In response to Clarence Thomas comment: America has gotten too sensitive.
“Is race still an issue?” This was the question I had to ask myself as I watched CNN this morning. The commentator and the guest speakers had me thinking that I was watching Saturday Night Live. The story was about how Clarence Thomas believes that we talk about race too much in America, which caused a firestorm of debate this week. I would love to weigh in on this issue and I would love to hear your comments as well. I will first say this is a very sensitive issue for many Americans and (no pun intended) this is not a “Black or White” issue–there is a grey area.
Click here for Clarence Thomas comment: http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/12/politics/clarence-thomas-racism/
First, we must understand why race issues exist. Then, and only then, will we be able to get past this issue. Until then, I am afraid it will remain an issue in America. I will be frank and say that many African-Americans have been emotionally scarred by slavery. Unfortunately, slavery was simply a matter of supply and demand as it relates to labor.
America was formed in order to have a more perfect government. It is also a corporation with the President as the Chief Executive Officer. A quick lesson in Macro Economics can help you to understand more about the development of an “Economy”. Adam Smith was one of the first Economist and he may have influenced the “Birth of our Nation”.
I am referring to a book written in 1776 titled An Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations by Scottish economist and moral philosopher Adam Smith. It is my opinion that there is a connection between Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations written 1776, and Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence also written in 1776.
Thomas Jefferson knew that in order to start a “Wealthy Nation” he would need a labor force.
“A nations wealth is not its land or its money, but its labor force.” Adam Smith
I believe Thomas Jefferson and “the founding fathers” saw the formation of America as the formation of a corporation. Thomas Jefferson may have decided the industrious “Transatlantic Slave Trade” could be just what a developing country might need to fuel it’s economy.
I believe no matter how intelligent they are people can be both imperfect and irrational. The formation of America and slavery wasn’t simply because of biases and prejudices toward others it was also influenced by economic variables.
Before slavery was abolished, African-Americans where trusted, loyal servants whom whites allowed to nurse their children, run their businesses, along with tilling the land. Once Slavery was abolished many whites in power set out on a marketing campaign to defame and hurt the reputations of the now free slaves.
Part of this campaign was an attack on moral character. Blacks where depicted as thieves, savages who could not learn, who where lazy, and sexually promiscuous. This propaganda spread like wildfire and it was passed on from generation to generation. Whites are not the only ones guilty of passing on propaganda as it relates to African-Americans. Unfortunately, this information was passed on to other groups as well. Moreover, some African-Americans believed the propaganda and passed some of this negative propaganda to our generations as well.
If we fast forward and look at Clarence Thomas’ statement about race. I am saddened that he would be so callous as to make a statement like this at all. Moreover, I am surprised at his lack of timing during February–which is marked on my calendar as Black History Month. Here is a sign of a leader who does not practice “good timing”.
Secondly although he has experienced a great deal of racism himself from a very early age–he attended all white schools in the 1960’s–he speaks from a place of privilege. Clarence Thomas is and has always been in very high paying positions, which means he is so far removed from the real world struggles of African-Americans that his comment is a slap in the face.
For those of you who may argue that he started from humble beginnings I would offer you my experience. I too came from very humble beginnings but as my income rises, my tastes change. Lets face it, he is not living in low-income housing without health insurance, hoping his unemployment insurance doesn’t run out, issues that statistics show African-Americans to disproportionately outnumber all other groups.
Why are we not teaching this in our schools?
To make progress when it comes to race issues in America we must fix our education system because issues of race stem from ignorance. My use of the term ignorance is not meant to be derogatory; I simply mean the lack of knowledge. Having a lack of knowledge about anything can cause aversion toward it.
History as it pertains to Africa is glossed over in the classroom. We can change education by changing the history books to include a diversity of early pioneers and historians, including African-Americans, Asian Americans, Hispanic Americans, etc. As we educate our citizens of all races about the great contribution of the diverse innovators of the past; then and only then will they see how all races fit into the countries future.
If we do this we will gain three things
- We will all gain an appreciation for diverse cultures
- We will each be inspired to achieve our true potential
- We can all respect each other’s experiences.
So, Clarence Thomas, yes. Race is and shall always be an issue until we rethink our curriculum and personal agendas.