When preparing to address difficult, “touchy” topics such as race, politics and religion, one must always be cognizant of those who may become offended due to the nature of the conversation. This triumvirate of issues has caused devastation worldwide, ruined personal & business relationships and has sparked a myriad of wars throughout the course of recorded time. The truth becomes uncomfortable; and when dealing in that truth, one must understand that the facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored. When analyzing the headline photo caption, imagine the mind shifts and wide range of emotions exhibited based on one’s race and cultural upbringing. For the African-American, the reaction is often swift and definitive. Typically they’re in immediate agreement with the statement. I mean, how could they not approve of the blunt honesty of that sentiment expressed by @Adonissound (via Twitter) with all the historical evidence at our disposal – chattel slavery, Jim Crow, redlining, sharecropping, the Black Codes, the formation of unions, the Prison Industrial Complex, etcetera and so on. To those of European decent, they may find absurdity in the assertion. Their replies may consist of the argument that the playing field is level for all Americans; that slavery was a mere moment in the United States’ dark yet illustrious past which has been rectified by the adoption of the Emancipation Proclamation, the passage of the 13th and 14th Amendments and the passing of the Voters, Civil and Housing Rights Acts during the 1960s. To compare serious social issues to that of paranormal or supernatural activities is ridiculous and an insult to the public’s intelligence. That this opinion further drives the narrative of a racial divide which instigates disharmony amongst the races. But in a country where White Americans are the racial majority, with a 77.7% share of the U. S. population (which includes Hispanics who described themselves as White based on a 2013 Census Bureau report), is this a case of cognitive dissonance; that in which one race does not understand the magnitude of the chain events that has led to the disenfranchisement of another; or simply a case of the “majority” race being oblivious to, and in many cases having no disregard to the advantages they’ve secured by controlling all the industries, utilities, media and resources? How can one recognize a problem when they have no idea or understanding that one exists?
Race is a social construct that artificially divides people into distinct groups based on characteristics such as physical appearance (particularly color), ancestral heritage, cultural affiliation, cultural history, ethnic classification, which serve social, economic, and political needs of a society. We can all agree that no child is born understanding the concept of racism, discrimination or oppression. Racism is a learned behavior that is observed, implemented and experienced by the parties involved; no different than a child being taught the fundamentals of the world’s monetary system. At first, a child sees a dime, quarter or nickel as a shiny object; holding no particular value other than what is pleasing to the eye. Only after being taught its significance does paper currency become more appealing and desirable because of how it’s worshipped and the connotation that the more strips of legal tender one possess, the growth in one’s esteem; the more that can be purchased; the higher the adulation received by bearing large sums of it. The possession of coins is seen as insignificant; not understanding that with the accumulation of a large number of them over time, one’s wealth can be equivalent; the process is only slower. Race is regarded in the same fashion. If a family runs a corporation, and then allows an outsider to join their ranks as a consultant or employee, any complaints addressed with those with controlling interest would be seen as frivolous, because to them the company has always run in that fashion and any underlying issues were brought about by the disgruntled employee for not having an understanding of how things are. That’s why majority rules; and with race, as with big business, each rules on the concept of those in power establish the guidelines in which everyone should abide by.
Accepting those parameters, let’s discuss the phenomenon’s that makes the headline statement true. During the month of March 2015, according to NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center), the ten (10) states with the highest number of UFO sightings since 1998 include the following – number of sightings to date in the state, last city reported, date and race ratio (White to Black) according to the latest U. S. Census from abcnews.go.com: California – 11,202 (Ladera Ranch; March 22, 2015; 69% to 1%); Florida – 5,113 (Deltona; March 23, 2015; 54.5% to 9.7%); Washington – 5,004 (Everett; March 24, 2015; 81.05% to 3.35%); Texas – 4,359 (College Station; March 25, 2015; 77.2% to 6.8%); New York – 3,837 (Bronx; March 22, 2015; 45.8% to 43.3%); Arizona – 3,212 (Green Valley; March 23, 2015; 91.9% to 0.3%); Pennsylvania – 3,142 (Philadelphia; March 25, 2015; 45.5% to 44.2%); Ohio – 2,907 (North Ridgefield; March 22, 2015; 92.6% to 1.4%); Michigan – 2,451 (Vicksburg; March 24, 2015; 93.6% to 0.5%); and North Carolina – 2,273 (Pfafftown; March 18, 2015; 90% to 8%). In cities other than the Bronx, New York and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where the populations were diverse, everywhere else the ratios reflected a figure where White Americans were the distinct majority. Where grievances lodged by people of color could be easily overlooked as bellyaching and whining. The areas in which Sasquatch, or the creature commonly known as Big Foot, has been sighted also have eerie parallels to those of the UFO findings. Areas in which African-Americans would not normally frequent to encounter such a beast include Mt. Rainier in the State of Washington; the Muir Woods in the State of California; Ecola State Park in the State of Oregon; Drift Peak in the State of Colorado; and Shawnee National Park in the State of Illinois to name a few. And there shouldn’t be any argument about the Loch Ness, considering the monster is thought to lurk in the waters of Scotland where the ratio White to Black is 96% to 0.6%. Using these figures as a barometer, albeit a small sample, the caption defines that a demographic could more readily identify with the existence of mythical creatures, specters and celestial beings, than to the plight of those that weren’t considered their equal.
On July 22, 2015, MTV aired a documentary titled, “White People.” During its telecast, Jose Antonio Vargas (journalist and filmmaker) travels around the country and asks what’s fair when it comes to affirmative action, if colorblindness is a good thing, what privilege really means and a host of other questions. Unearned benefits not discussed in the film but appear to be a reality of life include examples such as being able to get into an expensive car without being suspected as a drug dealer; the ability to apply for a job and not being rejected because of a name; or while in an interracial relationship, being considered the breadwinner and/or the more educationally qualified of the two. Of course there are those with an opposing view who contend there are different types of privilege, not only related to skin color, that impact the way individuals are accepted in society or are discriminated against. That being born with certain attributes affords one opportunities that others may not have. In an article written by Gina Crosley-Corcoran titled, “Explaining White Privilege to a Broke White Person”, she lists citizenship (being born a U.S. citizen), class (financial stability), sexual orientation (being heterosexual), sex (being male), ability (being able bodied) and gender as being key components to determine one’s state of being, success and happiness. Regardless of your stance as it relates to this argument, while people scoff at the idea of #DrivingWhileBlack (John Felton, a Dayton, Ohio pulled over for making eye contact with a police officer), #CNNBeLike (the disparaging, uneven media coverage pertaining to crimes committed by both Black and White offenders) and now #LaughingWhileBlack (10 Black women kicked off the Napa Valley Wine Train after complaints for laughing too loud), we have failed humanity by continuing to allow this system to fester like an old wound without addressing the implications it has by allowing one group to have clear socio-economic advantages over others. It becomes more evident when the argument of reparations arises which has seen the Jews, Native Americans and Japanese awarded monetary compensation for the atrocities committed against them; while Blacks continue to seek the forty (40) acres and a mule “proposed” to them after the end of the Civil War. Were the “dreams” of equality King so eloquently expressed on this day on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in 1963 a desperate plea for America to change her tyrannical ways and usher in an age where “all men are created equal” merely quotes to be recited annually? Are the inroads made by revolutionaries of all races attempting to balance the scales of justice and equality footnotes in the annals of history? Until the Hubble Telescope identifies extra-terrestrial activity preparing to enter earth’s atmosphere for alien/human interaction, Big Foot isn’t imitated and belittled in Slim Jim commercials and ghosts aren’t figments of people’s imagination becoming tangible entities, those that debate the concept of white privilege will say there are “varying dimensions and degrees of discrimination” while following two (2) individuals in their store under the assumption that they may steal their merchandise, or dismissing a qualified applicant’s job application based on the name which appears on the document. “Sorry Levondia! You don’t fit the description we’re looking for.” Let’s change the paradigm. “We Are The Change!” I’m gone! (b)
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