We Will Not Fear Differences In The New Mainstream
This is another post leading up to a PBS election special about race and politics in the 2012 election and beyond. It premieres Oct. 16th, please check your local listings!Â Follow Â on Twitter @PBSRace2012!
I have a hard time imagining a conversation with the person who planted this sign in their front yard. Â I guess my position is simply more evidence that America continues to struggle with open conversations on race. This even though one in three Americans self-classify as multicultural. Â So I ask, “Why don’t people talk about race.”
I don’t talk about race because most of my lifeÂ I held the belief that the powers-that-be are not really gonna change and/or risk their chance of forfeiting power. Â I inherited this belief and grew up thinking that most people who do not share a belief system that includes equity for its citizens are not interested in the air I breathe or my explanations of where I am coming from in discussions on race. Equally as volatile a topic in polite company is theÂ subject ofÂ politics. Â To venture into either sphere is to reveal too much about one’s spirit, Â one’s dreams and one’s naivete. Â I can hear Rodney King saying, Â “Can’t we all get along.”
Along the way I ceased to be the teacher on race among my “other” friends because I no longer felt the need to be their conscience. I began to identify them as “other” and not myself. Â I lost the desire to help them become better informed citizens. Â And because the actions of the power structure did not support their words,Â Â I began to listen to the drummer in my own head. Â My job, I decided, Â was to helpÂ myselfÂ become a better person.
Given this I guess you’ve already surmised that I do not identify with theÂ minority/majority’s political views of how power should be welded in order to govern.Â The songs and poetry I internalized coming of age spoke of a world changed by its embrace of a global equality, a middle class, and aspirations that cross ethnic and color lines. I expected government to reflect some of this.
So participation in this conversation on race and its impact on the electionÂ has been both uncomfortable and affirming. Â Because in spite of what I want to believe, what I see is a President hampered by his raceÂ to do his best job. Â It is hard to imagine a post-racial America if we cannot accept the idea of a New Mainstream. Yet il faut avoir l’espoir. Â I believe in hope.
Do you think hope is an inappropriate or naive sentiment? Please share in the comments or with someone you think might care. ;0) Â Thanks.