What’s interesting about the Internet are the different audiences and their responses and characteristics, especially on the issue of race and racism, a problem that is on the constant collective mind of the African American community and people of color in general because historically we’ve been the most negatively impacted by it.
I don’t claim to be the spokesperson for the Black community and such a designation would be the stuff of comedy. But what does vex me and really egg me on to continue to raise the issue of race and racism is the number of racist acts that are “done” in society, how some would have us believe society is colorblind, and those who try to stop me from talking or writing about race.
Those who speak of being “colorblind” are the stuff of humor to me, and do so only in the matter of talking about how people are judged by their skin color, which means they do see color, otherwise they would remain silent. The fact is, everyone makes a determination of how they will treat someone based in part on their skin color. What’s unfortunate are those who want to silence people like me. I call them the “people under the stairs” who don’t want to be seen and don’t want you to be heard especially if you dare talk about race.
This point of view is particularly evident at SFGate.com and it’s not the fault of the editors or the managers, but the particular brand of commenter — nasty — that’s active. Some commenters believe I’m supposed to be a “journalist” who gives both sides of a story but I’ve noticed they only make that claim when I write something they don’t like. My raison d’etre is to give an opinion, have a pulse, and shake you up, hopefully to cause you to do something to change the World around you in a good way.
That’s why shining a light on racism is so important.
Much of racism today is institutional. In other words there are common habits in society that you are used to and don’t question, but many people of color are harmed by in some way. Some of those institutional actions are, for example, how a movie star is created by an entertainment and public relations consortium. (Zac Efron) Other institutional actions include assuming someone of color may be a bad or corrupt politician even if that person has a stellar record. It has also been a factor in how students are graded by teachers. I can go on and on.
Racism is a mental illness that must be curbed. It’s judged as such by some like Dr. Alvin F Poussaint, who state’s that for one to (my example) risk their own job as a waiter by the act of throwing a plate at a Black person because the waiter hates Blacks indicates the presence of a mental illness. Because the question is how far will that person go?
Society will not change if we sweep this issue under the rug. Race and Racism is to be talked about, not ignored. That – in part – is what I’m here for. I will not stop writing or talking about race or racism and I will not be silenced. But I will listen to the voices of those who disagree, as long as they do it agreeably.