Enough, already, about racism. Please. Enough!
As long as we keep talking about racism… as long as we blame everything on racism… as long as we claim the reason anyone does anything is racism… as long as we justify outcomes with racism… as long as we keep calling people racists… as long as we’re just certain that someone was motivated by racism… as long as we continue to loosely and carelessly make everything about racism, we will keep racism alive.
The thing about the perception of racism is it is almost always subjective. We are not in the hearts and minds of anyone other than ourselves. When someone does or says something to, or about, a black person (or anyone of another race), we can’t automatically assume it’s racism.
But when blacks, in particular, are told that everything bad that happens to them is because of racism, after decades of this constant refrain, I think one can start to believe it.
For that, we can exclusively thank Democrats. For decades, Democrats have told the black community, and all of America, again and again and again and again that all (not just some, but all) Republicans and conservatives are racists and bigots. This keeps racism alive as a reason for everything bad.
The lesson is that blacks can’t catch a break. They don’t stand a chance. They have no hope. They’ll never make it on their own. They can’t get into college. They don’t know how to get an ID. They’ll never get a decent job. In fact, they’re not safe walking the streets. And it’s all because of evil Republicans.
Now, if you’ve been living in a black community your whole life, and you’ve been hearing this literally since you were born, it’s easy to start believing it. It’s easy to tell yourself it’s happening.
When those white kids at the playground don’t want to play with you, it’s because you’re black. If a white person crosses the street, it’s because they’re racist. When you don’t get the job, it’s because you’re black. If that security guard is looking at you, it’s because he thinks you’re up to something because you’re black.
If you live in a poorer neighborhood, and you look at the conditions of your neighborhood, it’s because white people are keeping you down. And if the police stop you, it’s because you’re black.
The next thing you know, you’re right. You start seeing racism in everything that doesn’t go your way. It gets easier to not take responsibility for your outcomes. If you tell yourself this is how completely the deck is stacked against you, you start to believe it. Then it becomes an excuse. And you become a powerless victim.
As Morgan Freeman says in this clip (start around the 1:00 mark), if you can dream it or imagine it, you can make it happen. But blaming racism becomes a reason why not:
The more you buy in, the angrier you get. Then you start to hate the race that is doing this to you. The race that is responsible. Finally, you, yourself, have become racist, as well.
Meanwhile, there’s not much more infuriating than being accused of being a racist when it couldn’t be further from the truth. And when you hear it over and over and over again, you start getting really angry and resentful. Before long, all these claims of racism become almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Talking about racism keeps racism alive. As Freeman says, “If you talk about it, it exists.”
None of this is to say there isn’t racism. That there isn’t inappropriate or downright dangerous behavior because of racism. But it’s not all the time, and you can’t know when it is. You’ll never know.
So then it becomes about attitude.
This is where the Republican Party, with the worst marketing department in the history of marketing, has severely missed an huge opportunity to make a very positive difference to blacks, and this entire country.
Republicans have been on the right side of race issues since they formed as a party to fight a Civil War to end slavery. The KKK was started by Democrats to intimidate Republicans. Republicans made the 1964 Civil Rights Act possible. They have a great story.
But they can’t figure out how to tell it. As a result, Democrats just keep painting all Republicans and conservatives as racist, and it stands.
Republicans need to tell their story and establish some foundation of trust. They’ve always been there for blacks. They’ve always literally fought for equality.
Then they need to go a step forward. They need to get into the black community with the same message of optimism and encouragement that they use every day with the rest of the country. They specifically need to go into the black community and share a roadmap to get out whatever poverty or bad situation they may be in and to join in the prosperity that America offers everyone.
Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who many have presumed was a Republican, said (paraphrasing) we should judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. He’s believed to be a Republican (and not a Democrat) because that’s a foundational element of being a conservative. Breaking us all down into baseless demographic groups is Democrat territory.
White people can be jerks. Black people can be jerks. White people can be racist. Black people can be racist. White people can be unnecessarily brutalized or killed by police. Black people can be unnecessarily brutalized or killed by police.
People can be jerks. Bad things can happen to people. It’s not any more or less terrible, despicable, or sad when it happens to any one person over any other person.
Ask some people in America, and they’ll tell you everyone is racist to some degree, and we all have to work every day to reign it in.
Others will tell you America is not a racist country, and racism is generally a thing of the past.
Here’s the thing about racism: It’s taught and learned at a very early age. And once it’s engrained, it rarely goes away.
The good news is that racists die every day, and they fewer and fewer are replaced. That means racism is dying out.
We can help it die out by eliminating race from the conversations. No more black awards. No more black history month. No more black caucuses in Congress.
From now on, it’s just people. George Floyd isn’t a black man who was unnecessarily killed. He’s just a man. Just like Tony Timpa or Daniel Shaver. The problem isn’t racism. It’s careless or just bad-acting police officers.
Morgan Freeman addresses this as easily as anyone I’ve ever seen, so we’ll let him have the last word: