ENVIRONMENTAL RACISM

I believe that the issue of Racism in America, at least nowadays, is somewhat based, on our environment–more so than any intentional effort on anyone’s part.  Those who grew-up in the 50s, 60s or earlier, dealt with a totally different World.  But today, things have changed Racism is more subtle–and flying under the radar.  Eyes closed perhaps; but, it’s still there!.

You may recall the Tweet from Mollie West, Daughter of Don “Mr. Knock-Knock” West, after the first day of Testimony at the Zimmerman Trial.  She posted a picture of their Family eating ice cream cones on Photo Sharing, with the caption: “We beat stupidity’ #dadkilledit”.  Mollie’s apparent target was Trayvon Martin’s Friend, 19 year-old Rachel Jeantel, who is a High School Senior.

Mollie West, (college) age 23, assumably had all the luxuries of growing-up in a well-to-do Family: pre-school and private schools through college; spacious house and living conditions; health care; nice clothes; spending money and her own car. Ms. Jeantel, on-the-other-hand, might have:  grown-up in Inner-City Miami; the Daughter of a single Haitian Woman; perhaps money was tight, living in a dangerous neighborhood with Inner-City Schools.

This is a classic case of two worlds colliding You might ask if Rachel could live in Mollie’s world; however, the more appropriate question is, could Mollie live in Rachel’s?  Now, I’m not saying that Mollie West is a racist; however, we are creatures of our environment.  Her rose-colored glasses, unfortunately, might not see what Rachel sees.

Eugene Robinson’s column in the Washington Post, “Obama is the wrong person to lead discussion about race” definitely has some merit:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/eugene-robinson-obama-is-the-wrong-person-to-lead-discussion-about-race/2013/07/18/d64d372c-efc2-11e2-bed3-b9b6fe264871_print.html

The “Right” and People with Conservative views seem to take the polar opposite side of every single issue—Health Care, Immigration Reform, Weapons Safety, etc.–that President Obama does.  Mr. Obama’s Comments yesterday, seemed to truly be from the heart, and he and Michele were, no doubt, having the same thoughts that all Black Parents were.  What do you say to your Children–especially Young Black Men.

So, what are Black Parents to do?  I cited a Letter that a Mother wrote in a recent Post and there have been numerous interviews with Professional Black Men, who all noted police cruisers following them through certain neighborhoods, and President Barack Obama said that, just before he was a Senator, he heard car doors locking when he crossed the street.  One man advised his nine-year old son to just stop if he encounters Police for he will either: go to Jail; go to the Hospital; or go to the Morgue.  At nine years-old?

The linked letter, by Justin Francis, in the New York Daily News, cites the fears of what this form of American Justice means to a Black 17 year-old Man (Boy?), http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-teen-envisions-constant-death-threat-post-zimmerman-article-1.1398764?print.  And, Whites wonder why Black People hate them so much?  What would you tell your Son?  Can a White Father really understand?

Back when Europeans first sent Slaves to the New World, they were forced to: live under horrible conditions; ate food that was barely better than what the livestock had; toiled long and hard in the fields; endured the heat in the summer and cold in the winter and were not allowed to be educated–even to learn how to read.  In addition, the Slaves were forced to breed in order to produce more children–possessions for the “Owner”.  And, the Slaveholders often helped in the Process by impregnating the Slave Women!

Over the years, some things have changed.  There is an educated Black Middle Class; however, for every success, there are others who are still caught in the vicious cycle: poorly-educated, unemployed or minimum wage jobs; living in deplorable conditions; often Single-Mother Families and little hope for the future.  In Mr. Robinson’s Washington Post column, he made an excellent point: “…also know that one’s beliefs about race and racism tend to be highly correlated with one’s (own) experience of race and racism.”  I’m sure this issue will stay on the National Agenda for some time to come.

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