William Faulkner once said, “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”
Never is this statement more accurate than when it comes to the always-uncomfortable subject of race relations in America.
To hear people talk of the “new” Jim Crow is LAUGHABLE. There’s no “new” Jim Crow. There’s only Jim Crow.
Desegregation as the rule of law is less than 50 years old. When that’s juxtaposed with over 400 years of direct and indirect oppression, it’s barely a blip on the screen.
If you look at the recent events that prove that racism still prevails, even in the “Age of Obama/Post-Racial Society”, you might question why some insist on talking about racial tensions as if they are somehow relics of a bygone era.
Note the following:
- In 2006, the NYPD murdered an unarmed Sean Bell the night before his wedding, shooting him OVER 50 TIMES. Of the FIVE officers involved in the shooting, only THREE of them stood trial, and those three were acquitted.
- Last February, there was the ASSASSINATION of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, whose only crime, as far as most people could tell, was being a Black teenager in a lily-white suburban area. HIS killer was allowed to roam free for OVER A MONTH before he was FINALLY arrested. (I guess in Florida, Skittles and Arizona Tea are DANGEROUS weapons in the hands of “The Blacks”).
- A few months ago, the public was presented with the “very curious case” of Chavis Carter, the 21-year-old African American male from Jonesboro, Arkansas who somehow “managed” to commit suicide while his hands were handcuffed behind his back ― something that even David Copperfield can’t do.
- At this year’s Republican National Convention, CNN camerawoman Patricia Carroll was pelted with peanuts by convention attendees, as they yelled: “This is how we feed animals!”
And the list goes on and on.
What I appreciate about the RNC incident, however, was the REALISTIC, matter-of-fact perspective Ms. Carroll had when describing it:
“I hate that it happened, but I’m not surprised at all…this should be a wake-up call to Black people. This is Florida, and I’m from the Deep South. You come to places like this; you can count the black people on your hand. They see us doing things they don’t think I should do…People were living in euphoria for a while. People think we’ve [African Americans] gone further than we have.”
This is, by far, one of the BEST contexts used to describe what the state of 21st century American race relations truly is. Some folk in this country are truly blinded by the truth of what it still means to be Black in America, in spite of all the evidence that shows otherwise.
There is still racism. There is still folks who view our skin color and our skin color, alone, as a weapon. There are still those who treat me, and those who look like me as if I somehow should be grateful that my Ancestors were the ones who were caught, and brought over here, on slave ships, and hate me because I feel anything but.
That doesn’t sound “new” to me.
That actually sounds more like the same old, same old (Jim Crow).