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Thursday, July 12, 2012



We have made many strides towards ending racism in this country during my lifetime.  We now have a black president, many black CEOs, teachers, doctors, and lawyers.  I guess racism is a thing of the past.  There are no more segregated restrooms or restaurants and no forced seating on the back of the bus…and yet…

Chris Rock, my favorite comedian since we lost George Carlin, claims there isn’t a single white person that would change places with him, and, he states emphatically, “I’M RICH!”

Is there still racism in this country?

Several years ago a doctor in our town was arrested for getting belligerent with a police officer.  It turns out he was pulled over in his new BMW three times in one month.  His only offence was DWB (driving while black) he took offence at this offence.

I had a friend at work, Cliff, who was from Panama.  He was a large gentle giant of a man with a quick wit and a big heart.  He was very black.  We both lived in Jersey and passed through the same train terminal in Newark every day.  I was talking to him one very hot summer day and mentioned that I would probably stop at the Newark station liquor store to get a cold beer for the train ride home.

Cliff said that he would like a beer as well, but the Newark cops do not allow him to carry an open can of beer through the station.

“What?  I do it all the time, the store puts the container in a plain brown bag and the cops never say anything.”

“You mean they never say anything to YOU.”


Cliff pulled his glasses down over his nose and peered at me with a stare that said, “You’re kidding right?”

I looked back into his large black stare and it finally hit me… “Oh…duh…DAMN!”

I also worked closely and became good friends with an African-American African-Belizian a black man from Belize.  Frank was my go to guy when I didn’t understand something related to our brokerage business.  He knew everything and could explain it so even I could understand it.  We worked a similar schedule and often went to lunch together.

One day in the cafeteria, Frank passed by the dish of the day, fried chicken, and that day’s desert special, fresh watermelon.

“Damn that looks good; I wish I could order it.”

“So what is the problem?  Go ahead and buy it if you want.”

“I guess; but people would make jokes.”

Imagine, an intelligent man not wanting to order the food he likes because he did not want to appear stereotyped!  That is when it became clear to me just how deep and insidious racism still is in the good old USA.

Chris Rock is right, I would like to be rich and famous, but I’m not ready to change places with him.  As only Chris Rock could say it: 

“I think I’ll just see where this white thing takes me.”


  1. As you pointed out, it's still there, only now it's a bit more subtle. But don't you think that will slowly change, too? Unfortunately attitudes can't be legislated. That takes a willing heart. I hope/think we're slowly getting there.


  2. Great post. I was born in and still live in New Mexico where we have a very diverse cultural background and that is one of the "selling" points of our state. One would think that because our state comes from Native American, Hispanic, Black and Anglo(white) heritage that we would be less prejudice but the truth is that we are more so in many ways.
    Acceptance and tolerance cannot be legislated they must be lived and passed on. But people are fearful and that is the block to change. It's a shame.

  3. When we notice all of the similarities the differences vanish.

  4. I really do believe that the bilious hatred of President Obama is racially based. You see it so clearly in the faces of so many of the people that take issue with him. Racism in America has never been dead. But that is not to say it doesn't exist in other countries -- I can't imagine any European country that would elect a black president or prime minister.

  5. Cranky

    I know you know from my recent posts how I feel about the issue of racisim and bigotry in the US. Especially with my neighbour the aptly named Mrs B...... B for bigot that is to anyone who doesn't read my blog.

    The thought that people send their children to sub standard academic schools just to protect them from the colour of public schools astounds and horrifies me. The fact that my neighbours - the white ones that is - blatently ignore the hispanic family who live opposite me and the Vietnamese couple who live on my left is something that I find abhorrent. These people are lovely chatty and kind people, and quite frankly I don't care what colour they are, what their sexuality is or anything else...They are people I would prefer to spend time with over the bigotted white folks anytime!!

    As a childcare worker, I am been taught the importance of teaching diversity to children, and it seems to me that nowhere needs teaching about how to embrace and appreciate diversity more than SoCal....never in my life have I met such a racist bigotted bunch of people!

    I do know that not everyone feels the way my nasty neighbour does, indeed the way it would seem most Sierra Madrian's feel, but living amongst these people makes me feel even prouder than normal to be English and to have the sense and open-ness to take people for who they are and not the colour of their skin, or the language they speak!

    Have a wonderful day....

    Lou :-)

  6. Living in Hawaii, I've experienced a kind of reverse racism. I've been referred to as 'one of THEM,' been physically pushed aside while in line,and told to 'get out of my country,' by some locals (a minority in this State). Except for the rudeness, which in my mind has nothing to do with race but with the way a child is brought up, I can't disagree that their land was stolen from them by us (well, at least the American side of me). Still, to hate someone you don't know and hate them so really do have 'to be carefully taught.'

  7. Racism is so mindless. I asked a friend to explain why she had said she hated Obama. "I don't know; I just hate him. Drop it."

    I see all my grandchildren as being color blind; I wonder how their generaton will turn out.

  8. Of course it's not dead. It's going to take a lot of time, generations, experiences for that to ever happen. There's a hell of a lot of bigotry, of all kinds in North America... both overt and subtle. All wrong.

  9. Racism never works. Sad it still exists.

  10. Sad but true and clearly how f*cked up things still are and can be.

    And for each one trying to overcome the bullshit of it all, there are others, throwing the 'Race' & 'Victim' cards simultaneously.

  11. I'm sure racism recedes in inverse proportion to the growth of intermarriage in a society. In my country, intermarriage between colonial settlers and the indigenous Maori began more than 150 years ago and today there are many citizens who proudly claim Maori ancestry but would never be recognised in the visual sense as anything other than European by origin. There are many others who are predominantly Maori and there is a high level of mutual respect. It isn't universal though, and it probably never will be. There will always be psychologically impoverished folk who feel a need to boost their own self esteem by pouring vitriol on others. Such people need our love and understanding - difficult though it sometimes is to provide it.

  12. I think the disrespect shown by so many to our president is motivated by racism rather than policy. Maybe we weren't ready for a black president.

  13. Unfortunately racism still exist sad but true. It is hard for me to believe that people still think this way. I live in San Francisco and virtual meting pot of all races I never experienced it here. Maybe I am just naive but I grew up with all nationalities around me and I grew up color blind. Great post!

  14. What a great blog post Cranky! I checked in for a giggle and really appreciated what I got instead! It's so very important for me to raise my children in a racism free environment. I strive to expose them to different cultures and languages, and it makes me so happy when they can't even see the difference in skin tones of their friends!

  15. Great blog post.
    Racism is not dead anywhere. Things are better than they were for sure, but that's not a high bar. Things like this remind us how pervasive it still is. Excellent (and sad) summary.
    The Chris Rock thing is interesting - he raises a good point.
    (PS George Carlin was also very very funny!)
    Do you think Obama has made a difference? I think maybe a little. But I'm not living in the US.

  16. It really hurts to see. Some people will never change their way of thinking, they will forever be immature.

  17. Yes racism is alive and well and can be found everywhere unfortunately. I would be happy to swap places with Chris Rock though ;) Great post! Visiting from Dr Bron.