Talking about race: Um, you first
Obama's speech called for a conversation that not everyone wants.
But others don't want any part of a dialogue that starts from the premise that there is a black America and a white America. They don't want to hear about victims and oppressors. It's past time, they say, to move on.
Blacks "bring up the enslavement card way too much," said JoAnna Cullinane-Halda, 64, who just opened a home decor boutique in rural Colorado. "I'm Irish. My people were enslaved as well. But it's far enough in our dark past. We've gone beyond that. Let it go."
"I kept hearing: 'Minority this, minority that. Blacks aren't getting this, blacks aren't getting that.' I'm disgusted with it," he said. "OK, fine, they've gotten stepped on for 400 years. Let's give them something [to make up for it] and be done with it, the way we did with the Indians."
He's had enough, he said, of identity politics: "If you're born here, you're an American. Period. Act like an American." A fellow mechanic began listing racial and ethnic groups: African American, Hispanic American, Chinese American.
But the deeper truth is this: She never dreamed that anyone would want to talk about race. Until she saw video clips of Obama's pastor sermonizing about black oppression, Britton said she had no clue that anyone other than a few hard-core white supremacists thought much about skin color.
"I thought we were past that," she said. "I didn't realize this was going on in the United States. In this day and age? I was shocked."
These are the tip of the iceberg. They prove racism and stereotyping are still problems.
Tell you what, Americans. You start upholding every broken treaty and every international law regarding indigenous rights. You stop infringing on Indians' sovereign rights, resource rights, and religious rights. And you go a year or two without a single Native stereotype in the major media. Then we can safely conclude that race is no longer an issue.
Until then, we'll keep discussing racial issues. You can get with the program, remain in denial, or go back where you came from. I'd recommend the first option.
For more on the subject, see Highlights of the US Report to the UN on Racism.
Below: Millions of Americans cheer for these racist notions, but there's no racism in America? R-i-i-ight.