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When are WE going to get over it?

 

dr-manis

For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African Americans finally going to get over it?

Now I want to ask:  “When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

opinion-081Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.” 


Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes.   Criticize them, yes.  Call for their impeachment, perhaps.

But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying -that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that schoolchildren from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”    How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can -once and for all- get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?  How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?  How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loud mouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we starting “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency.   I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here’s my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our damnable color prejudice, “We HAVE overcome.”

It takes a Village to protect our President!!!

About the author: Andrew Manis is author of Macon Black and White and serves on the steering committee of Macon’s Center for Racial understanding.


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9 Responses to “When are WE going to get over it?”

  1. Eric Says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    Dr. Manis;
    I found your article very interesting. While I agree with the core statement that we as a nation and world must get past racism, I took a bit of issue with the fact that you seem to blame all racism on white people.

    I think that perhaps you realize white people are not the only ones guilty of racism but are simply “looking after your own” so to speak with this article.

    I don’t know that this is the best approach to a topic like racism. I believe that before we can conquer racism, we must lay bare the facts surrounding it.

    The most important fact about racism in today’s world is that it is not just limited to White’s oppressing everyone else.

    Many years ago I went into a soul food restaurant here in Clarksville as an experienced food service worker only to be told that the position had been filled without even having the chance to fill out an application. I later ran into an African American friend who went in 2 hours after I did and got the job which had allegedly been filled.

    I believe that ALL people and not just White people need to move past race. I don’t pretend to know all the answers, but I believe that articles like this which sternly point the finger at white people without making note that racism is not solely a white against everyone else issue can do more harm than good.

    Thank you for your insights.

    Eric Gregory

  2. Turner McCullough Jr. Says:
    January 20th, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Dr. Manis,
    I appreciate the spirit and tone of your article. It has been said many years ago that while slavery was the Black Man’s Cross to Bear, Racism is the White Man’s Burden. You summed that up quite rightly.

    John Dahling, a British historian, in “The History of Freedom, 1907 said, “The one prevailing evil of democracy is the Tyranny of the Majority.” Here is this country, that tyranny has allowed this pestilence of racism to fester in the Heart of America. Recognizing and acknowledging that fact is the beginning of its termination.

  3. hood conservative Says:
    January 28th, 2009 at 11:57 am

    now as a 30 year old black conservative, i thought this article was , i hate to say it, but it was right on time. i will take it up another notch though. black people need to be a bit more humble that we now have a black president. i dont think they know how hard it was for Mr.Obama. i dont think all white people hate blacks, i wouldnt even say most, or some. its just a few knuckleheads thats pulling us back to the 1960′s. i sure think you for your insight though. one of my older uncles( 65 years old) told me that racism will finally be over when, i hate to say this, more of the older white generation pass away. you have to realize these people have either seen, or be a part of things like lynching black folks

  4. Rece007 Says:
    February 3rd, 2009 at 11:05 am

    I totally agree with the article. I have experienced racism directly here in Clarksville,TN. At the time I was in a interracial relationship. I believe that Clarksville has a very very very long way to go on dealing with race because no one is willing to deal with it. From what I have been told certain people just don’t agree with interracial dating and that just it. I have been in front of someone while they used the “N!##@” word without thinking twice. It blew my mind and I did not know how handle it. I hope and pray that we as PEOPLE can get OVER IT already, not just one specific race.

  5. xsjed Says:
    February 9th, 2009 at 9:57 am

    I happen to surf into this blog by mistake.
    Firstly I am not an american,Iam from the Caribbean. I think that we on this side see things very differently.Though, yes we do have racism in the Caribbean,we party,work go to school,fight,and are neighbors without a big problem. We often see the other person as a person and not in color. I think that I understand the problems there in Clarksville. One thing that all races must understand is that All humans are made equal,like every plant,flower tree grass what ever they have their purpose likewise humans,yellow,pink black white. People are people.

  6. Sondra Says:
    February 11th, 2009 at 10:46 pm

    “never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes” is a false statement. If this writer didn’t see it in the headlines, perhaps they weren’t looking. The only reason Obama’s assassination attempts are so prevelant is because the media… Read More doesn’t want to “get over it”. Perhaps if we quit listening to what the media tells us to think, and we begin to think for ourselves (blacks and whites) we could get over it. Electing our president should have nothing to do we skin color, self preservation, or selfish gain, but on the basis of Godly character. I didn’t vote for Obama – not because of his skin color but because ideas like killing unborn babies becoming legalized and viewed as a “personal choice” instead of an abomination of God’s law. The Biblical character seems to be lost. It’s just as wrong to kill someone because they are black as it is because they weren’t planned.

  7. mrslane Says:
    August 25th, 2009 at 5:28 pm

    One of my friends just e-mailed this article to me in August. Personally, I am apalled that anyone, of any color, would write such an article. My skin is white but I don’t want this man speaking for me. I don’t need to get over anything, but maybe he does, that’s why he wrote this article. He writes, “I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here’s my three-point plan: First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.” Is he for real? US WHITE PEOPLE??? Who in the hell does he think he is? He’s the one with the racism problem.

  8. Kasey Says:
    September 16th, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    The article is written in a harsh tone – blunt, generalized – and I like the fact that it was written that way. Why? Because that’s exactly how victims of ANY type of prejudice or discrimination feel – that they are the subject of a harsh generalization based not on WHO they are, but WHAT they are.

    A person who considers themselves “white” and reads this article gets offended? So how do you think people of other races feel when they are called names or stereotyped, lumped together as a group, as if they are all one? What about religions? Political parties? Ethics? Cultural/ethnic backgrounds? Weight? Disabilities/scars? Gender? I’ve been discriminated against, abused, threatened, intimidated, etc. for ALL those reasons – and for my race as well.

    I suppose people consider me “white”. I read the article and accepted that I was part of the target audience – although my people have lived on this continent for 400 years, so I honestly have no idea what blood runs through my veins.

    Mr. Manis wrote the article the way he did because he wanted to get people’s attention. If it angered you, perhaps he hit a sore spot. Maybe it would pay to let go of the anger just a little bit and read the article again – and ask yourself exactly why you’re angry.

    Do you feel as though you have been discriminated against because you’re white? Does that anger you? Offend you? So now maybe you have a little taste of what people go through every day, all around the world, because of various belief systems that lead to prejudice and discrimination. And maybe – just maybe – instead of being angry, you could try to do your part not to add to the problem.

  9. weaver.robert Says:
    September 17th, 2009 at 11:35 am

    I applaud this article for its sincerity and honesty.

    I am not shocked however at some of the comments. It is suggested that “ALL people and not just White people need to move past race (Eric Gregory)”, yet I ask in what order should that movement be made? Should the race which has perpetrated the crime in it’s most heinous form begin taking the necessary actions to move past it? Or is that burden too, to be placed upon the welted backs of the race for which such appalling acts were considered acceptable? Mrslane suggested that the author has a race issue by acknowledging racism not only in it’s outward appearance, but it’s subconcious and institutionalized manifestation as well. Mr. Gregory also liken his racist experience of not being hired as a tit for tat experience that blacks have endured. With all due respect, if you could call upon such experiences for the past 400 years, perhaps then you would have a case for comparison.

    Kudos to the author.

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