Memories are short, then again thanks to technology we are living at warp speed. Captain Kirk would be rather impressed at our array of gadgets and while we still haven’t quite made it to Jetsons style living. The world we now live in is a vastly different place than it was just 20-30 years ago.
All of this fast paced living though, has a tendency to wreak havoc on our memories as we constantly consume knowledge and eventually it all melds together to the point that the happenings of just 3-4 years ago seem hazy. Back in 2008, here in the United States, many of us were scared as we saw the economy teeter on the brink of collapse; it seemed almost weekly we were hearing about banks going under. We were at the height of the presidential election season and people were scared and looking for hope and for many it became clear that Barack Obama was that hope after John McCain and his running mate made a series of high profile blunders. Even the most hardened racist among us, started to care about only one color…green and how much of it they had in their possession.
In the wake of Barack Obama’s election, many proclaimed we were truly a post racial nation, after all America had elected its first Black president. However quite a few of us though weren’t jumping on the post racial bandwagon, after all electing a Black man president in the middle of a shit storm was hardly proof we had risen against the hate that is ingrained in the very fabric of this nation. I took to joking privately that some people probably figured that much like action hero Will Smith, maybe some people thought that Barack Obama would play the role of magical Negro and make everything all right again in America. I was told I was being much too cynical, where was my hope?
Well after almost 4 years where we have seen the rise of the Tea Party, a group that no matter what they say basically came about as a direct result of Obama’s election and whose root opposition to Obama seems based in his blackness. Hate speech has increased, even in the current election season; we have seen people at political rallies with shirts that are clear in their intention “Put the white, back in the White House”. Hate crimes have increased, there are far too many incidents for me to rattle off in this space but two minutes on Google will give you all you need. Racism is real, it’s ugly and for those of us of color, most of us never bought into the media manufactured spin that we were truly post racial.
For anyone who doubted what many people of color have said since 2008, the proof is out with the release of the AP survey that since 2008, anti-Black sentiment is on the rise. In other words since we supposedly went post racial as a nation, nothing could be further from the truth, average Jane and Joe White People are not feeling Black folks or even Latinos. The unspoken truth but one that has been discussed in dribs and drabs is that a growing segment of the white population in America is increasingly feeling as if they have become the new millennial nigger.
Sadly such thoughts may play a role in delivering the White House to a man who pretty much doesn’t care about any of us unless we are wrapped in the color green. Yet for many they would rather have “the white back in the White House” no matter what.
I wish I could say that all of this shocks me, it doesn’t, America is still a young nation and true maturity and growth takes time, but I suspect post racial America is not something I will ever see in my lifetime. We are still too close to the seeds of hate that that helped form this country, I think about that every time I think of my grandparents who were share croppers in Arkansas. We have come a long way but this journey is not even half way over.