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  • Why can't we all just be "one race, the human one?" Oh my goodness, not that ignorant Boston favorite quote again!

    Disclaimer - this was originally just a run-of-the-mill FB rant I was going to post, so excuse the 20 minutes I blasted through it and quickly decided to post - but it’s late. You all get the point I hope!

    That being said...

    I believe people should challenge voraciously the folks who promote "the world should just be race-blind" and "we are all just one race" to stay true to that ideology. Obviously we all get that ideal utopia, unfortunately, however, those words usually come from the mouths of those who are comfortable with their lives and don't like the real challenge to make those words become a reality. They actually have not chosen to look for, or ironically to see, race based bias, typically because they either benefit from it, or it makes them too uncomfortable due to how they have been systematically programmed. It is effectively "lazy talk" from those who like to imagine that racism is a dead issue - or those who like to think, "Oh why does he have to talk about that again? Can't he just be happy and act like the lighter pigmented person he clearly can't see he is?"

    This kind of thinking can only come from those who reinforce race based bias, intentionally or subliminally. These are likely the same folks who believe if you pretend it isn't an issue then it will go away - sort of like how climate change deniers like to believe global warming will just become a non-issue if we pretend it doesn't exist - that's going real well right? News Flash: the systemic white supremacist foundations of our great nation have not entirely eroded their way out of the books and documents that established law and policy, school systems, norms, and fairy tales. Though the blatancy of racism and intollerance has somewhat retrenched deep into the wells of many a heartland resident's backyards, it is anything but gone. Donald Sterling has been a great reminder of this for some of us not in denial. It is great to see all out on Front Street to at least keep the dialogue alive and relevant, despite many folks' wishes that it would entirely just disappear like many of the old racists themselves (ahhem, Cliven Bundy - former champion of Fox News pundits). 

    Let's just look at Boston, one of the most racially segregated cities on the planet for an urban area with such a highly educated demographic among its constituents. Over 50% of Boston is black (hard to believe if you actually are from Massachusetts and not from Dorchester, Mattapan, Roxbury, or the South End) but if you go to a Red Sox game the eyeball test shows that percent is closer to 2%, or if you go to a Celtics game that percent is about 5%, or if you are a teacher in Boston Public Schools where white students make up only 13% (and that is after thousands of kids of color are shipped out of BPS via METCO or attending private schools) you will see over 60% white faculty - and that is even after a dramatic PR campaign officially and unofficially to try to rectify that problem. Granted there are other systematic biases that hurt society, but none more in your face obvious than 95% of people of color in cities such as Boston all living within a 2 to 3 mile radius. 

    Clearly Boston is not alone amongst these types of problems, but a city with a history like Boston, which only 40 years ago dealt with the bussing fiasco in the Boston Public Schools, is still only a couple generations removed from such obvious racial intolerance. Were scores of white folks trying to support black students back then? Sure, but THEY in that case were the "others" - they (white folks down to get on and ride the bus so to speak) were the minority. Can it really be that now we are so far passed it, that here too in beloved Boston that racism is even close to a thing of the past?

    Take another route. Go look in the financial district and find for me any of these 50+% from Boston working in positions of power, you may find a few here and there, but melanin is grossly underrepresented. So if the world is so color-blind, we need to ask ourselves, "How is that policy working out?" Great if you’re less pigmented, not so great otherwise. This is systemic and is well maintained or "conserved" as a policy. This is in our entire society's interest to eliminate. This is the point I think many miss. Well, some don't miss it, they just KNOW they are mentally, physically, spiritually, or some other "ly" ending word, lacking - and want to CONSERVE their advantage.

    Here is another way to look at it -who would want to win against the Miami Heat when Lebron doesn't play most of the fourth quarter? Let everyone have an equal shot to get in the game. Everyone should want to play fair, and be pushed by our nation's collective best. This is what makes a society truly great and enables such a society to benefit from it's greatest natural resource - diversity! However to get to this point, where everyone is allowed to get into the game, it is NOT a time to eliminate policies that would call for equal opportunity. These are not free-lunches or hand-outs, rather they are much needed policies mandating that historically racist institutions such as higher education and the public school system in general do something to rectify the atrocities they conspired to create. When I see more than 5% faculty of color at many higher education institutions maybe we can talk.  Of the 26 high-ranking universities that responded to a recent survey, black professors made up more than 5 percent of the total full-time faculty at only 5 schools! Emory University in the Dirty Dirty has the highest listed percentage of black faculty at 6.8 percent. However, many of these are not in tenure track positions either.

    The opposition to the ideas I have put forth loves to babble about how "all this race talk pits all the people in this great country against one another, and reinforces bigotry and stereotyping based on race." But if all the, We are the World singing is worth its lyrics and "we are all just equal brothers and sisters" (code: shut up and be grateful its no longer 1953 - or 1853 for that matter) then you would think it is in our best interest to attempt to remove all the legislation and age old status-quo ways of doing things that continuously reinforce the same ole tired and predicable slight on those in the various minority segments living among the greater populous. Burying heads in the ground will not make the problem go away, it will just leave you with sand in your ears.

    When it comes to slices of society (or institutions) where minority populations are accurately, or even overly, represented by numbers relative of this respective slice of the population, it is unfortunate that one need simply look no further than the prisons to see just how "race-blind" the world truly is. Also, the other arena where overrepresentation of people of color comes into play (three times the normal rate) is among cities in Massachusetts where toxic landfills are located. But back to the prisons. Of course it is in communities of color where police presence is most heavy and where people are looking for crime the hardest. Drug crimes clearly occur everywhere, especially on college campuses as I am all too aware, yet they are hardly enforced at the rate which they are in the inner cities. Is it a coincidence that in the institution of higher education we mostly see severe under-representation of people of color and over-representation of the melanin deficient? We also see policy that is clearly slanted towards nepotism, where "legacy" students are given admission advantages simply because their parents attended the schools. So much for the oh-so-loved "merrit based" policies that those against equal opportunistic admissions often cite as their ritualistic creed to reinforce privilege.

    If we want to rightly claim that "we are all one race - the human race", then our BS systematic processes, which grant certain segments of the population less of a right to the pursuit of happiness, should be deemed totally inexcusable by these same folks signing the good song. This utopia is for the select few and is a non-reality by the vast majority of our nation’s minority citizens. The bottom line is we need to engage in more dialogue regarding what we all can do as citizens to ensure the white supremacy (loaded within lovely documents such as the Magna Carta which birthed the racist and murderous idea of "manifest destiny") that founded this nation no longer acts as a barrier to the American Dream. The gatekeeper of the status-quo, for those unfortunately born into high levels of eumelanin, is the "Why can't we all just be one race -the human race?" mantra.