Somewhere in the stratosphere an absurd rumor formed and spread that we are in post-racial times in The Unites States of America. Now, I can only speak for myself as a Black American just as I can only speak for myself as a woman since I’ve not had an experience as anything else. Please also note that I cannot nor will I speak for all Black people just as I cannot nor will I speak for all women.
I am not sure if this white lie regarding our country’s equality delusion is so popular because Oprah is a billionaire, Obama got elected twice or O.J. got away with it? Not to plagiarize comedic genius Chris Rock, but I had the same thought; just not my own HBO special on which to share it. But, OJ was the only Black person in America who didn’t think OJ did it!
The only thing I know for certain is that ignorant White people, let me repeat myself,ignorant White people (especially on social media) like to use the triple O’s as the basis for the argument that Black people should “quit their whining” because 50 years ago none of them -the Magical O Trio- would be where they are today. Mind you, these are the same folks who you also find lamenting the about how Black people should “just get over slavery” since it was so long ago and because they themselves didn’t own slaves so “what’s all the fuss about?!” Um, the “fuss” if you will, is about knowing history- the facts, the finances and the brutal truths of rape and savagery, but mostly that we as Americans Black, White and everyone else who was born here are connected to it; and that history has created our collective current present- but that is another article for another time.
Back to the argument at hand- the argument that alleges that since Oprah, Obama, and OJ have attained phenomenal levels of success, recognition and wealth, but a modicum of success when compared to the majority of Black people as a whole, this is proof that things have changed for the better. Again, speaking for myself and no one else, it is my personal opinion that all of their successes (not calling OJ’s acquittal a “success” by any stretch of the imagination, but rather his career and wealth accumulation) had very little to nothing to do with their being Black and everything to do with their being incredibly strong personalities coupled with living in one of the greatest countries in the world where hard work, brains, and talent (from athletic to oratory) gets you rewarded when you apply yourself.
Was their success aided because there was movement toward equality in this country, which started in and was strongest the 60’s, because for centuries there was none? Absolutely. But their being Black (and in Obama’s case half-Black- but who are we kidding) is just as much a coincidence as their all having O names and by no means the eraser that wipes the slate clean of bias conscious and subconscious in this country.
I 100% stand by my belief than anyone of any race, color, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, zodiac sign etc… can do or be anything they set their minds to. Those traits and attributes while valid, are not responsible for holding anyone back. What is responsible though is how their humanity is valued by the collective forces in power based on those attributes; just as what opportunities are granted based on the recognition or lack there of of their humanity. That is what the real heart of the matter is- not racism, sexism, homophobia or any other kind of -ism it is the lack of recognizing and honoring someone’s worth based on the surface details of their being.
So to recap: There is too much history for the success of three lone people to negate what has happened to, what is currently happening to, what has been taken away from and what has been denied millions of Black and other peoples of color in this country. I know it’s a long shot and we may never fully wipe out bias, but what we can do is make sincere efforts to value our humanity because that trumps everything else.