Why do we teach about Race?

I remember when I was in kindergarten, my teacher had all the students sit in the reading section of the corner and she asked if we knew who Martin Luther King was. The only person I thought of was my brother Martin, but then the teacher starts bringing up how the man fought against racism in America. I was shocked to learn the accounts of how African Americans were treated by Whites, but as a child who came from Filipino immigrants, I was not educated about the black struggle until I was in elementary school.  Racism and discrimination was not something that I conceived as inherent, it was something that was taught.

This month is recognized as “Black history month” and as someone who wishes to racially assimilate this country further than what it is like now, I believe this label for February should be eliminated. Morgan Freeman says it pretty well in this video when he says that Black history is American history.

Another important thing for us to realize is that most of the key moments in Black history were not in the month of February. If anything, it should be August in remembrance of the infamous Birmingham protests of 1963 and the march to Washington where MLK said the famous “I Have a Dream” speech. Although I say that racism is taught and that we should not have “black history month,” this doesn’t mean we should remain passive towards the issue. Touré described the importance of addressing racism as he says that “If we don’t need to discuss race then it’s allowed to fester and grow unchecked like an untreated malignant tumor.” I can see where Touré is coming from when I observe racist conceptions from immigrants. Institutional racism may have been a thing of the past, but now racism is subtle among Whites while explicit among non-whites.

I illustrate this racist meme to describe how I have witnessed more explicit racism in my life from immigrants or non-whites. Racism is something taught, but it can only be cured through cultural assimilation. As racism is no longer as violent as it was back in the 60’s, the use of telecommunications and the internet has enlightened others out of racism while reinforcing stereotypes. This afternoon I came across a photo on Facebook that described Mozart and Beethoven as blacks.

  This post attempted to rewrite history by saying that Europeans have depicted classical virtuosos as white; similar to how Europeans depicted Jesus as white. According to their rendition of history, Mozart was of Moorish descent; an ethnic group of people who looked more Arab rather than African. “The speed of communication is wondrous to behold. It is also true that speed can multiply the distribution of information that we know to be untrue.” – Edward R. Murrow

The 2008 Presidential election was a significant moment in American history. I still recall students in my high school claiming that America is not ready for a black president. It was astonishing to hear this from the people of our generation, but maybe they were right. So far President Obama has not been able to convince Congress to pass any of his job bills and last years Congress has been the most ineffective Congress in American history. Even less effective than Congress in 1812, when we were at war with the British and the Capital was on fire! Does the Republican party despise our President because they think he is a far-left socialist who wants to kill freedom by handing out tax-paying dollars to Cadillac driving “Welfare Queens”? Or is it because he is a native born Kenyan who does not appreciate core “American values”? I’m going to disagree with both reasons and state that our Congress is increasing partisanship with the executive branch solely because the Commander and Chief is black.  So for anyone who thinks racism is a thing in the past because we have a black president, think again. African Americans represent less than 10 percent of the U.S population while representing almost half of this country’s prison population. Just look at the suburbs of Mendham compared to the districts of Newark; de facto segregation is still present in “liberal” states like New Jersey.

So to answer the question, is America post-racial? I would answer no, absolutely not. I know I sound cynical when I say that, but it is imperative to realize that post-racial should be an aspiration like equality or freedom. They are just social concepts that we wish to work on within our life-time. A post racial society would only be achieved once race is no longer a form of labeling human beings.

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