Degrees of racism are in all of us and have been forever. They're there because race is a visible element, something we can see with our own eyes and use to discriminate against others who don't have the right skin color. We're all in competition for scarce goods and resources which means there isn't enough of anything to go around, so when some get something, others don't. And this causes friction and tension on both sides.
The history of Blacks in America is not a pretty picture. They came here as slaves and that's still how they're perceived by many. Until a generation ago, they were forbidden by law to marry whites. In some southern states, they were defined in their constitutions as "less than human."
They were forbidden to use any facilities used by whites and when they rode on buses, they had to sit in the back. All this was changed thanks to the civil rights movement of the 1960s but as they say, you can make people change what they do but you can't make them change what they think.
So racism is still alive and well today in every nook and cranny of the country. Much of the hatred and dislike of the President that surfaced and then boiled over as he not only ran for the Presidency but was elected is nothing more than racism. They don't hate Obama nearly as much for his policies as they do for his skin color. The country and the economy are rebounding strongly but you'll never hear a racist say that. The U.S. economy went from shrinking at a 6.7 percent annual rate in the first quarter of 2009 to expanding at a 3.8 percent rate in the fourth quarter of that year, a turnaround unprecedented in modern history. The stock market has doubled since 2009 and corporate profits and exports have surged to records. Our economy is now growing at a 3 percent annual rate, a more rapid pace than any other developed economy. 62 million foreign tourists visited the U.S. last year, which was a record. Over 4 million jobs have been created by the U.S. private sector since February of 2010 and there were 2.1 trillion dollars is U.S. exports in 2011, which was up 34 percent from 2009. (statistics from May 7 edition of Newsweek magazine) But a certain percentage of the population doesn't want to be confused by the facts.
But racism certainly isn't limited to the Presidency and some of it is understandable because some blacks, especially young blacks, continue to live up to the stereotypes that whites have of them by the way they dress, talk, act and behave. I don't know if they know that they're damaging themselves and their future by playing this card but they continue to do it. And when they do, whites react predictably. The criminality of blacks is three to four times higher than the percentage of the population they make up and it's been that way for decades. Blacks say it's because of racist attitudes by the police and the courts, racists think it's because they're naturally prone to criminality.
One thing is clear. Even though a black person's chances are much better today than at any other time in the history of this country, they're still not good. The Civil War freed the slaves 150 years ago but many blacks believe that if they're not slaves of fact anymore, they're still slaves of the mind.
When I was in high school, a few of us from the church youth group I belonged to helped the black church put on a vacation bible school for the first time ever down in their community a few miles south of the town I lived in. This was the old segregated south where blacks and whites didn't live together or go to school with each other. A week or so after the Bible school was over, a black teenager dropped by my house to thank me. My uncle, who was the dearest, sweetest man I've ever known, met him at the front door with a shotgun and told him to go back to his own people before he was shot. That's the way it was back then.
And things aren't all that different today.