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The reality of race persists in the U.S

admin | 11/23/2011, 10:45 a.m.

The reality is that race still matters in America in 2011 institutionalized racism is alive and well. Yes, there has been remarkable progress attained as the result of a very long, difficult and protracted struggle for freedom, justice, equality and empowerment. We even have our first Black president. However, we should avoid falling into the anti-reality pitfall that we are now living in a post-racial society and world. We still have a long struggle ahead of us to ensure that the next generation of Blacks in America and African people throughout the world, will have a better quality of life in the future. The world is changing but race remains a determinative factor in too many areas where social and political decisions are made on a daily basis. Racial discrimination and injustice in the U.S. glaringly persist in employment, housing, education, environment, finance and criminal justice. In other words, the systems of injustice are still in place even though there has been some progress and social change for the better. The entire pseudo theory of a post-racial society in the U.S. is itself ahistorical and at clear variance with reality. The progress that has been attained should be an indication that we need to keep on fighting for freedom and to not stop prematurely. Yet reform sometimes creates an illusion that the goals and objectives of the movement for change have been realized without verification from facts and relevant statistics. Numbers are important, but this is really about the quality of life in our communities. Today there are too many of us who live in poverty, who are in prison unjustly and who are unemployed with a sense of hopelessness. Blacks and Latinos should willingly continue to join other diverse multiracial and multicultural coalitions for social change. We have to be vigilant and remain focused on those key issues and objectives that will bring about the greatest progress for the largest number of those who continue to cry out for a better way of life in our communities. You can be assured that the forces of opposition against the re-election of President Barack Obama will be using racial stereotypes and racism in all of its disguises in an unsuccessful attempt to derail President Obama. The current actions in many states to suppress the Black and other minority vote in 2012 through requiring new voter ID cards in addition to other forms of state-issued identification is just the latest example of how far we have not come toward full and complete racial justice for all people. Yes, race still matters in a positive proactive sense if we do our homework, roll up our sleeves and continue to fight for freedom, racial justice and equality for all. By Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis, Jr. NNPA Columnist