June 26, 2003

By Michael Strickland

I Am a Racist

Earlier this week, the United States Supreme Court issued a decision in a pair of controversial affirmative action suits. Though the justices overturned a university admissions policy using racial quotas, they affirmed the constitutionality of another that allows the use of race as one of a number of factors.

I confess that I haven't taken the time to read the text of the ruling, but I can't help but feel it's yet another backward step. This country has a long history of racism, but I honestly don't believe we'll ever get beyond it until we all ignore race completely.

Since I've previously expounded on this issue, I'm reposting an editorial written back in 2000 to once again proclaim that I am a "racist" (see the very last sentence before taking that statement at face value, please).

· · ·

I am a racist.

At least, that is the conclusion that many readers will reach by the time they get to the end of this article (if they even get that far). For although I use plain common sense rather than bigotry to make my point, I am an enfranchised, white male professional—the antithesis of "Diversity"—and therefore am wholly unqualified to discuss the topic of prejudice objectively.

Not that that will stop me.

Nearly fifty years ago, civil rights groups gained a tremendous victory in this country when the concept of "separate but equal" was finally tossed out in the landmark Brown vs. The Board of Education decision. It was a great step in the direction of a future where people of all colors can—to quote the famous humanitarian Rodney King—all "get along."

But these days, it seems like we’re taking too many steps backward. Instead of following the inclusional spirit of Linda and Oliver Brown, we’re becoming more and more exclusional. We’re creating a new culture of segregation, where we’re voluntarily emphasizing and highlighting the colors of our skin, instead of working to become colorblind.

In a news story discussing the University of Southern California’s all-black dormitory Somerville Place, student Ericka Thomas said, "I didn't know if I could stand to room with a white person" (Los Angeles Times, March 26). Coming as it did from a black person discussing racism, this quote was not deemed racist. But had the tables been turned, and had it been a white student that expressed equally negative feelings about living with a black person, Kweisi Mfume and the NAACP would have called for an instant boycott of the newspaper and the university.

Mfume’s organization, for that matter, serves as a perfect example. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People enjoys a great deal of respect from politicians, the media and the general public. Yet the National Association for the Advancement of White People is dismissed as nothing more than a fringe racist group. While Mfume appears regularly on national television, and often meets with high-level politicians, few people have even heard about the NAAWP.

I don’t believe that such an organization as the NAAWP is necessary or even desirable, but rather use it as an example to point out the double standard that such groups as the NAACP, the Rainbow Coalition and others subscribe to. In seeking to eradicate hate and bigotry with programs and philosophies that emphasize race, they only reinforce the differences between the races. The problem of racism in this country will never go away until we all become color-blind. Black pride can be just as exclusionary as white pride, and thus often perpetuates, rather than lessens, prejudice.

What we need is the NAAAP—the National Association for the Advancement of All People. Until we all start seeing each other as members of the Human Race, instead of the Black, White or Brown Race, then racism will continue to be a sad fact of life. If this position makes me a racist, it's because I'm preferential to the Human Race.


©2003 Michael Strickland ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

What is "The Daily Strick"?

I have long called myself a writer, but too often I don't do what a writer must do daily: write. So you, dear reader, are the beneficiary of my resolution to make a positive change in at least one area of my life. Every single day of this new year (almost), I will write something, anything, and post it here. It is my intention to use this daily exercise to jump-start my too-long-dormant creative energies, and perhaps generate some worthwhile material this year. Hopefully you will find at least an occasional amusement or insight in my daily musings.

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June Columns:

6/30: Halfway There
6/27: 28 Days Later
6/26: I Am a Racist
6/24: America the Obese
6/23: Reality TV Sells
6/20: June Gloom
6/18: Hatch's Hollywood Hacking
6/16: Qualcomm Stadium
6/15: Happy Father's Day
6/14: Flag Day
6/13: Friday the 13th
6/12: Extreme
6/9: Spammed
6/8: Lack of PLANning
6/7: When Grass Attacks
6/4: Culture Shock
6/1: The Baja 500
Previous months in The Archive

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