When I was growing up in the 1980’s and coming of age in the early-nineties American liberals still held true to a vision of racial equality and civil rights was a major issue in the political debate. During my high school years major-record labels signed the likes of Public Enemy, Boogie Down Productions and A Tribe Called Quest and film-directors like Spike Lee and John Singleton were able to get the green-light from studios on projects. People talked about race and there were discussions on race and while America was still racially divided it seemed we could still talk about race.
Well something happened along the way. In today’s America one cannot even speak about race and if you do happen to say for instance that racism is a problem in America then you will be labeled yourself as a racist. Do not speak of race is a rule today in America. Ignore it and it will go away. This is something that is not a left-right issue; liberals who are the vanguard of gentrification also refuse to speak of race publicly but quietly in the name of progressive change advocate things that are hostile to the interests of African-Americans and in their urban policies resemble something between hyper-capitalists and Stalinist land-grabbers.
Ignore race and it will go away. The conservatives who believe poverty is a moral failing and that black people are just too lazy or dysfunctional keep their comments to themselves. The lefties who say that “no, no it’s about class and not about race” as if those two things can ever be separated in America; they refuse to deal with reality and seek to immunize themselves from discussions on race by putting everything on class.
There is a consensus in White America; we will bend no more to the whims of African-Americans and their desires. There is no need to discuss it because Democrats and Republicans agree on it.
This policy of marginalization of African-Americans after the period of the civil-rights movement, in other words to say that the lives of blacks are hopeless and worthless, formulated over time but when history is written I believe that the OJ Simpson case will have a lot to do with it.
Many may be too young to remember and others may have forgotten but America was completely captivated for two-years on the case of OJ. It was on every TV station everyday and in every newspaper and every one had an opinion. A black man, a football star, an actor, a black man who was a trailblazer in white America, a friendly Negro who always surrounded himself with white people, had killed his white ex-wife and her white friend.
What, America said? We knew the Bloods and Crips and the rappers are violent; but our main man OJ, the Juice? That’s was too much for many who said to themselves if OJ can be violent then what about the UPS man? Whites overwhelmingly thought OJ was guilty and blacks cheered in the streets when OJ was acquitted by a mostly black jury. Most whites believed that the black jury gave OJ a pass because he was black and most blacks believed OJ deserved the benefit of the doubt and even if he was guilty what about the thousands of whites who had gotten off due to jury nullification?
That was ten years ago. In that period you have welfare-reform, a roll back in civil rights, massive gentrification, prisons flooded with black males. Etc., etc., etc.
White America is comfortable. The conservatives are steeped in exurbia without a black man in site. The liberals have fired their black waiters, cooks and cleaning ladies and replaced them with immigrants and liberal whites move into Bed-Stuy and systematically and ruthlessly uproot poor people and then they sit around and drink latte and talk about how liberal they are. A conservative man can still watch the NFL, NBA or boxing if he wants to see a black man but he better not see one moving in next door, young suburban white kids can still listen to Mike Jones or 50 Cent (and that gives them their image of black people) and the urban white liberal is still free to sexually experiment with black people and chalk it up as liberal street-cred. White America is content; more concerned with foreign policy than domestic policy because wealthy liberals and conservatives both want their tax-cuts. Poverty, class and race are passé; the real issues are vegetarianism, gay marriage, abortion, architecture and fighting against Wal-Mart , abortion, stem-cell research and killing Muslims on the other side of the aisle.
America was woken up from its slumber and reminded that the major issue in America is and always has been race, race, race , race and race no matter what the PC professors say who are churning out a new generation of the clueless off of college campuses.
From Katrina to OJ things stays the same. Can we talk about it yet?
The kids are playing in East St. Louis by the way and not Dafur.