Kramer and Racism

Yes, Yes, I know. You are sick and tired of Kramer-gate. So am I to a degree, therefore, I won’t write specifically on the incident, but more so on the implications of what was said and the effect it has had on Americans in general.

In my humble opinion, I believe the national attention this incident has been given has exposed the still fresh wounds that haven’t been exposed on a level such as this in my opinion, since Katrina, and prior to that the OJ trial.

The proof is in the pudding. While I’m fairly confident that most Americans found his remarks uncalled for and reprehensible, I’m equally confident that the effects on Americans in general, were different, specifically along the racial lines. The racial divide in this country was once again identified. The funny thing is, it’s ever present, but many choose for whatever reasons to ignore the 800 pound gorilla in the rooms of America.

Most blacks, felt like an apology was or wasn’t necessary, because we tend to just expect this type of thing sometime. We don’t tend to admit it openly, but I’m certain most blacks feel like all whites and to many degrees non-blacks in general harbor some prejudice against us or racist attitude within their hearts. So when incidents like this occur, we tend to say “Ah hah, I knew it”. Granted, I can’t speak for all blacks, but from my personal experiences within the black community, this is what I have observed and witnessed.

The “shock” of this incident wasn’t really that for most blacks. It was a conformation for us, and in my opinion, really just exposed how we feel about white people. I also believe that the “shock” was more so for non-blacks, because many felt what he said was out of line. However, I’m not so convinced that it was the out of line comments, more so than the fact that what he said wasn’t PC. I liken it to speaking to strangers about matters that happen inside the home. I don’t think it was so much the idea that he expressed views that weren’t expressed from within the house, but more so the idea that he had the gaul to let down his guard and speak to strangers outside the house.

Personally, I hope that isn’t true. But from what I have observed from the blogs and msg boards, indicates to me, that whites don’t think of it as that big of a deal. I tend to see that many just chalk it up to misplaced anger, rage, etc. foolishness or bad taste. Blacks on the other had see it as a vindication of our beliefs about white America, that they are disconnected from the truth or our plight, non-concerned, ignorant, or just don’t care about what it means to be black in America.

I fairly certain that my assumptions and opinions aren’t 100% accurate, but I’m certain there is at least a grain of truth in what I have written.

So the real question that remains is where do we go from here?

I believe Kramer-gate, is a perfect opportunity to dialogue, once again about the racial divide that is a reality in many of our everyday lives. It also is a great time to discuss when freedom of speech goes wrong. We have many words in our American lexicon, and there are very few if any that contain as much venom as the infamous N-word. I would be lying, if I didn’t say I was guilty for using such words at times, which I try earnestly to omit from my vocabulary. I think its time to eradicate it from our daily speech and teach that it’s not slang, hip, or cool to use such words. I was impressed, when I heard the comedian Paul Mooney declare that he will never use that word again, now its time to press this issue harder.

If anything, one thing this incident did expose is that you can’t change the meaning and intent of some words.

Furthermore, we have to remain vigilant, not only on the usage of words, but the implications behind them that can still cause as much calamity as this incident has. Racism in America is very real. We can’t continue the way we are in America by hoping to ignore it and sweep it under the rug.

The biggest problem in America as it concerns racism is the idea and fact that America has yet to fully deal with its past sins of slavery and Jim Crow. The fact, that we encourage blacks and whites, to forget these crimes or let by gones be by gones, helps fester the issue into what it still is at present. I believe that until we deal with America’s past and present as it relates to the treatment of her former slaves, we will continue to go to bed with problems unresolved.

The mere fact that the government of the United States still won’t officially apologize for slavery and Jim Crow, shows how big of an issue this still is. How can you expect a wounded people to heal, if you continue to ignore the injury? We need more than a medicine or anesthetic that numbs the pain for a short while. We need a rehabilitation program, prescription, and if necessary a surgery, that will heal the wounds permanently. Blacks and Whites in America are still wounded because of our past transgressions as a Nation. Until we deal with this once and for all, I’m sad to say, that we can just expect many more Kramer-gates, Katrina’s, and OJ trials, among other things.

In a way, Kramer-gate has done a service to us in an unexpected way, because it has brought us to the table, and has promoted dialogue, once again.

Let us pray this dialogue, produces many fruits.


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