In the year 2011, you would think that America would be long past the days when race mattered. In a time when we have a black President for the first time, you would think this would show how truly united America is on the subject of race. Unfortunately, that’s hardly the case.
Since the 1970′s we should have been in a post-racial society. We use the 1970′s as a starting point because at the end of the day we had to let everyone get adjusted to the civil rights act in the 1960′s. With everyone mingled together in public, working together, and living together in some communities, one would think that we’d come to accept everyone as Americans. However that just wouldn’t be good for politics and business.
Let’s take for example the past few years and how race has shaped the media. In March 2008 then Presidential contender Barack Obama delivered a speech entitled; “A More Perfect Union,” about how America had so many issues be them black or white, and how we needed to work towards common ideas. During the speech however, Obama made very careful statements in pointing out anger amongst black people, the privilege of being white, and how even his own Grandmother was a “typical white person.” A speech that was supposed to be about unity, very subtly made sure that he kept certain ideas in everyone’s head. It was just enough to make certain people think that they’d be racist if they were to not vote for Mr. Obama.
That was part of the battle cry during the election of 2008. For many it was about race. The idea was that if you didn’t vote for the “black” candidate, then you were obviously racist and had something wrong with you. Most of the time this wouldn’t be the case at all, yet for others this was a sticking point that they would use from that point forward in not only the election of 2008, but also when it came to President Obama’s ideas and legislation while he was in office. We cast our doubts here back in February of 2008, before Obama had even given his speech, but unfortunately we were wrong on how people would act, mostly thanks to the media who was more than happy to support this idea. Their influence played a vital role in making sure that Obama’s race stayed front and center. Subtle statements like; “could a black candidate win,” makes all the difference in the world to those who might not vote for someone otherwise.
The media’s role in pushing the race card is especially vital to keep the idea of a divide amongst the races alive. CNN is especially good at this in their cotinuing series of; Black in America, Latino in America, Gay in America, Muslim in America, etc. They keep race alive and well with these specials. They show how people have been successful, how they’ve triumphed, and how they have fallen as well. The series puts race right in front of their TV and internet audience. This type of action keeps the idea alive that we are all different and that nothing we can do will change that. It keeps that doubt among many different races on whether or not America will ever truly be equal for everyone. It’s never about how great of a person they are, it’s about how great of a hyphenated American they are instead. This is the kind of situation that made the attitudes during the 2008 elections possible and why you see instances where we have the same divide in congress and in different cities.
In Washington, you can find several different groups that are pushing their own agenda based on race. You have the congressional black caucus, the congressional Latino caucus, and many other race based groups. This doesn’t stop just in Washington however. Take a look at the city of Dallas, Texas in which the police force have separate unions based on race. There’s there Black Police Association, Dallas Latino Peace Officers Assocition, in addition to the regular Dallas Police Union. In 2011, we have all of these separate groups looking out for the best interests of race groups instead of looking out for the interest of all Officers on the force. How can we even begin to expect to have true equality when all races still separate on even the local level? Why aren’t these groups working together to fight for equal benefits for all officers, all members of certain groups, etc. Why is Washington even worrying about what the “black caucus” wants? Shouldn’t they be worried about what all Americans want?
The truth is, big government and big business don’t want us to appear to be equal. Race sells, and it sells big. Keeping the idea in everyone’s head that we all aren’t Americans together, is a big selling point to entice people to be active and vote for certain groups, certain leaders, and to keep buying certain products. It’s why to this day we are still labelling everyone as; African-American, Latino-American, Asian-America, etc. If we were all treated as Americans, certain individuals would not have a job. People like Al Sharpton would have nothing to fight for, and groups like the NAACP and LA RAZA would have no real purpose anymore. Keeping the groups seperate with different names and different media stories keeps the idea alive that America is still not as one.
Politicians use this especially each election cycle when they approach different groups of people and let them know how they understand the hardships of their race. They are careful to point out that their political opponents want to bring them down because they are racist. Welfare is used as a tool in trying to make it seem like Democrats are for the ‘Black Community,’ and Republicans are against them. We are letting politicians tell us that keeping people on welfare and giving them more benefits is the way to go. How corrupt of a society have we become when we’re telling people that their best interests are being looked out for by the amount of welfare received, instead of trying to help them get out of poverty? That’s the race card for you in its truest form right there. The more you can convince someone that their ‘benefit’ is being taken away, the easier it is for you to get them to vote for you the next time around. That right there is a horrible shame and the American people should not put up with that at all. The ignorant part of it all is that there are a lot more people on government benefits that aren’t black, than there are black people on them. Yet the politicians would have us believe differently and at the same time tell us that it’s a good thing for them to stay on the system.
We’ve lived in a completely integrated society for the better part of almot 50 years now, yet we are still being portrayed as seperate and not equal. We have to put down our race on college and job applications. We have to declare our race for the US Census so that politicians know who we are and where we are. We all shop together, work together, go to restaurants and bars together, yet when we get home we are often times bombarded with the categories that the media likes to place us into. There’s no escaping the race card no matter how hard we try, and that’s a shame for a nation that has fought so hard to overcome our past. We are all led to believe that we all don’t have the same opportunities still when we do. The majority of black people have been a part of the middle class for a long time now, yet the media still potrays the opposite. That’s not to say that certain races as a percentage still have some catching up to do, but generally speaking everyone is on the same playing field in most places in the United States. A poor neighborhood is a poor neighborhood no matter what color your kind may be. The only factor that makes a difference in that situation is education.
There will always be those in this society who hold racist views. There will always be those who feel that races should not be mixed. For the overwhelming majority of people though, this is not the case. We are not hyphenated Americans. We are all just Americans. We are human beings who want to live our lives to the fullest and not be bombarded by those who are full of hate. We don’t want to be brainwashed by people who cannot escape the past. We don’t want to be part of a race war that is simply non-existent anymore. Sure we all may come from different backgrounds and share a different past, but we are here in the present and working towards an even brighter future. America doesn’t need the race card. America needs unity and prosperity. While the media, big government, and big business might want things their way when it comes to race-based ideas, it’s up to us to not give it to them. After all, we are Americans. We aren’t their hyphenated toys to play with.