About Why.Race.Still.Matters

This social commentary site was inspired by the everyday racism and racial misunderstandings exhibited in the context of the news, media, and regular social interactions. The idea for this blog was born during a workshop geared towards youth from Cape Town, South Africa and the New Jersey/Philadelphia region in which they collaboratively developed community problem solving strategies. The most striking thing about this workshop was the blatant misunderstanding of the function of race and ethnicity in their home countries by both groups of youth. Both the post-Apartheid generation and the post-Civil Rights generation appeared to have very little concept of the history and legacy of race. The false sense of equality held by these youth was both promising (only because of the attendant hope and optimism towards society) and troubling at the same time.

Add in SCOTUS’ interesting decision on Affirmative Action in the Fisher case. Though Affirmative action is somewhat in a limbo stage, the thought that we may be moving towards banning the consideration of race in college admissions is a step in the wrong direction…a direction that takes us back to pre-Civil Rights Movement progress.

Add in SCOTUS’ embarrassing (and incorrect) decision on the Voting Rights Act. The misguided assertion that the “country has changed” just goes to show that this same false – perhaps even delusional – sense of equality permeates all measures of society.

Add in the racially-charged, possibly (likely) racially-motivated murder trial of George Zimmerman, who is accused of murdering unarmed Florida teen Trayvon Martin. The inability for the defense (and FOX News) to understand that Zimmerman being “Hispanic” doesn’t make it less racially motivated; the viral mocking of Rachel Jeantel (e.g., Olympian LoLo Jones), highlighting that there is no room for Black youth to tell their stories in their own voices; and defense attorney Don West’s ice cream celebration about their triumph over “stupidity.”

Not often is there one week (the week of June 23rd, 2013, in case anyone was wondering) in which it is so obvious Why.Race.Still.Matters. And that is where this enterprise comes in: to call out the everyday instances where race is salient, to challenge the ‘equality’ that we’ve become complacent with, to spark some critical conversations and reflections about race, and to remind people that although we’ve made some progress over the years, Dr. King’s dream has not been realized and Race.Still.Matters.

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