Monthly Archives: December 2008

Is it time to celebrate the end of racism?

Is it time to celebrate the end of racism? That’s what so many people are proclaiming on television and radio. I’m glad Obama was elected It definitely reflects a change in this country and the willingness of voters to vote for the person they think is the most qualified.

Many African American voters grew up sitting in the back of the bus, not being able to vote because of racist poll taxes, outrageous literacy tests and fear and intimidation.
They experienced being set on my dogs, water hoses, and beaten up for attempting to vote.So it is a new day, with new possibilities and inclusion.

But this doesn’t mean the end of racism and it’s irritating to hear radio and TV hosts and people around me say that it is. there has been an increase in hate crimes against black people, crosses have been burned and people harassed since the election.

Let’s get real and acknowledge the fact that there are still microinequities by well meaning people who need to be educated, and there are still people who are discriminated against, and a lot of people don’t really hire the “most qualified”. There are managers and employers who don’t want to leave their comfort zone of working with people who are just like them, so they don’t have a wider pool of candidates, and they have their own recruiting biases. There is more work to be done.

There are employers who have left their comfort zone and have found that the most qualified person may be from a different race, culture, gender or sexual orientation.
They have also found that they may actually have more in common with the employee who looks different than them.

I do think that this election will help people change their biases and assumptions on an individual basis, and that the overall environment is changing in terms of what is acceptable and what is not. My hope is that more people will communicate with each other on a meaningful level with people who are different instead of pretending that they are “color blind” or “gender blind.” I would like to see more well intentioned people not be afraid to acknowledge differences, ask questions, and learn from each other. It’s not talking about differences that set people apart.It’s pretending they don’t exist while at the same time using differences as an artificial barrier and blaming everyone else for their own fear.

I’m looking forward to January 20, to change, new possibilities and a new day for our country.