However, many of the responses to the story – not necessarily on this blog, but on all the various media coverage – surprised me. Many people seemed to think that racism is no longer an important problem in the United States. Now, I’m not saying that the Gates’ incident was a racial issue; I have my opinions on the matter but like most of us, I wasn’t there.
I am, however, surprised by comments such as Andrea’s on this blog, who said, “I want him to get something done about health care and he just derailed that by giving people this race-based story to shout about for the next two weeks. It isn’t all that important.”
I’m giving Andrea the benefit of the doubt and assuming she meant the Gates incident (specifically)
wasn’t as important as health care, rather than assuming she meant that
racism isn’t all that important.Still, this type of
dismissive attitude perpetuates the problem and is part of the reason
racism still exists.
I don’t believe that race is always the
root cause of a conflict; in fact, even as a non-white woman in the
United States, it’s usually at the bottom of my list of reasons why
someone treated me unkindly, why I didn’t get that job, etc. But I do
know it exists, in a variety of forms. From the off-hand comment you
make to a friend to a comment you post on a blog to denying someone a drink at a bar,
it lives on. In order for the problem to be solved, we must first all
acknowledge its existence and is still a serious issue.
To all the people who think racism is a long-past issue in this country, watch this video. A woman in Texas recently posted a warning sign on her porch – “Hispanics Keep Out”.
acknowledges that this is her legal right to post that sign, even while
it offends most of those in a mixed-race neighborhood. Her neighbors,
on the other hand, have acted in a very ethical manner – though they’ve
asked her to take down the sign, there hasn’t been one official
complaint. They say they want to practice tolerance.
thought….I almost didn’t post this today because I felt I might be
preaching to the choir. But then I watch this video or see some of the
reaction to Obama’s comments and think, nope, it’s still worth saying.
Embedded video from CNN Video