John McWhorter, a black conservative (or I assume since he is affiliated with the Manhattan Institute, a conservative think tank), wrote this article for Forbes.com. Mr. McWhorter is under the impression racism is now just superstition. His proof: Barack Obama is president.
Mr. McWhorter is out of his damn mind. Either out of his mind, or he knows how to rile folks up. This man makes some great stretches to prove his point that racism is dead in America.
I am not going to waste my space, but posting the whole article here, but I want to go over some excerpts so that you can either agree or disagree this man is on crack and has mentally gone buck wild.
It's not an accident, however, that increasingly, alleged cases of racism are tough calls, reflecting the complexity of human affairs rather than the stark injustice of Jim Crow or even redlining.
The cases of racism are now a tough call, because unlike Jim Crow era racism, it isn't as blatant, it is subtle, and it is coded. White people know not to call black folks the n-word now. That isn't a surprise, but it doesn't keep them from calling us Canadians.
But anyone who wants to take this line from now on will have to grapple with the elephant in the middle of the room: the president of AmeriKKKa is black. If the racism that America is "all about" is the kind that allows a black man to become president, then I'm afraid the nature of this "all about" is too abstract for me to follow, and most Americans will feel similarly. It's time to change the discussion.
The President of America identifies as black, but many white people who voted for him are quick to point out he is half white, and I don't think that hurt him with the white votes he did receive. I think in desperate times, like we are currently in, we are willing to set aside race to look at other factors in determining our President. I think having Bush in office the last 8 years was a plus to the Democrats, no matter who ran for President. Also note, did we forget the racially charged election we had. From Obama Waffles, the nooses in trees, to the accusations of using the race card, accusations of big black men attacking poor little white girl John McCain supporters, or Monkey T-shirts with Obama '08 on them. Did race not rear it's ugly head in this election?
As such, all of the AmeriKKKa-type rhetoric is now performance. Acts of racism should be condemned, of course. However, the gesture of claiming that each such thing should "remind us" of the dirty secret of what America is "still all about" now qualifies as a superstition, like hanging garlic in a doorway. That is, the 2005 movie Crash, in which prejudiced Angelenos take out their grievances on one another, was a melodrama, not a reflection of The Real America.
Racism is now superstition? It no longer exists because we have a black president? I am shocked and amazed by the complete ignorance feigned ignorance Mr. McWhorter possesses. There is no way racism ended simply because Barack Obama was elected. Racism might be less of a factor in desperate times, but it didn't go away. Black people still struggle as a result of the "superstitious" racism that exists in America.
I refer, rather, to millions of Americans of all colors who think of racism as a hot topic at all. Journalists, academics, community leaders, concerned citizens, NPR listeners--all must break the habit of supposing it is our moral duty to keep racism front and center in discussions about how to help disadvantaged black people. Because in 2009, that's all it is--a habit.
If we forget about racism and don't discuss it, racism will go away? Is this man serious?
However, the young men are not shooting each other because white people don't like them. OK, one might fashion an involved, subtle argument as to how when a 15-year-old in Brooklyn shoots another one in the face, it is traceable to racism--likely "societal" or "institutional."
McWhorter is under the impression if we pretend systematic racism never existed, it might go away, as well as it's long term effects. Of course, that is why we are pretending the long term effects of systematic racism might not have a thing to do with income discrepancies and why people live in poverty and desperation in America.
The point is valid even when the terminology is "societal racism," "institutional racism" or "white privilege." Obsessing over things that cannot be changed and are not the real problem anyway is of no use to anyone. Doctoral theses carefully teasing out the role of "racism" in this phenomenon or that one will seem about as useful to posterity as the scribings of an alchemist.
These things can't be changed, so why worry about them. Yeah that is a rational line of thinking right there. These aren't the real problem, then what is the real problem?
This man is crazy as hell, and there is no way he can believe this hot mess he just wrote. Yes I called it a hot mess, and Forbes.com must have been going through some slow times to post this nonsense.