Paul R. Lehman, NAACP and Tea Party race gameJuly 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm | Posted in American Racism, Media and Race | Leave a comment
Tags: NAACP, Tea Party
Once again the subject of race comes into the public arena with charges of racism from a variety of sources including the NAACP and the Tea Party. As with previous incidents, once the discussion quiets down, things will go on as before because trying to effect change in America regarding race cannot begin without new terms and their definitions. The point is that each charge of racism directed towards any individual is nothing but wasted air and energy. America has played the race game so long until it knows not how to get out of it. Well, here we go again.
America got into the race game for economic reasons that grew out of control. Once they realized it was being taken seriously, there was no way to correct the problem without losing face and wealth. President Lincoln did not want to free the slaves during the Civil War, but did so in the rebellious states as a war measure, not a humanitarian one. Prior to the Civil War African Americans were thought of as chattel or property and that being the case, they were treated as less than human. The operative word here is treated. Everyone knew that Africans were human beings, but to pretend they were of another biological race simply gave license to owners to treat them as they wanted. If the owners thought that slaves were not human then they are guilty of the insidious crime of bestiality since their procreation with the slaves was a frequent occurrence. They cannot have it both ways, although they tried.
The concept of race continued to grow after the Civil War from both social and economic reasons. All elements of society took part in the race game from the church to the courtroom, from the school to the polling place. No one in power had the courage to ‘fess up’ about the game. So, many people not knowing the difference believed that they were biologically a different race from people who did not resemble them. Many prominent Americans went so far as to try and prove that different races existed and that the so-called white race was superior to all the others. Through the years that line of thinking has acquired a large following. Today, there are cults, groups, and collections of people who believe with their entire being that they are superior to other people because of their so-called race. The time has come to call it quits on the race game.
One of the reasons for calling a stop to the game is that people need to know the truth; it will free them. The truth is that all human beings belong to one race, Homo sapiens. (For a more detailed discussion of this subject, see my book, America’s Race Problem, A Practical Guide to Understanding Race in America.) However, because society continues to act as if races do exist, many people continue to believe it. For example, if we examine the word racism we discover that no one individual can be a racist; that person has to belong to a group of like-minded people. In order for racism to exist, the sponsoring group must have the power to create, promote and maintain the biased philosophy. In America, an African American or any non-European American person cannot be a racist. They simply do not qualify for lack of power. Be that as it many, if all people belong to one race, the possibility for racism does not exist.
Today, when a bigot is called a racist, he or she is happy because that term reinforces their belief in the existence of races with theirs being superior to all others. That is what keeps the game going. If society called a halt to the game, then the people who continued to believe that they belong to a biologically superior race would be seen for what they are, ignorant. The term racist is no longer useful because it does not carry the stigma and critical sting it once did. When the term bigot is used in place of racist, the race element is removed from the program and lets the air out of the biased person’s inflated ego. Basically, it levels the playing field. A charge of bigotry can be made and substantiated with visual evidence where a charge of racism does not lend itself to the same scrutiny. This fact brings us back to the NAACP and the Tea Party exchanging charges of racism. Nothing constructive or positive can result from these claims because they have no social value that is respected.
What need to happen in America are a call to the truth, a break-away from the old stereotypes that were part of the race game, and a coming to terms with the realities of today. What that involves is a definite break away from the use of the word race and all its derivatives. Add to that the discontinued use of the words black and white and use in their place African American and European American. What will happen in America if such a change takes place is a decrease in the points of difference among people and references to specific points of differences that can be discussed rationally.
Just for the experience, check back to see how much progress has been made regarding race in America since the last incident was broadcasted across the nation. None. Why not? Because the discussion never involve the problem, only the effects. What sense does it make to dry yourself off while you are still in the water? Americans trying to address the problem of race in America must first get rid of race.