WE HAVE INDEED MADE IT! WE ARE POST-RACIAL, Right?!
At least that's what recent studies show... (pump your brakes!) Yes, I said it. We have reasons to celebrate, yet there are even more reasons based on studies and statistics to bring this party to a COMPLETE halt.
According to a study released by authors Clayton R. Critcher, assistant professor at University of California Berkeley, and Jane L. Risen, associate professor at the University of Chicago, found that exposure to a single African-American in a high-performing position -- any position outside stereotypical jobs in which blacks “traditionally” excel -- is enough to make whites more likely to deny the existence of systemic racism. Included in this study were non African-Americans (Whites, Hispanics, Asians.) Say what now?! Repeat: Since there is a Black President of the United States, many believe that systemic racism isn't an issue. The truth is: IT IS AN ISSUE and should represent most of the conversation surrounding racism. However, many prefer to deny and ignore systemic racism in the United States??? Therefore, the mass incarceration of Black people (not just Black men, but Black young women, particularly Black girls, who are the fastest growing segment among the prison population) is ignored and even denied. The school to prison pipeline or as some are now calling it the cradle to prison pipeline gets to be ignored and denied along with widespread issues as racial profiling and discrimination that persist in the United States in 2014 affecting Black America...ignored and denied??? This is definitely not surprising, however it's a wow and WHOA indeed. Of course, many rejoiced and were hopeful while watching then Senator Barack Hussein Obama take the Presidential Oath of Office not just once, but TWO times. I saw Black mothers give their sons affirming messages that they, too, may become President one day. True enough we value the success and accomplishments of Black Americans, but we cannot ignore statistics when it comes to systemic oppression in the United States. Contrary to what many understand, racism is more than individuals we hear about who have been caught using racial slurs, although instances as these are reflective of a system that runs much deeper. This system that some of these same successful Black Americans (Oprah Winfrey, Mellody Hobson and Dr. Henry Louis Gates - to name a few) have encountered. We all must seek to understand one another as well as understand racism as an institution in the United States. I hope I'm wrong, but there is a strong possibility that if you are reading this, you already know and understand what I've shared in this post. You have either experienced or witnessed some form of racism yourself. If not, I applaud you for taking the time to read this toward the end (smile.) Let's work toward the solution of ending racism by acknowledging it fully. I am an optimist, therefore I believe all things are possible. We must ensure that the conversation of race is discussed using respectful dialogue among all American people, particularly those who are affected by it. Listen. It is so deeply rooted that we simply cannot ignore it or hope and pray that it will suddenly disappear. We must place all ideologies aside that further separates us and listen to one another. We must be able to teach our children effectively so that one day we may have a post-racial society no longer deeply affected by the system of racism.
Symbols aren’t meaningless, but they are never strong enough to dismantle systems of oppression on their own. And as this recent study shows, they have the ability to convince people that those systems don’t even exist. If we’re having trouble getting to the first step acknowledging racism as a system of oppression, the prospects of actually undoing and replacing that system appear bleak. -Mychal Denzel Smith [read more on THE NATION.