling his oratory skills sends up his leg, Matthews still couldn’t manage to think beyond his linear view of the world when trying to pay Obama a “compliment” when touting perceived improved race relations.

But Matthews’s ineptness in that instance doesn’t point to any malice. He wants to see a better America; it’s just that like many who share his privilege, he does very little in doing the work necessary to make that happen.

By contrast those who sneer at the notion of a nation where everyone dares to treat others different from them with respect are actively courting like-minded people to preserve their vision of the country.

Look no further than this past weekend’s Tea Party convention which kicked off with a rousing tribute to racism.

Though their apologists deny allegations of racism throughout its membership, these lines from Rep. Tom Tancredo’ opening speech at the convention make such claims difficult to refute outright: “People who could not even spell the word vote, or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House. His name is Barack Hussein Obama.”

As humorous as Sarah Palin’s green alternative to note cards may be, I’m much more fascinated by the Tea Party meshing anti-government sentiment with Jim Crow-like rhetoric into a movement so popular that it’s close to becoming a modern day answer to McCarthyism.

And as frustrating as it is to contend with the fact that on one end you have a man surprised that our President is so darn brilliant it makes you forget he’s black while another still lumps all people of color as either dimwitted or un-American, the imagery still pumped out to the masses makes it understandable.

I am elated that Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled its most diverse array of honorees in recent memory; however, I can’t help but look at it without a bit of taint.

Precious Jones (Precious) and Michael Oher (The Blind Side) are both uneducated, both overweight, both poor and down trodden, both in need of some sort of savior. In both cases their savior was delivered in a much smaller melanin count. Each play right into stereotypical narratives about black men and women – and Hollywood can’t wait to honor them for it.

My disdain isn’t for Precious and Michael, though. Michael’s story has been proven true and as Oprah and Barbara Bush have both articulated, there are Precious’ in the world. But when it comes to black storytelling we’re still more inclined to address the poor and the feeble minded over the brilliant and successful – even one year after the election of the first black president.

Not to mention the press is far too anxious to cover those who obviously think less of their darker but fellow Americans without collectively calling them racists outright.

If there’s one constant tale in black history it’s this: There’s a lot of self interest in perpetuating the status quo.

Until that changes I see no point in disingenuous liberals debating “post-racial America” and conservatives fighting against the “cult of multiracialism.”

Both sides proof neither truly exists.

I get the point of wanting more qualifying evidence, it’s just in the future I need to be certain my voice can still be heard among all of the polls (which I’ve discarded publicly often) and random stats.

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