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Racism in America Today Comes from All Angles

by Todd A. Smith

 

Airing Our Racist Dirty Laundry: America Shouldn’t Be Surprised

        That post-racial America thing did not last long at all.  Racism in America today does not even come close to what our ancestors dealt with, but whenever intolerance shows its ugly head, it shows us that we need to spend more time understanding our differences instead of ridiculing the differences of others.

            Racist and bigoted beliefs are usually kept behind close-doors and not exposed to the public at large because it would put the bigot in a negative light. 

However, discrimination, from gender-based to religious-based, has made headlines over the last two weeks, and the intolerance of a few makes it obvious that racism in America today needs to be recognized so that we can deal with the problem head-on.

            On Sunday, May 26 a Papa John’s delivery man accidentally sent a voicemail to an African American family that had ordered a pizza.  The couple later explained that they tipped the employee their customary 21 percent, which turned out to be five dollars, but were still insulted with racial slurs by the driver.

            “I guess that’s the only requirement for being a (N-word),” the delivery man from Sanford, Fla. is heard saying.  “Yeah, they give me five bucks there—fine outstanding African American gentleman of the community.”

            In a city like Sanford, still scarred from the death of Trayvon Martin, the comments were like adding fuel to the fire.  The employee was later fired and Papa John’s CEO John Schnatter issued an apology for the racist rant.

            Furthermore, R&B star Miguel who is of African descent, is currently in Twitter turmoil because of negative comments he made about his own race.

            “I’m proud of my heritage, but honestly Black people are the most judgmental people in the world,” he tweeted.  Twitter followers say that comment was possibly the result of an online discussion about religion

            In addition, anyone who is a fan of golf knows that the relationship between Tiger Woods and Sergio Garcia is akin to the Tyler Perry-Spike Lee rift in Hollywood.  The two do not see eye-to-eye, and one is so preoccupied with the other that it seems that’s all they talk about. 

            However, on May 21 Garcia took the beef from sports to stereotypes.  When asked by a reporter whether he would invite Woods over for dinner during the U.S. Open, Garcia replied: “We’ll have him ‘round every night.  We will serve fried chicken.”

            Garcia apologized for the statement and said that it was not racist in nature, a point which Woods disagreed. 

Many still believe that the comments will tarnish Garcia’s career, but his statements should not mean an end to his career, but should bring about the beginning of an honest dialogue about racism in America today.

            What Garcia, Miguel and the Papa John’s delivery man said is no different than what is said behind doors on a daily basis and African Americans are not always on the receiving end.  Black people have talked in racist tones about other races behind closed doors and vice versa.  Men sometimes speak in derogatory terms about women when we are alone at the barbershop and women do the same thing with men at the beauty shops.

            The events over the last two weeks just prove that we need to stop kidding ourselves about the prejudices that we hold inside and realize that there is still racism in America today.

            Many people believe that people who openly discuss our racial, religious and gender differences are adding to the problem of racism in America today, and every other form of discrimination.  However, if we do not talk honestly and openly about our differences people will only do so behind closed doors with like-minded individuals.  Doing so will only reinforce those bigoted beliefs.

            But if we are open about racial issues and other cultural differences, an individual can have their mistaken opinions corrected and hopefully become a better citizen. 

Those individuals should not face permanent persecution for their mistakes, but hopefully if they truly grow as people, racism in American today can significantly diminish and this post-racial America thing can really have some staying power.

This article was published on Friday 31 May, 2013.
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