Will we as Americans ever “get over” our racism?
On the night that President Barak Obama was elected, I called Mamie, my
mother’s best friend – still alive at the age of 102. When this grand-daughter of freed slaves answered the phone, without saying hello I asked, “Mamie, Can you believe what just happened?”
I will never forget Mamie’s words as long as I live,”ls there anything too hard for the Lord?”
Now nearly eight years later we ask that same question as we seem to have made less progress than we had hoped concerning Racism-America’s ailing and illegitimate child with Slavery.
A recent study reported by Anderson Cooper on CNN shows that a significant
percentage of African-American children and other children of color see their
Black/Brown skin as inferior to White skin. You can click this link to see the news report (after the obligatory commercial.)
Even more recent studies by racism experts such as Joe Feagin of Texas A&M
University, as reported in the New York Times raise troubling questions. This article is a must read.
After spending three years in London where I encountered almost no racism directed toward me, l, at first thought that perhaps the UK had no problems with racism. But after a while, I realized that while I was not the victim, there were others who suffered-Eastern Europeans for example. Recent Brexit talks show that this racial tension remains in the UK today as well.
Is the grip of racism on humanity so strong because of its prehistoric past? Could it be a primitive, lingering holdover from an age when emerging Homo Erectus regularly fought off the Homo Habilis? What primitive biological memory or moral injury keeps this primitive and counterproductive trait alive within us?
We have sent a spacecraft to Jupiter, But when I returned home to the US from London the ages old racial assaults resumed, our primitive past remains: Racism. We are like children who when asked by mother,”Who did this,”no one seems to know.
There are many great programs such as”Black Lives Matter. ” Varying approaches are necessary. It is important to note that while the Black Lives Matter push approach, for example, focuses on confronting external forces and patterns of racism. The RA 12-Step program focusses on our need for internal change. Push approaches that focus on external forces may create unintended resentment.
While this resentment may emerge from a primitive place within us, we must take it seriously if we want to create new outcomes. This following study from NPR illustrates this point in surprising ways. Do these jeans make me look unethical?
The 12-Step program is designed to pulls us forward as we first acknowledge that we have a problem; secondly, we accept that the problem is beyond our ability to manage; and third, we turn this problem over to the Higher Power. If we do this, we will reduce the ways we continually infect succeeding generations.
America needs a 12-step Program to end racism. Let’s end racism in ourselves first and then let’s see what happens!