Commentary by James Turnage
Sunday morning on one of my favored television shows I was watching James Brown interviewing one of my favorite entertainers, Steve Harvey. Harvey has won two Emmy awards as a daytime talk show host and as a game show host. He has traversed extreme difficulty and is a successful personality because he persevered. Jim Brown interviewed him on CBS Sunday Morning. He asked Harvey how he was able to have white people accept him on his talk show. No one has ever asked Ellen DeGeneres why so many black men and women accept her as an admirable woman, and a person they could emulate.
There is but one single indicator which will prove that racism has been eradicated from our society; that will be when we refer to everyone as people and cease defining them by the color of their skin. When we speak of our friends or enemies and stop separating them by race, only then will our nation be healed from its greatest evil.
I am not criticizing Jim Brown, whom I both enjoy and admire, for including racism into his otherwise entertaining and informative of a man who struggled and succeeded in his life’s goal. And this is not an essay meant to claim reverse racism, which does not and cannot exist. This article is a simple statement defining how and why racism continues to exist and even grow in the United States.
No one should feel a requirement to accept every person of color; quite the opposite. Individuals should be judged by character and accepted or rejected for their qualities not because they are different from yourself.
There are multiple issues which are pure racism and must be addressed or eliminated to allow all or our nation’s people to be truly free.
The single most important issue is voting rights. Our founding fathers believed that the right to vote was the most important provision of the Constitution. Some states are changing the laws and are attempting to rewrite the Law of the Land by requiring specific forms of identification before receiving the right to cast a ballot. These laws are directed towards minorities and intended to deny their right to vote. Those who proposed the legislation claim that they are designed to eliminate voter fraud. Investigations have proven that elections produce less than one percent fraudulent ballots.
Court records prove that black men and women receive harsher sentences than white persons for the same crime. White judges continue to racially profile those who come before them.
Communities in our cities which are comprised primarily of ethnic minorities continue to receive inadequate city services and are more likely to receive harsher treatment by law enforcement.
There are reasons why ‘reverse racism’ cannot exist. There are privileges granted to white people which do not exist in the black population. For example, blacks are disproportionately arrested for drug possession and drug use compared to whites.
Because there are groups exclusively for blacks, individuals who belong to these organizations are labeled as ‘racist.’ The fact is that these groups are formed to address specific concerns which only relate to blacks. They can be compared to women’s groups which were formed for similar reasons; addressing the needs and inequality of women. Once again, racism will not exist when there is no need for these groups to exist; and women will have equality when organizations formed to find solutions for equitable acceptance in society permanently close their doors.
Racism will flourish as long as one person accepts racially prejudiced language and action; and this includes inside the home and away from public view.
Racism cannot be eradicated by laws or regulations. Racism can only be eliminated through education and possibly the extinction of generations who were themselves raised by a racist family. It is a distinct possibility that only time and new generations will eliminate America’s evil.
By James Turnage