Every single time the slightest event occurs that could have a racist bent seems to be an opportunity for minorities to decry the state of the country, to declare that “America is not a post-racist” country.
Like a burr on a boot after miles of hiking, that phrase stuck in my head, creating a host of questions. What is post-racism? What would a post-racist America look like? Is post-racism – as described by online denizens – even possible?
After several weeks, I came to the conclusion that America is, in fact, post-racist, and jumping on a single occurrence of racism as the definite proof that America is not post-racist is unrealistic and ignores how far things have come in a short time.
The most striking aspect about events that are claimed to be examples of racism is just how roundly they are decried by everybody. In fact, to even be called a racist is one of the worst things in modern day, almost like being called a Communist during the Red Scare, or a witch in Salem in the 1700s. People are so scared, they avoid even the smallest impression of appearing to be racist or to associate with racism.
Racism is unequivocally something that is not accepted by the vast majority of Americans. This is exactly what post-racism ought to mean. Instead of where openly racist comments would get individuals elected to the Senate or House or become state governor or even President, they are a death-knell to any campaign or career.
So what is the post-racism that people call for? The only answer I can come up with is where not a single person has a single racist thought and not a single action occurs that could be argued to be motivated by racism. This is not something I see as possible. There are the very few, the extreme minority that hold racist thoughts. To judge the entire country based on the actions of isolated, singular individuals strikes me as rather stereotypical and prejudicial thought.
Trying to claim that White America is not post-racial simply because of the actions of one single white person is itself an act of racism. When is it ever acceptable to draw conclusions on a huge group of individuals by the actions of one? I suppose that question is better asked of Salon.com, who stated regarding the Boston Marathon Bombers that “Muslims don’t need to apologize for the Tsarnaevs,” while stating that “White America must answer for the Charleston church massacre.”
Salon cannot have it both ways.
The post-racism that is called for is not much more than Orwellian totalitarianism, where a single stray thought means the entire country on a whole has failed. When one’s expectation involves having over 300 million people never having a single racist thought, that individual needs to prepare for some serious disappointment.
Racism has been around for thousands and thousands of years, but the progress made so far is staggering. Not 100 years ago, people of my heritage were thrown into camps simply because of how we looked. Considered untrustworthy and sneaky because of our squinty eyes, there was a lot of racial tension with Asians.
Fast forward to present day, where it’s considered unacceptable to even imply that Asians are good at math. Microaggressions be damned, I’m more than happy to live in a nation where my genetic background doesn’t leave me in a prison camp. I couldn’t care less if anybody has any preconceived notions of me because of the color of my hair and the shape of my eyes.
But why, they ask. I ought to care about microaggressions, they say. I am supposed to consider being asked where my parents are from to be an act of unmitigated horror. I don’t, and I won’t. Because I know that tolerance is what is most important.
I don’t have the venomously narcissistic viewpoint that I must be liked by everybody, I’m a realist. All that is enough for me is that truly ugly racist hate is considered abhorrent by virtually every single person I see.
When goals are unrealistic and the media is more than happy to play to the perceptions of the public, the inherent desire for money and ratings mean that conflict and race-baiting is profitable. It’s up to everybody to wise up and not feed the trolls.