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Disclaimer: It should be noted that for the purpose of this article, as with the other articles in this series, I will, for the most part, be using the vast division between America’s black and white populace for context. It is not to say that the Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern, Native American, and/or Pacific Islander populace has not suffered the same racism and prejudices as blacks. But it is my opinion that America’s majority generally see race in terms of black and white. Still, at any time, Hispanic, Asian, Middle Eastern Native American, and/or Pacific Islander, can be substituted for black.

Over the last decade, issues of race, racism and prejudice have become forefront topics in news, politics and social media. More and more people are coming out and expressing their true thoughts about what they think of situations and individuals publicly, more so now than has happened in recent years – especially since the civil rights era. Some of the discussion undoubtedly has taken place due to the happenstance that America, for the first time in history, has a black president. That has only caused more light to shine on such events as GOP and Tea Party politics, the Treyvon Martin murder case, [1] Dr. Laura Schlesinger's racist N-word rant, [2] the Abigail Fisher vs. the University of Texas at Austin US Supreme Court case, [3] the more recent Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on voting laws [4] and of course southern-style cooking guru Paula Deen’s attitude towards blacks, [5] to name a few.

What has become common is the white backlash towards people of color. For the most part, there continues to be a lack of apology, accountability, and/or acknowledgement of racism or prejudice in most racialized incidents in America today unless, of course, the N-word is used. In the case of the N-word usage, there seems to be a concerted effort to focus solely on the word itself, as to not initiate more serious discussion. The N-word in itself is amongst the worst of words, in my opinion, ever constructed in the English vernacular, and because of its carcinogenic properties, it has become so easy to ignore the attitude behind it. What ends up happening is that it becomes hard to detect racism or to decide whether an incident was caused by racism and prejudice. Basically, it’s like saying, “I’m not a racist. I didn’t call you a nigger or coon or spear-chucker or any other racially charged epithet. I just don’t like you.”

Unfortunately, racism and prejudice are intangible elements. They cannot be touched, held, lifted, carried or talked to. They can only be talked about, expressed, and felt. They become opinion and perception, to the detriment of those whose direction they are thrown. And as arguments (differences of opinion) are usually won based on the opinions and perceptions of those who are the most popular, powerful, and/or influential – and not necessarily the most knowledgeable, it is clear to see why the general American majority’s opinion and perception about racism and prejudice is that it isn’t a big deal, except of course if you’re a minority. You see how that works?

And with corporate owner/sponsorship in today’s media, Americans have no choice but to feel the way they do. American media is good at pitching ideas to select groups, and more often than not, those select groups are white. There is definitely an “us versus them” imagery in the presentation. [6] It is hardly stated, but whenever black actors do show up in a commercial, they are usually one in a majority of white actors. They are then usually portrayed in a culturally uncharacteristic, non-threatening, manner, or as comic relief, suitable for white audiences. However, in mainstream media of primetime television, television drama, newspaper articles, talk radio, sports, and news, blacks are depicted as criminal, hostile, scheming, and people who stand around waiting on handouts. [7] [8] [9]. Shockingly, GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum, in 2008 during the campaign while addressing the receiving of entitlements in Iowa stated, “I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.” [8]

For the record, Iowa has a total black population of 3.2%, while whites make up 92.8%. [10] In other words, what would be the point of such a statement? It wouldn’t personally affect many of those who the statement was directed to. But this incident makes my argument for me. In order to maintain the status quo of racial hierarchy, somebody has to be the bottom rung of the stepstool, and to that end, the most concrete scapegoat for such a need, are blacks.  

Whites make up 77.9% of the United States population [10] and 92.4% live in either all white or white dominated neighborhoods. [11] These are the same whites that have limited to no contact with blacks and other people of color. And when what they know about these people of color is what they pick up from media outlets, it is understandable why whites overwhelmingly harbor increasingly negative views of blacks in America. [12]

That’s a little hard to deal with when you’re black. When someone who is black hears, or reads what whites really think of them, it can shut down an entire day. It’s not that blacks don’t know that they’re being debased behind their backs. It’s a reality that they live with on a daily basis. But some don’t know to what extent. In the article I was raised like Paula Deen, the author, Dustin Rowles says [13]:

I don’t know what kids North of the Mason Dixon line called each other on the playground in the 80s and 90s, but in the small-town South, kids called each other “nigger” and “faggot” as easy and as casually as kids might call each other “jerks” or “dum-dum heads.” You didn’t have cooties where I grew up, you had “nigger” cooties,” and the only names we took any real offense to were variations of “nigger lover,” the lowest of all insults, reserved for kids who insisted they were safe when clearly the ball reached first base before they did… I don’t remember ever hearing a teacher ask a student not to use those words, and there’s no way they could’ve not heard them. But then, what were teachers going to do? Raise the issue with the parents, who taught the kids those words, who would dismiss it? We knew the “N-word” in the South; it was the “R-word” that we’d never heard before: Racism.
For those who feel that this attitude is generally only typical of the south, you may be a little surprised to find that racism and prejudice run rampant throughout the nation. While reading the comment section from my latest article, Milwaukee – a Third World City, I found some of the most profound observations which speak to this point [14]:
In the early 90's, when I lived on the East Side, racism was rampant.  I couldn't believe some of the shit I was hearing in the bars.  I grew up in Racine, and racism is no stranger there either, but people my age were pretty cool.
In Milwaukee it was a different story.  N-word this, lazy welfare queen that...  It was shocking.  I spoke my piece, every chance I got.  Eventually, people knew not to talk that way in my presence.

One thing that I heard pretty frequently (not sure if it's true) was that we had the highest welfare payout in the country, except for Alaska.  So, according to these racist Einsteins, that's why we had so many "lazy n-words" that came to Wisconsin for the welfare.

I would argue that no, they came for the jobs because we had such a vibrant industrial economy.  It was a place where Blacks could have a real chance at a middle class life.  Then when the industries dried up, jobs became scarce and you've got blue-collar whites looking for someone to blame...

Basically, Milwaukee was/is full of Archie Bunker types.  The racism there is very different from the racism I saw in the south... hard to explain, especially since I'm white.  But it is just as brutal.

Another:
There is a very real fear among many white Wisconsinites of minorities, in my experience. Some rotten things get said during election seasons. And this is because so many Wisconsinites have zero personal experience of interacting with PoC [People of Color]. Segregation, even the de-facto version, is a spirit killer.
And finally:
That bigotry still exists only the white folks in the suburbs refuse to admit it. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is a racist publication since the newspaper changes the headlines and placement of articles it distributes to the suburbs and other communities to portray the inner city in the worse possible light.
And what becomes of the victims of such imagery, those portrayed in such a negative light systematically throughout the nation? It is my presumption that the individuals or groups of minorities not being taken seriously when expressing the anguish felt when racism and prejudice rear their ugly heads, those who are mocked, admonished, and lambasted with indignities as a result of their honest address, tend to suffer from a certain measure of psychological trauma. Like any other level of abuse, not being able to properly deal with the issues only causes a host of psychological symptoms that result in behaviors that include: shock, denial, or disbelief, anger, irritability, mood swings, guilt, shame, self-blame, feeling sad or hopeless, confusion, difficulty concentrating, withdrawing from others, having trouble functioning at home or work, suffering from severe fear, anxiety, or depression, unable to form close, satisfying relationships, experiencing terrifying memories, nightmares, or flashbacks, avoiding more and more things that remind you of the trauma, emotionally numb and disconnected from others, using alcohol or drugs to feel better. [15] That sounds a lot like the way the urban black community in America is portrayed. Hmmm.

For blacks, racism and prejudice are not isolated incidents, where they were called the N-word a few times, but because of the infrequency of such happenings, they should be able to “get over it” fairly easily and quickly. Perceptions of discrimination based on racialization are continuous throughout their lifetimes. When considering that a large percentage of blacks, especially those living in urban communities, suffer what they interpret as the repeated indignities of racism and prejudice and the fact that they are constantly reminded that what they are feeling is, “not racist. You’re just hypersensitive,” [2] or that when they try to discuss it they are playing the race card or that there’s nothing wrong with 3 white police officers being found not guilty of a hate crime for beating a black man within inches of his life by an all white jury, [16] it is reasonably feasible to believe that the black community at large may indeed by suffering from a form of cultural post-traumatic stress. Many live in broken communities that are the result of racist and discriminatory policies, suffer from the effects of traditionally racist institutions in the form of government agencies (law enforcement, state politicians, etc.), and live in blighted areas.

This of course is a generalization, because not all blacks are poverty-ridden and/or come from broken homes with no father figure, or have spent time in prison. Not all blacks speak broken English and walk the streets with sagging pants reciting hip-hop lyrics. This is very stereotypical of a segment of black society, but for the many whites that have no interaction with blacks, this is the image they have (I should note at this time that it is also stereotypical that all whites are racist, because they are not, but this article speaks to the title). But because the majority – non-black, I should add – of Americans share an unequivocal expression of anti-black attitudes, [12] it would be easy to see why a blind eye is often turned to the black populace and their many issues.

References
1.    The Guardian (2012). Trayvon Martin death raises issue of racism in America, says Toni Morrison, The Guardian. April 13, 2012. Retrieved from: http://www.guardian.co.uk/...
2.    CNN (2010). Dr. Laura Uses N-Word; Rep. Waters on Ethics Charges – Transcripts, CNN. August 13, 2010. Retrieved from: http://transcripts.cnn.com/...
3.    Hannah-Jones, Nikole (2013). What Abigail Fisher's Case Against Affirmative Action Is Really About, Huffington Post. March 18, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/...
4.    DeVogue, A., Moran, T., & Phillip, A.D. (2013). Supreme Court Strikes Down Key Part of Voting Rights Act, ABC World News. June 25, 2013. Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/...
5.    Molloy, Tim (2013). Food Network dumps Paula Deen after N-word admission, MSN TV News June 21, 2013. Retrieved from: http://tv.msn.com/...
6.    Pickren, Marc (2009). Stereotypes & Selective Perception, Helping Psychology. Retrieved from: http://www.helpingpsychology.com/...
7.    McGuire, Brian (2010). Mass Media, Racial Stereotypes, and Social Stigmas, Society, Socyberty.com. April 12, 2010. Retrieved from: http://socyberty.com/...
8.    Khan, Huma (2012). What Did Rick Santorum Say? Welfare Comments Scrutinized, The Note, ABCNews. January 3, 2012. Retrieved from: http://abcnews.go.com/...
9.    Davied, Donny (2009). Media and Race: Covert and Overt Messages about Racial Inequality, Yahoo Voices. April 28, 2009. Retrieved from: http://voices.yahoo.com/...
10.    United States Census Bureau (2013). State & County QuickFacts – Iowa, United States Department of Commerce. Retrieved from: http://quickfacts.census.gov/...
11.    Pappas, Stephanie (2012). Blacks and Whites Favor Same-Race Neighborhoods, LiveScience.com.  May 31, 2012. Retrieved from: http://ca.news.yahoo.com/...
12.    The Associated Press (2012). AP Poll: Majority harbor prejudice against blacks, NBCNews.com. October 27, 2012. Retrieved from: http://usnews.nbcnews.com/...
13.    Rowles, Dustin (2013). I was raised like Paula Deen, Salon.com. June 29, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.salon.com/...
14.    Smith, Will (2013). Milwaukee – a Third World City, Comments, Daily Kos. June 29, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.dailykos.com/...
15.    Robinson, L., Smith, M., and Jeanne Segal, J. (2013). Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Symptoms, Treatment, and Recovery, Helpguide.org. February 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.helpguide.org/...
16.    Associated Press (2013). 3 White Ex-Police Officers Acquitted in Beating of Biracial Man, FoxNews.com. April 15, 2006. Retrieved from: http://www.foxnews.com/...

Originally posted to Will Smith on Sat Jul 06, 2013 at 11:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Black Kos community.

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