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Letters to the Editors
RE: WHAT KIND OF CARD IS RACE?
The mishap of African American families unknowingly hindering their children because of something that happened centuries ago is undeniably forming a lethal hindrance. The imbalance of trying to modify this world into a vicinity in which the past is a fog memory into a place of modernity and technological advances will never be in royal pursuit due to the grudges of society. The greatest fault of one is to proudly wear the badge of ignorance and continuously walk with the staff of accusation rather than run with armor of accountability. The seemingly inescapable views of mankind stands as a narcotic in the form of media, radio, etc suffocating and luring the dependents of society—children and teenagers into their world of perception and illusion. Societies forceful yet impaired ideology of trying to shape one with the molding of race is the avalanching effect of awakening the implantation of one’s dormant belief of inequality. The belief that one must undermine another because of race or in a workplace choose another because the law says so; not because of credentials but because of color, proves how injustice still remains. The challenge that should be brought to one’s attention is: who is being discriminated against? Society has glued the black race on a throne of greatness, and given schools the ingredient of diversity. Affirmative Action has boldly lessened the workload for ‘blacks’ and carried it over to the ‘white’ population. Now where’s the public rioting and marching?
Nowhere, because of this worldly insane asylum that has bred a community of charity rather than allowing equality to be achieved. Citizens sit on giving back what was once taken rather than just giving the truth of opportunity. Once again it is the spellbound mind that still must regain full consciousness and inhale reality. The effort put into schools having diversity has led to the racism of non-minorities. Qualifications no longer are important, yet the color of one’s skin is.
Why can’t everyone be color blind and think of people as human beings measuring one’s ability on intellect and experience rather than the insignificance of color. African Americans might as well put the chains back on because this is what we are doing figuratively. The captivity of the mind will never allow the body to reach its full capacity.
Thank you for your time in advance.
JEFF McGRAHAM, NON-FICTION EDITOR RESPONDS
Sociologist Stephanie Coontz in her excellent book, The Way We Never Were: American Families and the Nostalgia Trap (Basic Books, 1992), elucidates how political mythology is created by an author who is ideologically charged: “The Little House on the Prairie book series based on the memoirs of Laura Ingalls Wilder, were extensively revised by her daughter as an ideological attack on government programs.” Laura Ingalls Wilder’s daughter excised out of her mother’s manuscripts any mention of governmental assistance and thus proliferated a myth that her ancestors were “rigged individualists” who thrived in isolation from the aid of government. This myth was achieved by reducing complex social and historical realities into simplistic narratives of self-reliance.
Grace McMillan employs a similar reductionistic line of reasoning in her letter blaming African Americans for their plight as a people. McMillan utilizes a familiar tactic of those who are ideologically bent on ignoring the pervasiveness of racism: she ignores historical and contemporized racist structures by reducing racism to the institution of slavery, and thus proposes that racism is a mental illness that blacks need to get over: “The detainment of African Americans during the eighteenth century has unequivocally formed an acceptable insanity given the title – racism, in which this race so proudly stands upon.” McMillan also refers to those who believe racism is real as being “brainwashed.” One of McMillan’s most audacious and stupefying claims is that real discrimination is being perpetrated against whites due to affirmative action programs and this has resulted in a racist backlash: “the effort put into schools having diversity has led to the racism of non-minorities. Qualifications no longer are important, yet the color of ones (sic) skin is.” Admitting that racism does exist, no matter the supposed cause, is in complete contradistinction to what McMillan claimed as being a chimera based on mental illness in the first part of her letter.
Contradictions aside, McMillan exhibits either purposely or genuinely a profound ignorance of the racist structures of American society. Perhaps she should have read What Kind of Card is Race? by Tim Wise and A Long History of Racial Preferences—for Whites by Larry Adelman (both published in Third Rail, Volume 2007, Issue 9) in a more careful and attentive fashion to gain some understanding of the racist society she resides in (she should also read my article on post-war governmental housing discrimination in this issue).
In response to McMillan, I will list some basic facts (although, one could list evidence of post-slavery racism that would fill volumes of tomes): firstly, from Jim Crow and lynching to sentencing discrepancies for identical crimes (i.e. crack cocaine versus powdered cocaine and the death penalty) to racial profiling to child poverty, racism is a key factor in American society. Secondarily, it is a well-documented fact that formal affirmative action programs have aided white women more than any other demographic group. Of course, wealthy well-connected white men (i.e. President Bush) have benefited more than any other segment of the population from the extensive preference programs practiced at elite universities. Thirdly, as Jonathan Kozol has exhaustively documented in his books, schools in the United States are highly segregated based on racial demographics. In most places in the United States, school funding is based on the housing tax structure. In other words, wealthy districts receive far more funding per pupil than do poorer districts. Due to the isolation of many poor African American communities, as opposed to many poor whites who often reside in small towns and attend economically heterogeneous schools, a black child has a much greater chance of receiving an inferior education in our society. Fourthly, McMillan consistently asserts that slavery was an 18th century phenomenon, but of course, slavery did not officially end until 1865. And as historian Eric Foner has demonstrated, the de facto conditions of slavery were present long after this period.
Finally, McMillan’s account, like much of the idiocy that is considered political discourse in our society, rests upon reductionistic formalizations that allow the most ignorant among us to engage in a debate that should require its participants to at least have a rudimentary knowledge of black history. One cannot imagine individuals engaging in a debate about physics, astronomy, or English literature without having done some preparatory work. But with racism¾ the most uninformed, “proudly wear the badge of ignorance and continuously walk with the staff of accusation rather than run with armor of accountability”.
RE: CSI PARKING VIOLENCE COVER-UP?
[Student’s name withheld by request]
RE: CRITICAL MASS