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It's About the "Race" to the Finish
11/20/2013 12:39:17 PM

By Beverly Gadson-Birch

Since the beginning of time, people of color inhabited the earth. Everyone is different! Even identical twins are different. Think about it! There lies a lot of conflict. With different personalities and backgrounds, folks are bound to disagree. However, our differences should not be grounds for cultural or racial disrespect.

When we think of Race to the Finish we think of people running together to raise the awareness and raise funds for some noble cause. We don’t think of color. Today, I want to explore “Race to the finish” in another viewpoint. After watching Oprah Winfrey’s interview and comments about the lack of disrespect for the President or Office of the Presidency, why is racism still the “elephant in the room” that folks still seem to want to deny?

Rush Limbaugh, who is never short on words, had this to say about Oprah’s success, “how the hell did you become who you are”, alluding to Oprah’s race and success in a White dominated television industry? Some folks still don’t get it! It takes hard work and sacrifices beyond our White counterparts to make it. Then it takes some not so misguided person to believe in you and provide the opportunities and in many cases the funds to back you.

Yes, Oprah was given the opportunity and she succeeded but how many others were locked out? Oprah’s success is just one out of thousands of failures. The system is designed to let a few good Blacks and a few good Hispanics and a few good, well you get my point, through in an affluent “White” world; but, that world is changing more and more to a predominately “Brown” world and herein lies the problem. The problem is relinquishing of power or the changing of the guard. Folks are still afraid of the unknown. There are some White folks who think Brown folks are going to take over the country. That fear is as real as it was when Denmark Vesey was hung while plotting a freedom revolt. The revolt was not about killingWhite folks. It was about obtaining freedom. So, it’s out of fear that folks try to keep you down. Powerful people know what they have done to obtain power and they think those coming after them will be just as ruthless in their pursuit. Power is not always ruthlessly obtained but more often than not it is ruthlessly protected.

Limbaugh saw nothing wrong with Rep. Joe Wilson yelling out ”You lie” to the President while Congress was in session. And speaking of lying, Limbaugh also accused the President of telling the “biggest presidential whopper in history”.

Limbaugh’s reference is to the President assuring those currently with health coverage that they could keep their current coverage if they were satisfied with it. If Limbaugh wants to get into the “biggest presidential whopper in history” whatever happened to President Bush’s whopper about “weapons of mass destruction”. That whopper led this country into a disastrous war that killed and maimed thousands of our soldiers and cost taxpayers billions of dollars that could have been spent here at home. What about President Nixon and Watergate cover up that led to his resigning in disgrace?

While on the subject of “Race to the Finish”, I was in one of our major building supplies store where I spend thousands of dollars each year through for my home and business. There was only one person checking out and a long line of customers were waiting to be served. I decided to walk over to the “Self Check-Out” where one of the employees was helping a customer. I was the only one in line until one of my blond brothers walked up. Well, you guessed it. The employee never acknowledged me but said to my blond brother, go to the next “Self Check-Out” and I will be with you in a moment. And waited on him, she did. I told her you knew I was next but you dismissed my presence and served my blond brother before me. What’s the matter? Is my money worthless? Does she see me as inferior to my blond brother? I summoned the manager and before I could finish explaining what happened, he jumps to his employee’s defense by saying “perhaps she just didn’t’ see you”. I said “didn’t see me? She didn’t have any problems seeing my blond brother behind me. I must be transparent and just don’t know it. Is that it or is that what I refer to as “subtle racism”.

While my encounter may seem insignificant to you, it was disrespectful to me. Subtle racism is what leads into aggressive racism if you don’t nip it in the bud. Well, y’all know they had the wrong person that day. I do not allow folks to dismiss me. My money is the same. My face is the same. My blood is the same. And, my rights are the same. So, what is the problem? My time is just as important as my blond brother and we should have been served in sequential order.

I don’t have a problem with racism. Although folks like to mess with it, I test it. I address it and I detest it. I don’t practice it and I don’t let folks practice it on me. That’s my take on it! Can you just respect me for who I am? No man is superior over another. We were all “created equal”. Now, deal with your shortcomings. Learn to treat folks with respect. If we don’t address this awful and obvious problem, looks like we will still be talking about “Race” until we reach the end of our journey here on earth.

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