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Monday

Racial Issues Can't Be Discussed with the Naive or Ignorant

I was listening to a radio program where a black woman was talking to a white man about the prejudices that President Obama faces both directly and indirectly because of the political decisions he has made and the white man wanted to know why. To summarize what she said, whether President Obama makes a good political decision or a bad one, there will always be someone criticizing him because he is a black man. Well, why did she say that? Uh oh, here we go. Now before I go into the white man's reaction, mind you, race wasn't the only reason she had given previously, but the minute her mouth opened about it, what do you think the radio announcer did? He cut her off blabbering about how he didn't believe race has any factor when it comes to what some of the critics say about President Obama. Now you and I know better, and if you don't, well this blog entry is going to go over your head. A classic case of being naive and ignorant. I wonder how many blacks he has actually sat down with and had a heart-to-heart talk about racial prejudice. I also wonder if he ever went to a majority white establishment with a black person tagging along? I'm sure his reaction on the radio would have been very different.

I instantly had an attitude about the whole conversation simply because you don't call up a white man and talk race with him especially a naive one. I was glad she didn't back down, but she was obviously shook, because her voice lowered as if she didn't really want to reiterate her stance on racist critics. I would have loved for her to have been more bold since she was the one who brought race up while making him look ignorant.

One thing that I find some African Americans do, in non-black circles, is act just like non-blacks, avoid racial discussions. Now that's fine as long as there are no injustices happening right before your eyes within the group. But, sometimes people in these circles like bringing up hot topics just to start something, and if you fall for it when you know you are the only ink spot in the group, well shame on you!

Some African Americans might bring up racial subject matter as if fishing for an opinion from non-blacks related to black issues. Unless one is interested in dating a non-black person and meeting his or her family, I really don't know why it would be necessary to talk about black issues with non-blacks. But as dumb as it sounds, it happens! As I mentioned in other blog entries, some discussions should never take place with people who have not walked in your shoes period.

Back in the 90s, I remember those cultural diversity training workshops. In college, out of college, at the workplace and anywhere else someone saw a need, there was going to be some meeting set up somewhere reminding us to respect each other regardless of his or her race. Those meetings were informative and they did make you think twice about acting prejudice; however, it seemed that those who were non-black used them in such a way to either take on this approach like "I can relate..." or use the training to get many blacks to shut up about race. I remember hearing some non-blacks joke about the "race card," thanks to Johnnie Cochran in the OJ case. It was as if they were saying, "Okay I heard about your racial problems, and I feel for you, but now I don't want to hear anything else about it, thank you."

So when I listened to the radio announcer shut the black woman down that day, soon after, I shut off my radio. It doesn't matter that a non-black doesn't want to or feel like hearing about a racial issue, if something needs to be said, so be it. However, personally, I save my breath when it comes to meaningless conversations, debates or those open forums about race that occur in rooms where the majority is non-black. Before long, someone is going to say something that is going to work your nerves and then you are going to have to pray to your Jesus asking him for forgiveness. One of my aunts would say, back in the day, "Don't make me lose my religion!" I agree. The naive and ignorant are not worth it.

Nicholl McGuire

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