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Race Relations
Do you think that race relations in the United States will improve in 2015?
So, Just What is Racism?
7/15/2015 2:12:40 PM

By Hakim Abdul-Ali

Recently, I was approached by an individual who started engaging in a conversation with me of his own choosing and it appeared in an arbitrary sense that he was talking about racism.

This brother felt that he wanted to explore my views on the subject of racism because he said he enjoyed (some) of my thoughts and opinions in my column. As time moved on in our chat, if you can call what took place any more than a brief discussion, I thought about that painful reality that has and very much still exists within the personal corridors of many American's ethnic thoughts, religious philosophies and political ideologies.

Hidden or visible, racism in the USA is as American as apple pie. That's what the studious African-American Muslim religious leader, Jamil El-Amin, once said back in the '60s when he was known as H. "Rap" Brown, when calling racism what it was and is in the bald eagle's domain.

Reflecting on that statement, I've often thought about how racism permeates the American educational, social, employment and political landscapes, etc., like dark clouds that are dishearteningly hanging in the sky. I focused on that trend of thought when I was listening to and talking with aforementioned brother during our so-called chat about racism.

I told him that his question of me was very much a relevant one but, because of the depth of the topic, I'll write a little, something, something in my next column about this point. Hopefully, that brother will read this article, because it's literally dedicated to his inquiry of me about what I feel about the aspect of racism in any format in the lives of anyone, and specifically as it relates Black folk in general.

The subject of racism is a complex affliction in America's "his-story" and probably will remain so for some times, despite the current cosmetic political correct cliches that are underway to pretend that it doesn't exist. As an African-American, with a little age under my mental belt, I know firsthand that racism hasn't gone anywhere, it's just there waiting for someone or something to allow its tentacles to rise again.

Have you checked out news recently? I have, even though some ethnically "colored" folk in this country are forever pretending that someday they will be free. Free from what I ask? Maybe, they'll be free of having to deal with the reality that racism is still as American as apple pie. It's (just) a thought thrown to the wind.

Thinking back to the brother's inquiry of me on the street, I can't help but reflect on the wisdom of the ancestors' insight on this dastardly reality called racism. In many ways, racism is not something to be glossed over and swept under the rug of self-denials, so I refer to some great minds and how they saw and viewed racism in their lives.

Read very carefully what these collective geniuses and wise souls, with committed minds, had to say about racism and you can tell me whether you agree or disagree with them. But remember, even if don't like apple pie, ingesting racism of any kind is not a nutritious substitute for being free if that slice of racism's pie is an unhealthy and (unjust) brainwork of democracy gone mad.

Arthur Ashe, the great tennis player once said,"AIDS isn't the the heaviest burden I have to bear...being black is the greatest burden I've had to bear. No question about it, race has always been my biggest burden, having to live as a minority in America."

Angela Davis, professor, educator and activist, said, "I see racism as such being even more dangerous in the latter nineties than it was in the fifties and sixties. For one thing, it is more structurally entrenched in the economic system and so the globalization of capitol has led to racism structures that are often not recognized as racism."

Lerone Bennett, great author and teacher of Black History, uttered, "We misunderstand racism completely if we do not understand that racism is (a ) mask for a much deeper problem involving not the victims of racism but the perpetrators."

Coleman Young, former mayor of Detroit, Michigan, said, "Every black person who rises is subject to a greater degree of criticism and more than any other segment of the population."

Mahalia Jackson, America's greatest gospel singer ever related, "Until my singing made me famous, I'd lived so far inside the colored people's world that I didn't have to pay attention every day to the way some white people in this country act toward a person with a darker skin."

Joseph Washington, a 19th century historian said, "The Negro is the only race that has ever come in contact with the European race that has proved itself able to withstand its atrocities and oppression. All others like the Indians, who they could not make subservient to their use, they destroyed."

Toni Morrison, Nobel laureate and novelist, voiced, "Race has become metaphorical, a way of referring to and disguising forces, events, classes, and expressions of social decay and economic division far more threatening to body politic than biological "race" ever was."

John Henrik Clarke, one of Black America's greatest scholars and educators boldly said, "The struggle of racism all along has been a struggle to regain the essential manhood lost after the European expansion into the broader world and the attempt to justify the slave trade."

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Nobel laureate and civil rights leader, said, "Racism is a sickness unto death."

Frederick Douglass, renowned abolitionist and autobiographer, related, "You degrade us and then ask why are we degraded. You shut our mouths and ask why we don't speak. You close your colleges and seminaries against us then ask why we don't know."’

John Hope Franklin, acclaimed and honored historian, said, "People have been sitting on my neck for a century, and when I get a piece of my neck out, they start this reverse discrimination cry."

To answer "So, Just What is Racism?" requires careful scrutiny, and I'm still engage in finding out what it really is and how to eradicate it. It's takes work. All I know is that "it is what it is."

For now, be aware that prejudice should have no place in our lives, in any sectarian format because bigotry is another way to eat segregation's apartheid apple pie. What a nasty taste! For today and always, that's, "As I See It."

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