October 01, 2009
Growing Up in Post-Racist America
Posted by Jerome Doolittle at October 01, 2009 04:01 PM
No difference between now and 50 years ago. How do we solve this problem? I think we may need to have national discussions on this subject but we have such lousy television media that I wonder if such conversations could happen.
My sister was a college professor/administrator at University rural campus in the South and her job involved helping new teachers by placing them in "practice school" settings before they graduated. My sister had an African American office assistant or whatever they call what in my day they called Secretaries (who were basically people who could make or break someone's career). Choosing a good one was important and my sister indicated that she was lucky to have found this woman to serve in that postion for her.
But getting to the point, one day a young lady and her child, both of them African American came into the office one day and my sister and her secretary were both there. At some point the child became unruly and the mother started telling the child "you're bad! You're very bad! and on and on in a similar manner.
After they left my sister remarked to her assistant that by speaking this way to the child, the child would have a great likelihood of believing that he was bad and thus behave accordingly throughout the rest of his life. My sister's assistant remarked "I don't know why we do that".
I tell this story not to place blame on African American parents as the white population created the mythology that blacks are inferior to whites. Breaking the cycle however is going to take an effort by both races to help solve this critical problem. The African American prison population in this country reveals how bad the problem is. Maya Angelou also had some insight into the problem of blacks who commit crime in the book "I know why the caged bird sings".
We have only begun to fix our racial problems in this country and I suspect that it's going to take many decades before we solve it. People who claim that we now live a post racial society are living in a fallacious dream world. They're like alcoholics or drug addicts - until we face such problems and recognize them, we will continue to engage in the type of behavior that creates so many of what should and could be fine young black men and turns them into criminals and/or people who believe that they are not worthy as the rest of us.
..and incidentally, these problems are not confined to the South. I see them in Pennsylvania and across huge swaths of the country. President Obama related a story about the problem even existing in Hawaii by his mother. This problem will never be solved unless we all can work together to make it happen. And the prison industries will undoubtedly fight such a program to keep their business prospering.
I wonder if they've done the same experiment in an African country, and what happened.
Interesting question. I've lived in Morocco and Laos; both countries were infected with racism. Dark = bad, light = good. Khoun dam is the N-word in Lao; draoui in Moroccan Arabic. My suspicion is that black might not be beautiful in much of sub-Saharan Africa either. Anybody actually know?