Alright, I already know, even as I type out this very sentence, that this topic will be a controversial one. However, I couldn't think of a better way to start as, after all, I am Mr. Cross, no?
Anyway, this post, my very first, has been brought on by both lived experience and the recent incident involving Mr. (Dr.?) Henry Louis Gates and what occurred outside his homestead. Now I already know that there are at least two different views of what occurred that day, but, let's be honest with ourselves my white friends, we all know, deep down within our little hearts that refuse to allow false knowledge and assumptions brought about (in some cases) through a privileged existence, that what happened to Mr. Gates would likely never, ever, ever , ever, etc. have happened to another individual of more Caucasian features and lighter skin.
Truly, if we are being honest with ourselves, if some one of European descent was attempting to break into Mr. Gates' home his white neighbor would only have been prompted to call the police if the man was wearing a ski mask, shifting about suspiciously, carrying a gun/bat/both/etc., and wearing a large, florescent pink, neon sign reading "HEY! I'M WHITE AND I'M A THIEF! BE A PAL AND DON'T CALL THE POLICE!". And even then, she might not have called the police!
...okay, I might be overexaggerating a bit...but only a little bit.
Anyway, the real point of this post is to point out that, despite claims that the good ol' U.S. of A has transcended race, mostly by whites (be they liberal or conservative, or even independent) and some privileged or delusional blacks, this, based on my LIVED EXPERIENCE, is completely and totally unfounded and untrue. Yes, America, while you did vote for a black man (well technically a biracial man, but in America and throughout most of the world that's the same thing, right?), you only did so because your other known option was a man whom you knew would likely "kick the bucket" leaving his incompetent Vice President in charge of the most militarily advanced nation in the world. Can you say, "Armageddon?" I thought so...
Now, I personally have no religion, but even I know that if Mrs. Palin, God bless her soul, were to be the Commander and Chief a whole lot of fire and brimstone would be brewing...literally. So, America, realistically you really only had one logical choice, which would be our esteemed President, Barack Obama. But if you really examine the polls, over 30% of the nation, granted primarily the Bible Belt, voted for McCain. Hm...I guess that alone would make a good case for America not quite transcending race, but that could just be me blogging out loud.
Anyway, aside from that little fact, I would also like to point out the fact that racial profiling and discrimnation, in all its insidious forms, did not cease that day (I'm still watched and followed as I walk through stores at the local mall, for example), individuals with African features are still "othered" and treated as some kind of fascinating zoo specimen by those who were "fortunate" enough to grow up in privileged or segregated communities where the only contact they might have had with someone of African-American heritage was little Sara Jones, the little biracial girl who was designated black because, well, the One Drop Rule and White Supremacy say so.
Really, how many of you, my white brothers and sisters, have gone up to a natural brotha or sista and said, "Oh, I love your hair, it's so ethnic!" (while this could be considered a compliment *and to, an extent, it is, I suppose*, how would you feel if someone of another ethnicity came up to you said the same thing?), or how many of you have shied away from an individual, especially a black male, because the way he wore his hair was not the expected and tolerated low cut and conservative look, but rather he sported locks (dreadlocks) or some other hairstyle that displayed his natural hair texture in all of its glory? And to my African-American/Black brothas and sistas, how many times have you been approached, or avoided as the case may be, because you've worn your hair in such a manner? In fact, how many of you have had someone suddenly grab a tuft of your hair and, not even offering an excuse or compliment, stood fascinated by its texture (I'll tell you that it has happened to me more times then I care to remember)?
Anyway, that's actually the topic of another post, but, in summation, in my humble opinion I believe the United States of America has a LONG way to go before we can claim that we've made an real progress concerning race relations. We, as a nation, also need to stop examining small or moderate achievements with a cultural magnifying glass that makes those achievements out to mean more then they really do. Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream is far from being a reality, though some of you may try to protest these claims, and this country still has a long way to go before white and black children can see one another for what they truly are, Homo sapien sapiens (human beings), without preconceived notions and gross, divisive, hurtful stereotypes.
Okay, that's it for my first post. Feel free to comment, call me a "racist" if you wish, etc. Feed back let's me know you care! ;)