Local Vocal: Racism redefined: The act of perceiving racism and calling attention to it

by Ian Millar

The article “Anti-racist group forges ahead with agenda” [Sept. 20, 2006] should cause some people to pause and think about this overall issue. I have some thoughts that I would like to offer as I find this to be a topic that rarely gets a discussion that is open and fair-minded. After reading this article the one thought that I would offer the participants is this: Racism, like charity, often begins at home and perhaps an honest look in the mirror before setting out (if that is possible) to eradicate this evil we know as racism would show that perhaps racism is alive and well because of those racists who automatically label everyone and every action that they do not agree with as “racist” in nature.

Now just exactly what is “intolerable racism”? It is obvious to this reader that here we are referring to white racism. But what about black racism, which this article and this group clearly personifies? I would regard all racism as “intolerable.” And never mind that old tripe about blacks not being able to be racist; that’s so much PC it reeks. As is usual with these articles we only get the side of issue that suits the accusers, in this case the coalition. For example, why was Willie Best fired? Was it racism, as this group does not hesitate to proclaim, or was he fired because he couldn’t make the grade, or because he broke some rule pertaining to his job? I should like to know the real facts before I would label everyone under the sun as a racist. As I know, it is very difficult for many people to believe there are non-performers, failures and bums among blacks just as there are among most ethnic groups.

I see again the often racist charge that our prison populations are overrepresented by blacks and Hispanics, and I also see this as another automatic situation for the blanket accusation of racism. Is the problem really white racism or is it closer to home in the black community where there is a tragic failure in rearing children? Perhaps instead of crying racism all the time these “leaders” in the community could direct their efforts to actually helping their own. After all, regardless of race, if you don’t do the crime for the most part you don’t do the time.

But perhaps this group and this situation is indicative of a sad and reprehensible segment of the black community that, if the truth were known, could care less about children, law and order, and indeed real rather than perceived racism. These are the people of the same ilk as Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan whose very existence is keeping racism alive and well. They make their marks in life by stirring the pot of hatred in order to keep various races at one another rather than working together. They get by with this and will continue to do so until the public and the black community refuses to buy into this “you owe us” thinking. I encourage the members of this coalition to do some soul searching to see who the real racists are before labeling others at random, just because things don’t go your way.

Perhaps YES! Weekly could publish some articles about the black leaders we don’t hear about who really do hard work to help blacks succeed. Like in all facets of life, there are lots of unknown people of all persuasions doing good. Don’t waste the print space giving credence to those who are undeserving.

Ian Millar lives in Greensboro.