I could’ve sworn a few of us Blacks with better senses had kidnapped the term “post-racial” and sent it on a first class flight to Bye, Felicia Island alongside current inhabitants rappers Huey and Chingy, the TV series Homeboys in Outerspace, and Iceberg jeans.
Alas, the hilariously fairytale phrase has somehow escaped the island and is back to floating around the Internet thanks to a recent study conducted by MTV that states a majority of young people believe that racism is more of a problem for previous generations than its own. Indeed, a majority of those surveyed—specifically those between the ages of 14-24—believe that “having a [Black] president demonstrates that racial minorities have the same opportunities as White people.”
That’s so funny I could spit —on their entire non-news watching lives. Look, I’m really trying not to sound like the older, stern Black man who goes on and on about institutional racism, the prison industrial complex, economic inequality, rising segregation, Black life being devalued by law enforcement and the gun-toting racists the NRA-approved legislation protects, and Iggy Azalea getting away with stealing Charli Baltimore’s flow, but umm…what I just said.
Literally, just yesterday I was reading about the difficulties Black college job graduates are facing in the job market. This includes the reality that Blacks with “Black sounding names” are less likely to get called back for an interview than their counterparts with the same qualifications who had “white sounding.” In other words, Taylor Swift is straight, but Ciara and her new baby boy, Future, would be screwed if they weren’t already well off. Not to be outdone, researches are suggesting that drug testing would improve the prospects of Black job-seekers.
Why? Well, as Jillan Berman writes at the Huffington Post, “hiring managers are more likely to assume they’ve used drugs and are less likely to discriminate when presented with actual evidence to the contrary.” I am waving my middle finger so fast and furiously right now it’ll have an eight-pack by the end of the next sentence.
Meanwhile, as the Centers for Disease Control reveal that 30 percent of inner city kids suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, some of us are having to make clear that calling it “hood disease” is probably not a good idea.
And since serious news bores young people, y’all, not a single Black person won any of the categories at this year’s Billboard Music Awards— not even in the R&B and rap categories. Hey, I know you all were taught that Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that Rosa Parks would protest on a bus so Mariah Carey could be the best selling biracial butterfly of all time, but cut the crap.
Apparently, a significant majority of both young Whites (74 percent) and people of color (65 percent) said they were opposed to preferential treatment being given to one race or another, regardless of historical inequalities. Moreover, a majority of both melanin and melanin-deficient folks felt that people of color use racism as an excuse more than they should. Oh, minorities, you just made me cry silent brown people’s tears and howl several epithets. Do not make Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts wet by buying into that conservative ideological nonsense that not talking about racism is the way to combat it. Or FOX News mantra that says, “It ain’t our fault, it’s their missing daddy and Jay-Z’s issues.”
In a statement, Stephen Friedman, president of MTV, said: “Millennials are the most diverse generation in history, and it’s inspiring to see how equality and fairness serve as their bedrock values.” Please, in theory that’s all been the bedrock of American values. And well, did you see not see 12 Years a Slave, 1990s babies? Hell, even Friedman had to note, “However, that very faith in equality can also cloud their perception of historical and institutional inequities.”
To be fair to you children, it’s not all your fault. You were raised to not discuss race. This is especially true for the Blacks ‘cause no one wanted us to look “angry.” As Gene Demby noted in his take on the survey, one participant – a Black man—recounted a story of being denied entrance into a nightclub, while Whites were allowed in with no problem. He wanted to complain, but didn’t because “he didn’t want to get angry and be seen as the angry Black man.”
Uh, be angry. A racist won’t stop being racist ‘cause you’re smiling at him.
Luke Hales, a lead researcher of the study, had this to say about future race chatter: “In some ways, the next chapter of this is much more complicated because there aren’t dogs on our televisions being sicced on people. For our audience, this seems like it could be ancient history. There’s not a true, clear sense of how recent that is.”
Maybe you haven’t seen actual dogs, but you there’s an entire media industry largely built on White people tickling the racist urges of an aging white demographic by barking at them like Cujo three seconds before being shot to death. You can also go on any news site as of late and see how little Black life is regarded by both your average citizen and many of those hired to protect them. You can ask your mama and ‘em what the radio used to be like before media consolidation made it rain EDM. Same goes for TV and movies up until very recently.
All and all, the falsehood of post-racialism is more evident than not-–but maybe we could all stand to help enlighten the babies a little bit more.