Thursday, February 05, 2009

When are WE going to get over it?

I try to remember to check out stories and articles I receive via email at Snopes to be sure I'm not posting an urban legend. I wasn't able to find this one there. However, I did find multiple postings of it when I Googled the author's name, so I'm assuming it is legit.

A friend sent me this article which I found to be interesting and honest. I hope you enjoy it, too.

Andrew M. Manis is associate professor of history at Macon State College in GA and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.

When Are WE Going to Get Over It?

For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it? Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes. Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -- that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color? How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here's my three-point plan: First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama. Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice, "We HAVE overcome."

Crush du Jour: Paulo Henrique


Joy said...

This is wonderful! I'm so stealing this for my blog and will say where I got it. I want this time to come, too. What an important and vital message! Thanks for posting it.

Bob said...

This is great, Mark.
What a great letter. I especially loved this: "I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners?"

Loves it.
I do my part to battle racism, and sexism and gayism, all the isms, but I think everyone needs to start.

Mistress Maddie said...

AMEN BOTHER TO THE POST STORY AND THE CRUSH DE JOUR! I've been saying this for years.

Anonymous said...

Actually I've wondered out loud why nobody had tried to assassinate Bush.

That said I find racism in any form to be ridiculous. And the thing is, it isn't just white v. black.

The Latino groups point fingers all the time. E.g. the Puerto Ricans I know don't like Mexicans.

It all has to do with what I term the concept of the 'other'. Even religion bases itself on that concept.

For too long we've let our leaders distract and mislead us. I think President Obama is the first clear break with those policies.

Unknown said...

Caught this over at Joy's place and loved it...yay yay yay, so I added you to my blog list. I must read more of your writihg.
The old sunday school song struck a chord with me too ( I'm apparently of your generation maybe a decade older. I look it but must say you don't at all) those old church hymns and songs still run through my head a lot but now they are mulitple layered..recalling the hypocrisy they came from.
I was in the process of retiring from middle school teaching when Obama was starting his campaign.I heard this stuff from kids and was appalled that what i was trying to teach fell on deaf ears of well educated middle class people. I was praying that he would just survive to election, let alone sign in. I cried when he signed in, out of relief that he even got there alive.
bless you..I will follow more of your "stuff"

Anonymous said...

Dear Mark,
I ran across this, and then realized the author lives right down the road from me in Macon. Then I started reading more of your work and I must say I've become a fan.

cb said...

Mmmmmm, Paolo. Deliciously white and creamy...

Anonymous said...

What others have to give up as well (which I heard MANY times after the election), is this notion that we finally allowed a black man take office of the Presidency; as if it was prohibited to do so. Obama was not the first, and certainly will not be the last black man to run for Presidency.