The World According to Keitho

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Our [not so] post-racist society

Posted by keithosaunders on October 13, 2010

I was browsing through my facebook feed yesterday when I noticed a link to a video.  The title of the video was Lil Girl Gets Mobbed on by a Dude In a New York Train.  The clip shows a group of black teenagers on a subway train yelling at a girl, who screams and curses at them in return.  Everybody is posturing and at one point one of the boys rushes at her and it appears to be hitting her, but from the angle of the camera I couldn’t be certain. 

The video is fairly disturbing, but it’s nothing that one does not see from time to time in New York.  No one was hurt, and to me it just looked like a group of high school kids blowing off steam.  When you think of it, it’s a little more disturbing that someone stood by taping the incident.

What I was more upset about were the comments that ensued from the post.  Here is a sampling:

When they kill each other , it’s like a self cleaning oven !!

Thanks for sharing my Link…….[There] a bunch of Animals!

 think I was on this train..no wait..they are all the same lol

Please dont insult the animals these sub humans are scum…

There were 24 comments and not one of them took any of the others to task for the racist garbage that was written.  In short — 24 racist comments.  This is New York City, not Montgomery, Alabama, not Fargo, North Dakota, and not Phoenix, Arizona.  New York! 

What does this tell you about our society?  Are we really living in a post-racial society?  Hardly.  The vitriol that was hurled at these kids is not far removed from the garbage that I read and hear directed at Barack Obama by political candidates, pundits, and media.  It is shameful and it is not subtle. 

George W. Bush stripped us of our civil liberties, started illegal wars that benefited big oil, and nearly drove the country into a depression.  Yet you would think that Obama is the devil incarnate for trying to bring relief to struggling families, or by reforming health care. 

It’s all about race.  You have candidates that want to give tax breaks to the top 1 percent, slash funding  for health care and education, and  to take us back into the stone age by doing away with labor unions.  Why would anyone, short of a millionaire support such policies?  This agenda, believe it or not, is now considered centrist.  The radicals are those that want a national health care, or programs that support education!  Obama, for all the talk of his being a socialist, is unable to even approach this agenda.  Not even close.

 I can understand politicians motives for pursuing these policies.  They are trying to get elected, and in turn reap the monetary benefits that come with power.  The American people who allow themselves to be swayed by superfluous wedge issues are doing far more damage than the people runnung for office   — they vote against their own interests for fear that poor people might have benefits extended, or that gay couples be allowed to marry. 

It’s not about black versus white — the real divide is the rich versus everybody else.  The genius of the Tea Party, which is all but synonymous with Republican Party, is to convince the masses that they too can attain obscene wealth, as long as unions, affirmative action, or (shockingly!) gays being able to wed, do not stand in their way.

Which brings me back to the facebook post.  These people —  this online crowd, as it were, —  are our neighbors.  These are the people that we work with, interact with, and socialize with.  These are not the cultured, elite — the wealthy, to-the-manor-born denizens of Beverly Hills or the East Hamptons.  They’re not poor, white trash either — just regular, middle class people. 

The post was not in a private forum — this facebook user has hundreds of friends.  If I, a mere acquaintance, could read it, then it was hardly private.  The feeling I got was that among this crowd it was the most natural thing in the world to feel that kind of antipathy towards black people.  There was not so much as a notion that this was amoral.   

I’m sickened, but what’s more I’m a little frightened.  What’s going to happen when the divide grows wider — when pundits such as Rush Limbaugh and Glen Beck, thinly veiled racists as it is, become even less subtle in their diatribes?  Don’t kid yourselves, we have a long way to go, and things could well turn ugly.

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5 Responses to “Our [not so] post-racist society”

  1. Kip said

    Great post, Keith. I’ve been astounded by the hateful comments I’ve read on sites like Yahoo, and others. And I think you describe the “genius” of the Tea Party quite correctly.

    • Thank you for your comments, Kip, and welcome. To me the Tea Party just seems a slightly more racist party than the Republicans. They reall don’t differ on that many issues. I suppose with the shape that Bush left the country, the Repubs had to somehow re-package their brand and give the people a reason to get excited. Racism and homophobia seem to be doing the trick.

  2. Considering the bullying issues that have come to the fore, it’s really not surprising. When people are unhappy, they react badly to anything that occurs that they perceive as bad in their lives, and that passes the misery around.

    But you’re absolutely right about the issues you touch on here. We are clearly not in a “post racial” society, and the most obvious point to prove that is that President Obama really can’t discuss race! Not that you need to so much, as the poverty in our country affects people of every ethnicity, but the sort of racism that is occurring is becoming less and less subtle, and it’s almost out in the spotlight at this point.

    It’s horrifying that people are buying into the agenda of the super wealthy, but this was also the case when the country was being formed… as was vocalized in the song from the Broadway musical (and later restored to the motion picture) 1776… “Cool Considerate Men,” which talks of how though there weren’t enough men who held property to dictate policy, they would attract the poor people who would rather follow them in the hopes that someday they would be wealthy too.

    When this happened on the streets, it was a three card monte game. Now, it’s Republican Politics.

  3. Antonio said

    Not only are we far from post racial society, I fear we may be regressing. It feels sometimes like we took one step forward and two steps back. And what scares me even more about Beck is not only is he racist, but he’s trying to re-write history. I just shake my head in disbelief when I hear devout Beck followers regurgitate him like gospel with the “progressives are evil” rhetoric. Do they really understand how insane it sounds to say progress is evil? I just have that soundbite in my head from the movie 300 “It’s madness!”

    • The big lie going around is that the extreme left is analogous with the extreme right in that they are both equally out of touch. Wanting a public option for health care is considered an extreme left position in tdday’s climate. That is not anywhere near as radical as doing away with Social Security or wanting guns for every citizen. That’s why, as much as I like Jon Stewart, his march to restore sanity, though obviously tongue in cheek, is misguided.

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