Whenever Race Relation is brought up, Whites cringe, Blacks become angry. They live in two different worlds. Racial discrimination is real or exaggerated depend on whom you ask.
If you’re white, you’d be most likely confused by how much tantrum the Blacks have over an issue that was dealt with once and for all. After all, blacks can vote, they hold public office, they have Affirmative Action in place; best of all, the country elected a Black president. You’d reason that there are a few white people who may be racist but you’d swear that most Whites have come to understand the issue and deal with it appropriately. It’s nice to think so but it’s very far from reality.
It’s impossible to be a black individual in America and not experience discrimination, frequently for some, regularly for others. Even with Affirmative Action in place, discrimination is rampant. Overt or subtle, it occurs every day, everywhere and in every situation. That’s what breaks the conversation on the issue of race in America. Blacks know there is a problem; Whites believe there is no problem. The outcome is two camps talking past one another with no point of intersection. That could explain the reason it’s taking much longer to come up with a real solution.
Overt discrimination is easy to recognize; Cliven Bundy’s comments, Donald Sterling’s rants are the latest examples of such. Subtle discrimination however which represent well over 90% of discrimination cases is not so easy to point out; they occur subtly. A few examples may help shed some light into its frequent occurrence and the difficulty to pinpointing it out.
Two well educated, impressively dressed, successful black women, one an aspiring senator, the other an investment firm president, were invited to a luncheon organized by a media company in NYC. They notified the receptionist when they arrived; she got up, asked them to follow her and took them to the kitchen area and said, where are your uniforms? What was the implication here? Two black women, a luncheon, the conclusion was simple, they were there to prepare the food. Would the receptionist think so for two comparably dressed white women? That’s what subtle discrimination is.
That example was no exceptional case. A close friend of mine, vice president of investment at Chase in Long Island, NY who dressed up every day to meet with her wealthy clients was stopped in a hallway and ordered to deliver a piece of mail “pronto” to another office building. The implication; she is black, she can’t possibly be somebody important. That type of subtle discrimination permeates the lives of blacks across the country. We label those frequently occurring cases “mistakes”; they were mistaken for kitchen help; she was mistaken for the inter-office delivery person. There is really no need for exaggeration on the part of the Blacks.
Another interesting example I like to bring to the Race Relations conversation is, two women shoplifters, one black and one white, were arguing over whose turn it was to shoplift at a CVS store in Long Island. The black woman wouldn’t let go that it was her turn; for some odd reason, the white woman wanted to be the one to do it. They were getting nowhere. The white woman said, you might as well let me do it; it’s much easier for me. The minute you enter the store, they’ll be watching you. Me, I walk in, take whatever and walk out without being noticed. Those shoplifters illustrate a problem that most blacks are already aware of but most whites would simply shrug off as nonsense. I was eyewitness to that particular scenario; I sat on a bench nearby during their argument.
Recall the two ladies who were “mistaken” for kitchen help earlier? It actually happened. Read about it. Earlier in that week, people who were to attend the luncheon were asked under what circumstance it would be ok to discriminate against blacks. “There is no circumstance to do any such thing” everyone responded; the receptionist, of all people, answered it is wrong to do so. Despite the “perceived” progress made in regards to race relations in America, subtle discrimination is however on the rise with no end in sight and the solution is not black and white.
Subtle discrimination makes it harder to resolve Race Relations issues in America, how would you tackle that problem?
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