Wednesday, March 19, 2008

The Race Is On



I wish I could just write about the Run for the Roses here. It's easier and certainly more fun to speculate about 3 year olds like Pyro and War Pass than to focus on all the muck coming out of the Democratic Party's stables these days. In light of recent developments, however, the RACE is on.
A short week ago, War Pass was undefeated and looked like the Triple Crown was his for the taking. Barack Obama was running for president and enjoyed a narrow delegate lead in this historic stretch drive for the nomination. Now War Pass is questionable, his pedigree and health in doubt. Obama is suddenly a Black man running for president. Wasn't it all inevitable?
Americans (North Americans, that is) have such a difficult time talking about race. It's no wonder we have to ask ourselves if we should even have the conversation. Of course we should, but root canal often becomes preferable because we fear that we'll be misunderstood.
So a Black minister assuages his anger from the pulpit; he's of the generation that experienced the deep seated viseral racism as well as the current institutionalized variety. When people speak of discrimination, he can put specific dates and times to it; he can tell you what was said, thought, and how it felt in the moment. Makes me wonder if part of the problem is that many people don't know too much about history any more. That's one of the casualties of a test driven curriculum. What do young folks know of slavery? Do they know the numbers? Have they read Black Cargoes? Do they know why the "peculiar institution" was so different in Latin America? Hell, young Black kids easily defend their use of the "N" word in music and speech today because they rarely have the experiences of their grandparents. It's an old tale; generation to generation.
It's so pitiful watching the old Liberal guard putting their feet in their mouths daily. Pitiful because they don't have a clue. Soon it'll be easier to just say nothing.
I think what we need here is some modeling. I think, too, that young folks can show us how it's done, how to have a conversation about race. It takes an enormous amount of honesty to even begin. That and the will to persevere. We'll do it, though...because we really have no choice but to get it right. You can't win every race... right? But maybe ...maybe...

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