Will America succumb to the cancer of racism?
By H. J. Harris, author of America the Racist?
The question of how the 45.7% of Americans who did not vote for President Barack Obama would respond to his presidency emerged immediately after the election.
Will these Americans who did not vote for Obama – predominantly white republicans and conservatives – acknowledge and accept the vision for change supported by the 52.9% of Americans – white, black, Latino, democrats, republicans, conservatives, liberals and others – who voted for President Barack Obama?
Or, will those Americans who did not vote for the President do everything possible to undermine the desire for change that the majority of Americans voted for?
The answer became clear with the emergence of raucous groups of predominantly white republican, conservative Americans opposing the health care plan – often based on inaccurate, distorted, and sometimes blatantly untrue information. It appears those who voted against the President will make as much noise as possible, create confusion, and do whatever it takes to move America backwards – to the way things used to be – the racist past of discrimination, injustice, and hatred.
The final indication of the motive and intent of those who did not support President Obama is in the controversy over President Obama speaking to America’s school children.
The push back against this speech is proof that the cancer of racism, that has sucked the life out of the American dream for over 230 years, still rages in the hearts, minds and psyche of Americans who cannot accept the desire for change nor the reality of an African American president.
This vocal minority cloaks their racism in the guise of issues. When these issues are examined under the light of truth, they are calculated deceptions feeding the cancer of racism the majority of Americans sought to cure in the Presidential election.
There was no outcry from parents threatening to remove their children from school in 1988 when President Ronald Reagan, a Republican, spoke to school children on live television.
Neither was there an outcry in 1991 when President George H. W. Bush, a Republican, spoke to school children on radio and television. Parents did not threaten to take their children out of school to keep them from hearing the President. Some Washington Democrats objected to President Bush’s speech on political grounds, but there was no national outcry among parents.
In neither case did Boards of Education throughout America meet to decide whether to show a Presidential speech. It reminds us of the 1950’s and 1960’s when certain Boards of Education disrespected the law of the land set forth in Brown v. the Board of Education. They had to be sued to admit black students. Are we going backwards?
Consider this: perhaps the real reason that certain citizens and Boards of Education are objecting to the children watching President Obama’s speech is that they don’t want their children to see the image of an educated, articulate black man in charge – in the highest office in the land. Perhaps some Americans prefer their children watch stereotypic black men in jail, on drugs, shooting, catching or hitting a ball. But, a black man as president contradicts the paradigm of slavery and racism that is woven into the fabric and consciousness of America.
Is this outcry an attempt to perpetuate negative stereotypes of black men by preventing children from seeing and hearing an educated, articulate black man as President.
When we observe the raucous health care debate, and controversy over President Obama speech to the nation’s school children, we see that the information, concepts, and historical perspective set forth in our book, America the Racist? are critical to understanding the impact of racism on the future of America. We must understand the past, to properly act in the present and build a better, more just and righteous future for our nation.
Many have said that the election of President Barack Obama signaled the end of racism in America. However, based on the absolute partisan division, rhetoric and tone of conservative media, the health care battle, and speech controversy, it is abundantly clear that racism is still seethes and festers in America.
However, after listening to President Obama’s speech to the students, I was indeed proud that a majority of our citizens, white, black, Latino and others stood up and voiced their support for the President and his inspiring message to our children.
American is at the crossroads. We can stand for the change needed to make our country live its creed – all men are created equal. Or fall again for the fear mongers’ tactics. Will we let hate lead us back to the anger, violence, and racism of our past? Is that to be our future also? Where do we go from here?
Consider this poem from “America the Racist?”
And so America!
When the rains of truth
fall upon your naked body,
and the flood of tears
of a million captive souls
comes upon your barren shores,
and the winds of justice and equality
beat upon all that you have created,
Will America stand before the eternal Judge,
as a testament to the glory of man’s humanity to man?
Or, will America fall as yet another broken promise
that hypocritical men offer up to their God,
and be plowed into the earth
as though it never was?
The answer America is not in our stars, but in ourselves
Mr. Harris is author of “America the Racist?” available on amazon.com. Visit www.americatheracist.com for more information.
Race relations expert who personally experienced the desegregation of public schools and civil rights era. His goal is to share events and experiences of the past to help us better understand the present and prepare for the future. © copyright 2009, H. J. Harris, PO Box 302, Wilmington, NC 28402; 800-570-4009
Race relations expert who personally experienced the desegregation of public schools and civil rights era. His goal is to share events and experiences of the past to help us better understand the present and prepare for the future.
© copyright 2009, H. J. Harris, PO Box 302, Wilmington, NC 28402; 800-570-4009