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July 22, 2008

Working Through Racism

I had a clear vision when I initiated this site. I wanted a serious discourse about the difficult and hurtful issues of racism in America. Let me be clear, prejudice is not racism. Prejudice is an opinion or judgment that I believe every human being has about one thing or another. As we grow and learn, hopefully, we become less judgmental about people and life in general. Racism however, is an entirely different sort of prejudice and specifically applies to an individual's race. Racism believes that race determines ones abilities, capacities, and rights as a human. Racism teaches that one race is inherently superior to another. It is as much a part of American culture as it was in Hitler's Germany. How painful it is to admit that I live in a country where hating another because of race can still be so polarizing, and is alive, and well.

I underestimated how uncomfortable the subject of racism would be to you the reader. I am hopeful as I continue to engage in this conversation that the discomfort will give way to a willingness to share your insights.

We are living in historic times. It is an opportunity to put the worst of who we have become as a country due to racism to rest, and give rise to the greatness of liberty, justice, and freedom owed to every citizen. For the first time in the history of this divided country a black man, Barack Obama, is running as the democratic nominee for president of the United States of America. What joy and confusion. Since his nomination, the subtle and pointed racial over tones are permeating what we read, see, and hear.

The weekend of July 12th Jesse Jackson was caught on a hot mike disparaging Barack and the black race. More recently it was revealed he used the "N" word also known as nigger to refer to African Americans at large. Let us not be hoodwinked into thinking racism is only one sided. Jesse reminds us all that ignorance and prejudice are equal opportunity shortcomings. Monday, July 14, 2008, the cover of The New Yorker Magazine (7/21 issue) slapped me upside the head. The cover depicts Barack and Michelle Obama portrayed satirically by every lie and myth that dogs his presidential bid. It was racist, sexist, and harmful. The freedom of speech justification seems trivial versus the cover that validated what so many people believe. I whipped off a letter to the New Yorker expressing my displeasure. I am requesting that you do likewise. As soon as I mailed my letter, I caught a snippet of The View on July 17th. There is a hot exchange between Whoopi and Elizabeth, co-hosts of the show, about the "N" word. I can't believe that we still have so far to go. We are besieged by an economy gone amuck, failing banks and mortgage companies, a president and congress seemingly out of touch with the constituency it purports to serve and it is each other we are attacking. Distract, disturb and divide the people. Confusion, blame and emotions will destroy any notion of order and rationality about the real issues and culprits. Add the race card, and behold you have the recipe for nothing. Nothing happens, nothing changes and everyone loses. I am asking us to stop. It is time to hear with our hearts and see with clear eyes. If we are not willing to tackle this cancerous issue, the racism that affects us all, we all lose. The time is now what do you have to say?

Comments and thoughts ... Email PatriciaStatue of Liberty

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