Focus on discrimination that kills and destroys

Photo of Karlyle Stephens
Karlyle Stephens

Here’s what discrimination looks like.  In a scene from “Selma,” President Johnson warns Dr. King in 1965: “you march those people into rural Alabama and its going to be open season.”  By this time, there had already been a “bloody Sunday” and a murder of unarmed black protester  Jimmie Lee Jackson by state troopers.  All this because “those people” were fed up with being the disadvantaged and thought it be time the dominant group acknowledge their equal right as humans beings and voting citizens.

Fifty years and one half-African face added to the list of U.S. presidents later, there’s an intense reemergence of the race debate which brought with it scary old expressions like “open season.”  How could we have possibly got here when everything on paper suggests we now live in a post-racial society? Racism may be an illusion, but it began and still exists with a big helping hand from mass media entertainment – from out of our imagination.   Still deeply imbedded in the conscious of both blacks and whites, are symptoms from what I’ve heard a doctor call “Post traumatic slavery disorder.”Yeah, I laughed too when I heard this, but you know it’s true.

Speaking on the current deadly relationship between the justice system and the black community, FBI Director James Comey admitted, “Many people in our white majority culture have unconscious racial biases and react differently to a white face than a black face.”  Could This explain the quick tendency to arrest, jail, or pull the trigger on a black face? And for the even quicker acquittals for their killers? Why is it that the only difference in 2015 is that we could have caught Jimmie’s killer on video?

The myth of a post racial society allows for people, particularly those from the majority dominant group of white males, to disregard these current realities of racial discrimination and the history that makes it so.  Ironically enough, they insist that racism is now reversed. The wonderful Bill O’Reilly claims that the “open season” is actually being declared on white men. Exactly how does this reverse work? Does it mean also a reversal of racial legacies which gave way to all the unconscious stereotypes we used to identify one another?

Everyone may be capable of being the subject of discrimination. But can anti-white discrimination carry any significant impact or life threatening consequences?  It’s certainly not worth upstaging discussions about more serious cases of social inequality.

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These are archived stories from Mesa Legend editions before Fall 2018. See article for corresponding author.

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