By Kimberly Seals Allers
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
I'm sorry, where exactly are all the people who vehemently declared after President Obama's election that we were living in a post-racial America? Please stand up.
Let's recap a recent scene: The president of the United States passes a historic bill to reform health care in this country and actually save lives and protestors resort to allegedly hurling racial slurs at black lawmakers? I won't even mention the choice words being thrown at our nation's commander in chief? Protesters, what about the million things that are supposedly wrong with the bill? Why not use those as your sticking points?
It really goes to show how far we have not come in this country. Whenever there is passionate disagreement, which, by the way is a good thing and what makes this country great, someone somewhere is going to resort to race. It's as if racial bias consistently sits just under the skin of the culture of this country, and if anything slightly irritates or pricks that delicate skin, the ugly truth just comes oozing out.
Then you wonder why I fear for my black children. The reason: I'm in fear of many white parents, who are acting out their racial biases for everyone to see on CNN, YouTube, at Tea Party conventions and on the local news for crying out loud. What kind of messages are these children getting at home and then bringing to the playground?
In fact, the whole health care reform process has been an embarrassing stain on our reputation. As I watched the drama play out in total "SMH" mode, I desperately tried to extract a few lessons:
The ridiculous myths about death panels and the alleged slippery slide into socialism reminded me how important it is for me to teach my children to be independent thinkers willing to research the facts on their own, rather than have that dangerous herd mentality where people foolishly rally behind buzz words that speak to their issues and biases.
The fact that not one Republican took a stand for better healthcare said to me that partisan politics was more important than saving lives. I hope my children never lose their humanity in their quest to get ahead. I will remember to remind them of that.
And watching the racial slurs and Obama assassination threats on Twitter (even allegedly by two conservative blacks, no less) reminded me of something my Daddy taught me long ago: people who resort to mud-slinging and in-the-gutter tactics, are desperate and pathetic because they really have nothing of substance to say.
Our so-called post-racial America has a lot of road ahead of it. In the meantime, the impact of racism is still seen everywhere from our political circles to our health disparities to our educational system.