Being asked to describe what ‘post-racial’ means is a bit like being asked to describe a leprechaun, cold fusion or unicorns: we know what is meant, but, if we are willing to be honest, we also know that none of the four describe something real, something tangible, something true.
Our failure as a society to properly acknowledge and confront the psychological, social, and political effects of white privilege has perpetuated racial inequality and race-based political resentments.
I don’t think the job of the antiracist is to convert the far-out heathen racist, or give them their ‘come to Jesus’ moment, as it’s called. They’ll either have those or they won’t, and usually, when they have them, it’s not because of something someone said per se; it’s because of some life crisis that makes them rethink.
Sadly, if President Obama is willing to ignore the pain of race-based discrimination and injustice so as to make whites comfortable – and this, after he has already been elected and the campaign is long over – then the likelihood he will ever speak the truth about these matters, let alone address them, shrinks to nearly zero.
Jesus was not born in a manger in central Pennsylvania. He was a man of color. And the fact that we have represented him for centuries literally as a white man speaks to the entire history of white supremacy.
Old white people have pretty much always been the bad guys, the keepers of the hegemonic and reactionary flame, the folks unwilling to share the category of American with others on equal terms.
There are lots of research, of course, saying that a vast majority of us have been exposed to racial biases and stereotypes and, to some extent, we’ve internalized them, because that’s so ubiquitous. That’s why I’m so bored with the conversation about who’s a racist and who’s not.
In short, and let us be clear on it: race is not a card. It determines whom the dealer is, and who gets dealt.
If you want to know if racism is a problem in your country, you might not want to ask white people.
Here’s the reality. The image of a white Jesus has been used to justify enslavement, conquest, colonialism, the genocide of indigenous peoples. There are literally millions of human beings whose lives have been snuffed out by people who conquered under the banner of a white god.