Over the past few days, the news has been saturated with what has been taking place in Jena, LA. Umm, finally? I first read about the story in early July, and there have been kids sitting in jail since December 2006. People seem to be catching on, which is nice for the Jena 6. I guess.
But now we have the "I'm not racist, but..." crowd coming out of the wood work. I am of the opinion that, as a country, we need to discuss racism to ever have the hope of overcoming it, but I am already so exhausted by the ignorance and insensitivy currently on display just about, oh, I'd say... everywhere?
Adrianne Curry, whose claim to fame is winning America's Next Top Model, Season 1 and marrying one of the Brady Bunch brothers, Christopher Knight, recently composed a moving Myspace blog, calling for the boycott of BET and Black History Month. Her reasoning? Black history is American history! All Americans have suffered! What about the Native Americans? Where's their month?! (It's November, for those who were wondering.) And she's not racist, because she once dated a black man in high school. Slavery and segregation are over! She just wants us to all stop looking to the past and move forward. Unite as one. Etc.
It would be one thing if it were just some ex-reality star on their internet soapbox. But a lot of people in this country really feel that way. These attitudes are emerging from every crevice of our society in the current time of renewed racial tension. Moving forward with blinders on to the very OBVIOUS way the past is shaping the present is what has gotten us into this mess in the first place. If racism was not running rampant in places like Jena, LA, the nooses never would have been hung, the white students never would have received such minimal punishment for the clearly hateful act, there never would have been a series of violent confrontations that culminated in that particular beating of the white student and the black students would have never ever ever ever ever been so let down by the justice system that is supposed to protect them. But, c'mon everyone, let's just plow forward blindly. We'll just ignore the evidence that minorities, even after all the progress we've supposedly made in race relations, still need safeguards in place to make sure they receive the most basic equal treatment. We're all Americans, one and all! Hooray!
Oh, ignorance. What a happy home you've made here.