I am embarrassed. I feel sick to my stomach every time I read people defending the many recent overtly racist attacks on president Obama. I wish I could say that it is only overt racists who act as apologists, and maybe it is a weird selection bias when reading comments section online of coverage of these incidents, but really? People think it’s OK to have a cartoon depicting Obama as a dead chimp and can’t see the difference between that and this? Do people really think that, because someone made a potato joke to them and, as someone of Irish descent, they decided to let it slide, that the Mayor of Los Alamitos can send out an email with a watermelon patch taking over the White House lawn and it’s OK?
I recently joined a group on Facebook called WORK – Whites Overcoming Racism through Knowledge. All I can do is try to point out to these apologists that not every white person agrees with them. All I can do is repeat that complaining about racism is not “playing the race card” or “whining”.
And, I can keep learning myself. Earlier this year, I didn’t understand why people were complaining that it was wrong to compare gays wanting to get legally married (in the context of the Proposition 8 and similar state provisions) to Loving v. Virginia. Although I still think there is room for nuanced conversations about history and discrimination of other groups in a certain context, but now I totally see why it is wrong, repetitive and annoying for blacks to constantly be the discrimination ruler against which all other oppression in measured.
So, my hope it, if I can grow and learn, other racism apologists can grow and learn. I will do whatever I can to make this happen, for me and for others.