The Mask of Racism Today

Racists in America today are crafty, stealthy and often intelligent, daily finding ways to pull a mask over their intentions, words and activities.  Favorite generic methods of disguising their racist Weltanschauung typically are obfuscation, denial, rationalization, use of “alternative facts,” historical distortion, and attempting to flip their rhetoric when challenged to say the subject of their attack is really the one who is racist.

Racists today are generally just “slick” publicly, and you might never know for sure of their hateful feelings, even if you sat and had dinner with them.  However, people of color in particular are well endowed with an innate “racist detector.”  After over 400 hundred years of continual oppression, blacks have no problem detecting the vile vibes of racists, no matter how well they try to tuck it in.  Blacks remember vividly scenes in their history, like the one below, of a black man, Allen Brooks, lynched by a mob in 1910, right in downtown Dallas.  Today people dine outdoors at this major street intersection. I myself at one time lived a stone’s throw from the spot.  If one sees a HD version of the photograph, one will see very young boys and girls, and women in the crowd.  Back then, whites could openly display their racism at any time, in fact it was their way of life.  I think it is mainly only because of civil rights laws, that many of the progeny of those who hung this man, and hundreds of others, or dragged black men behind pickup trucks as in the case of Mr. James Byrd, dragged to his death by two sick racist men in 1998 (only 20 years ago), here in my Texas, are kept in check; otherwise, I think we would see many, many more instances of racist violence.

lynching dallas 1910

On one hand there is the temptation to feel that racism will “fade away” if the subject is not injected continually into the public discourse, and if the flames are not fanned.  I think this is wholly naïve.  Many whites who sat and did nothing, accusing Dr. King of “stirring up trouble” – passed on their attitudes to their children, and at least some of that is being passed on to Gen X, Y and their children.  So racism is truly inter-generational.  For this reason, I totally advocate confronting racism on every front, on every street, in every setting, on the job, in the pews and not giving any quarter in this continuing civil war.  This is not the time to be timid in standing up for justice.  The price of not doing so is the USA becoming a failed state.

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