President Obama said in an interview recently that race relations have gotten better under him. I nearly choked on my coffee with the spittake that I did. I almost died. Thanks, Obama.
Obama came out of his mouth to say that race relations are BETTER? Is he insane??? I have seen more blatantly racist incidents happen in the last 6 years than in the ‘90s and early ‘00s. Shooting unarmed brown people is the new planking. I’ve been profiled by police more in the last 6 years than I was when I was 15, for doing the same insidious looking thing to raise suspicion that I did then: walking.
I thought about how we got to this place. Think back to 9/11. The day after those planes crashed into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, violence by citizens against anyone who “looked Arab” went up. There were cases everywhere, and the victims were usually NOT from Saudi Arabia (most of the perpetrators’ home country), and sometimes not even Arab or Muslim. They were American, Persian, and Indian, Christian Sikh. We were told to be alert and aware of suspicious activity. That was translated by most (including government agencies) to mean, “If they ‘look Arab’, keep an eye on them”. This laid the groundwork to be again be wary of anyone who didn’t look like he came from Pleasantville. Stop & Frisk policies had already been happening, but back then, it was call “Tuesday”...honestly, any day. The most egregious reason for suspicion of a person was that he was brown and walking somewhere. Sometimes, he was driving. I mean, how could he have afforded that car? He HAD to have been up to something.
Now we’re up to the last 6 years, there have been dozens of incidents where unarmed African Americans (and some Africans) have been shot by either police officers suspecting them of wrongdoing, or by citizens who were “just defending themselves” against perceived threats, because bottles of iced tea and Skittles and loud music are sure signs of imminent danger. Conversely, white men who were more armed (machine guns) than their black counterparts in similar situations were either detained without having been shot, or they got off free.
All the while, media outlets, mostly Fox News, whitesplain this disparity by spouting crime statistics to show that blacks commit more crime than whites. They show racial makeup of the prison population compared to the about of blacks in American society, the amount of black arrests for certain crimes, the incredulous that we don’t talk about “black on black crime”, the violent lyrics in “black” music, etc. They then say, “Well we SHOULD be afraid of black males, based on this data. That’s not racist; it’s common sense!” Then the same media outlets ask why there is such little racial diversity in the Republican Party, and why the Democratic Party seems to have the black and brown vote on lockdown. They cannot figure out why it has been like this for so long, when some of their policies MAY be appealing to all people regardless of race/ethnicity. They then accuse Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson or Eric Holder or Barack Obama of race baiting.
Here is the real answer, though: If my neighbour spent most of his day belittling me, telling everyone I’m a dangerous demon-on-earth who might cut you when you least expect it, then why would I want to accept an invite to his house party? Tweak crime stats without explaining them, like the fact that there are more blacks in prison because drug laws were lopsided for possession of derivatives of certain drug over their more potent form sent more blacks to jail. Leave out the fact that white defendants tend to either get charges dropped or better plea deals for the same crimes. Never mention MURDER BALLADS put to lyric country singers’ fantasies of torturing and killing women, long before rap music got really hood. We should more be afraid of white men in cowboy boots with acoustic guitars! Omit the fact that not many people actually actually get behind Jesse Jackson or AL Sharpton when they truly chase windmills, but every media outlet goes to them when something racial happens, as though they are the black popes to whom white people must pay penance when someone mishears someone saying “niggardly”. Don’t mention that Eric Holder is doing what he is CONSTITUTIONALLY OBLIGATED to do, and that Obama has been disappointingly quiet on race relations unless there is a beer involved. Do all these things, and then you expect us to get on your bandwagon? I don’t think so. It also doesn’t help that your majority whip spoke at a white supremacist mixer, and lauded David Duke. This is the same reason most single women don’t get on board. You cannot keep telling a woman that she’s a whore because she wants access to birth control, or doesn’t want a court involved in her basic healthcare, or because she is wearing a thin shirt or is blonde or has large natural breasts or wants to work for equal pay, and then be incredulous that she is not ok with you. Bye, Felipe.
Presently, we see a myriad of stories about “hood” parties by white fraternities with dude-bros in brownface, unarmed black teenagers getting shot for playing their music too loud or being angry because someone is following them while they’re trying to go home, or black men being stopped while walking with their hands in their pockets on a cold day because someone called 911 to report that a black man was walking around with his hands in his pocket, and we think that things are getting worse. They are not, though. We just have the Internet now, and more people on all sides are recording what has been happening for years...except the New Orleans Police. For some reason, their camera shut off when something suspect happens.
Another thing we see now is people carrying this video and photo evidence and taking to the streets NON-VIOLENTLY to protest unfair treatment. As I have stated before, the people who give in to violent acts are idiots. Sadly, since the rhetoric in new outlets only allow for a “you’re with us or against us” view, people make the assumption that if one is against police brutality, then one is against the police. This ignores that all the protesters actually COOPERATE with their local police departments to carve out marching routes and venues for demonstration. There is nothing in human society that is strictly 1 or 0. I love law enforcement, but I don’t like being suspected of having stolen my own tablet when I’m reading it outside. This is a problem, and does not diminish the fact that we need good cops on the street. The position that Patrick Lynch and NYPD unions have taken to accuse de Blasio of being against them when he pointed out flaws in their policing is like if I submitted a test to my professor, and when she pointed out that I got a few questions wrong, I screamed, “You’re trying to make me look like a failure! I turn my back on you!” If we all acted like this in school, we would all be 4.0 honour students. We would also be complete morons, because we never learned to remedy our mistakes. The KKK is raising funds to support Darren Wilson. Does that mean all police are in the KKK? This isn’t 1950’s Alabama, so no. The jump to that conclusion would be idiotic.
Back to Obama’s assessment: are race relations really better? Well, the divide is definitely still there, and the incidents that prove it are still happening, now at least we have more documented proof. With this documented proof, we definitely can see who is truly racist and who just doesn’t know better. I have cleared out so many friends thanks to social media! In this case, yes, race relations ARE better, because pretty much everything is on the table and we know where we all stand. The issues that cause the divides, including lopsided media outlets and idiotic 1/0 trains of thought, are still here, though.