Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Authentic Discussions: Race in America

There has been an extremely heightened awareness of race in our country in 2009. Not a week has gone by that I have not seen and/or heard the phrase "race card" in the media.

Now we all know that the media is all about ratings and keeping us hooked... whether it be to the tube or the RSS feed - they send us tantalizing sound bites constantly to lure us to a (more often than not) mediocre news piece.

Being in a political race for office myself in the state of Illinois makes me all the more aware of the issue of race. My village - Lake in the Hills, IL is in the North West suburbs of Chicago and boasts an increasingly diverse population over the last 10 years. I love connecting with the various people in our village, right now as I blog - I see the house of a Indian family on the court behind my street; one Mexican born family and a mixed race couple (White/Mexican) in the two houses directly behind us - the Blaxicans! (Again I quote my kids - they made that up themselves)

I have read countless articles and had many discussions with my core inner circle but I want to hear more. Yesterday, I read an article
that just laser focused in on all the points I try to make as I talk about race with my mostly White/Hispanic circle of close friends and acquaintances.

My view is this: We have come far in this country and we are to celebrate that. Mainly, because a core group of people made many sacrifices to advance the discussion/course of law over the last 40 years. Additionally, progress has been made because of the resilience of the majority of Black Americans to continue to hope in the midst of what appears, at times to be a very hopeless situation. Without the endurance, innovation and sense of humor to it all - Black America would have long ago perished under the pressure.

I am positive that with all the progress - we still need to press on to eradicate racial and social injustice for all people. It reminds me of something I always say and live by - "I stand up for what is right in a system that is flawed - even if I benefit from that system - I must take a stand." This applies at work. In my church. At the university I attend. Any organization or institution that I consider myself a member of is held to that standard. That includes, and especially applies, to our government. Hence - another reason I am running for office.

I don't believe in the whole "color-blind" statement at all because it's just not true. I do believe what the heart behind that statement is trying to convey but we must find ways to communicate better with one another and I am not speaking about PC talk. PC talk has ruined our country's dialogue on all topics. It has become a crutch by which to NOT express what we really mean but sugar coat true thoughts and feelings that need to be discussed.

I've also heard the phrase - "race fatigue" - the feeling that people are sick of discussing race because it has been such a hot topic since "44" began his presidential campaign two years ago. I can't even relate to that phrase and I am ever fascinated discussing this topic. I once heard someone say - "Only Black people care about race". Maybe that's true. We are usually among the only ones who have to worry about it being a factor in our lives so that make sense. Having married a Mexican in 2001 really heighten my awareness to issues that Mexican Americans face and that is NOT a separate topic. It is very much tied to the discussion at hand but the plight of the Mexican in America is another blog topic for the future...

So - tell me what you think!

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome blog. I've performed in Lake In The Hills as aa bar mitzah MC a couple of times. I'm honord to have such a thoughtful person as a friend.