What do they think of me?

slaves picking cotton

According to political conservatives, racial discrimination is said to no longer be institutional and there is no longer any need for policies that provide socioeconomic protections for blacks. Further, according to political conservatives, if any racial discrimination is happening, it is being committed by a few bigoted individuals, socialized to hold bigoted notions, believe that blacks are lazy, and inferior and that it is okay to commit racism against them.

With the press concerning the reported negative racial attitudes that some whites exhibit concerning blacks, I wonder what do they think of me.  I am a black woman.

The Donald Sterling’s and Robert Copeland’s of the United States have been undoubtedly shaped by a culture that supported racism sanctioned by U.S. government, that gave them the privilege and permission to openly denigrate blacks. Whites in the age range of 70 or older are 57% of the black population. Put another way, whites 70 years or older in the United States, total 25,417,300 as compared to ALL blacks in the United States who total 44,456,009, based on U.S. Census data as of July 1, 2012.

Whites age 70 and above engaged in race relations through the phenomenon of Jim Crow.  Jim Crow continued legally and unrestricted in this country until the 1954 Brown v. Board of Ed decision. Aimed at integrating schools in the south, Brown v. Board of Ed had broader implications in overturning Jim Crow laws in the U.S. Jim Crow officially became illegal with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965. Given this statistic, more than 25 million people in the United States were taught it is okay to engage in racial discrimination during the 1920s through the mid 1960’s. I am not suggesting that whites born during America’s support and sanction of racial discrimination or even those who migrated here during that time are automatic racists. If they are, however, of the same ilk as Donald Sterling and Robert Copeland, socialized during the 1920s through the mid 1960’s, when it was legally permissible in the United States to commit racial discrimination, 25+ million is certainly not a few bigoted individuals! It is certainly not legally permissible now to discriminate against blacks absent a bona fide occupational qualification as it was then, and it is not socially acceptable now as it was then to disparage blacks.

The larger implication here then is that it is very possible that racial discrimination is not committed by just a few bigoted individuals, racial discrimination is still very much institutional, and as such, blacks need to lobby for policies that protect their socioeconomic interests against racial discrimination.

So to those of you who may be reading this and are also black, does this make you wonder what they think of you?