Why talk about race?

By George Ploss

At the start of the summer I wanted to take the opportunity to explain my approach to issues I raise in my weekly columns. I am an African-American, and as a result of embracing my identity, I view things as how they relate to me, us and them, in that order. Simple right? Not really, because in this day in age, our gas-guzzling, violence-loving, peace-loathing society would like for us to think that we have moved beyond race, or at least beyond black and white issues. They want us to think that the last vestiges of racism reside in the overt actions of an ignorant minority of Americans who burn crosses and have Confederate flag license plates. Who am I referring to as they?

Us. We can’t have an open dialogue about race in this country anymore without people thinking that by stating someone or something is racist, then, we are ‘race whining.’

When race is forever prevalent in our opinions and outlooks, the specter of institutional racism looms in and out of clear political rhetoric and concrete law. When the immigration bill failed at least in part due to racism, a sane, conscious person could only wonder why people could not come to terms with it. When white privilege is real and Affirmative Action is null. These are issues that do not sit well with everyday Americans who say they are not racist, but really are. Otherwise, we would be motivated to put it out in the open, talk about and deal with it.

From its upper echelon fornication, to its blatant dwellings on our evening newscasts, racism deserves to be attacked vigorously and relentlessly. We can’t just ignore it or pretend that we eradicated it along with polio. On an everyday basis in this country people are denied basic access to what makes this country unique because of racism.

People are killed because of it. People are sentenced to prison because of it. People are denied citizenship because of it.

Most things racist hide in the luxuries of society. A lot of people think that blacks perpetuate the racial pendulum. The status quo of structural hierarchy is apparent yet no one wants to delve in its reason, understanding and application. It is barely touched with a 10-foot pole, like the stinky kid in class.

To be black and in school is a tremendous feat alone. To graduate is an even greater one. So when black dropout rates are climbing, does racism have anything to do with it? Whether it does or doesn’t, it deserves to be looked into simply because of the general nature of our country.

Racism is real, and the African-American feels it everyday and that is why I mainly discuss race and racism, because I feel it everyday. That is why I’m an Afro-Centrist. That is why I don’t buy white bread. And why the Bears lost the Super Bowl.

Seriously, the effect racism has on this country is brutal and totalitarian, and with that said, let’s get the summer going. I’m sure I’ll be offending the usual sensitive bags zealots, but hey, I look forward to their dialogue.

One Love.