Racism or Politics Part II
It’s been said in a number of ways that blacks and whites need to get together to hash out the problems of racial conflict. That a group of whites discussing racism among themselves smacks of self-absolution granted in an environment of ignorance. Likewise, any African American gathering may be expected to lean heavily toward condemning white racism as the source of injustice
I would suggest that much could be learned if civil discussions on race relations would be held by Whites of all political leanings and the same for African Americans. It’s hard to imagine such discussions, unencumbered by cross racial awkwardness and suspicions, not yielding a fresh look at race relations and a possible step toward reconciliation.
Of course the subject of race relations involves much more than unequal treatment by the justice system. For instance, how much do we really know about each other? What racial and political stereotypes shape our opinions of each other? Why are the Right and Left so clearly divided in their opinions about the role of race in the police killings, what about white privilege, the causes and cures of poverty, who is responsible for black progress, has affirmative action done it’s job and to what extent is white racism a roadblock to black progress?
Looking at these topics from a purely cross-political point of view may or may not produce significant results but neither has anything else. I for one think we could all learn a lot from watching a televised civil discussion on race among participants who were all Black Liberals and Conservatives and another with all White Liberals and Conservatives. It goes without saying, all participants must agree in advance to rigid adherence to the rules of civil discourse (see blog Making Civility work.) Since this is an unfamiliar approach in the age of twenty four hour cable news and social media, it may take several tries for it to work.
The one thing we know for sure is that multi-racial gatherings of people with the same political views have not moved us closer to reconciliation. Maybe it’s time for a new approach.