I never understood those who said we were living in a post racial society after the election of President Obama. Racism is so deeply rooted in our society. No one act or election is going to eradicate racism over night. For those of you who thought we had entered a post racial zone, the Henry Louis Gates incident should tell you otherwise. If you’re African American living in America, you likely think it was racism. If you’re white, you may think the officer acted wrong but not racist. Then there’s President Obama who’s trying to act like Rodney King with his can’t we all get along statements. President Obama has invited everyone to the White House for beer and pizza. The President carefully backed away from the issue once he saw it was a political landmine.
The fact of the matter is there was no real reason for the officer to arrest Professor Gates at his own house after producing his identification. The reason for the arrest was a result of inherent racism. Just because the officer did not use the “N” word does not mean it’s not racism. Racism today is not the same experience as prior generations. Jim Crow and segregation are gone. We can live where we want to live. Yet that does not mean that African Americans are not subject to racism in the process. The Boston area is not known to be racially friendly among African Americans and minorities.
We should be using this time to discuss race in America. Race issues and relations are equally as important as health care, the economy, the war and everything else going on in our world. Race issues are not a distraction to these issues. Race issues encompass all these other issues. Until we understand and begin to recognize racism, we will not be anywhere near a post racial society.
Teddy Pendergras once sang a song saying “wake up everybody, no more sleeping in bed, no more backward thinking, time for thinking ahead”. For those who thought we were living in a post racial world, wake up. For those who do not believe the Gates incident was a form of racism, you need to wake up too.