This is what "soul-searching" looks like

(h/t M. Gibson)

Andrew M. Manis is an associate professor of history at Macon State College in Georgia and wrote this for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph. (January, 2009)*
For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it?"

Now I want to ask:

"When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?

Recent reports that "Election Spurs Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King.

Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."

Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.

We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent.

Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes. Criticize them, yes.

Call for their impeachment, perhaps. But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.

But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we're back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we've proven what conservatives are always saying -- that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president.

But instead we now hear that school children from Maine to California are talking about wanting to "assassinate Obama."

Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?"

How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us?

How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?

How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?

How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?

How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin?

How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?

I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners?

How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?

How long before we start "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?

Until this past November 4, I didn't believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem.

But here's my three-point plan:

First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built, I'm going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.

Second, I'm going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.

Third, I'm going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can "in spirit and in truth" sing of our damnable color prejudice,

"We HAVE overcome."
*Written in 2009, the article still rings true almost four years later. How sad is that?


  1. So sad...

    Eric Says:
    January 19th, 2009 at 9:15 am

    "Dr. Manis;
    I found your article very interesting. While I agree with the core statement that we as a nation and world must get past racism, I took a bit of issue with the fact that you seem to blame all racism on white people.

    I think that perhaps you realize white people are not the only ones guilty of racism but are simply “looking after your own” so to speak with this article.

    I don’t know that this is the best approach to a topic like racism. I believe that before we can conquer racism, we must lay bare the facts surrounding it.

    The most important fact about racism in today’s world is that it is not just limited to White’s oppressing everyone else.

    Many years ago I went into a soul food restaurant here in Clarksville as an experienced food service worker only to be told that the position had been filled without even having the chance to fill out an application. I later ran into an African American friend who went in 2 hours after I did and got the job which had allegedly been filled.”

    Sung to the tune of Sade’s Smooth Operator
    "No need to ask
    He's a smooth derailator
    Smooth derailator, smooth derailator
    Smooth derailator…"

    1. Yep sad is a great way of describing the guy who responded to Mr.Manis. Eric don't(or w
      don't want to)get it. Sure,there was racist in every group,but what the poor chap dont get is they many racist Whites are in charge of the big things here in the states and that our country was founded on racist ideologies instead of the so called freedoms that they often like to talk about.

      Eric will also tell people that those people who want assassinate Obama,call for the secession of states from the union(ha!),or just disregard him as a "n"or monkey are just joking around. Denials like Erics are so sickening that's it lunacy.Right in front of their faces and still dont want to acknowledge the problem.No matter how much he wants to deny it,people aren't stupid and as we've seen in this election people are getting impatient with it.He can derail White racism all he wants but its real.Denying it will only respect you even less. Far as that post he wrote,I could be wrong,but I smell a rat.He said that he was discriminated against at a Soul food restaurant. Hmmm...not to say that it can't happen,but Ive seen Whites as well as non Blacks work in them. I also get suspicious about what his claims. It comes of as racist and stereotyping.

      Couldn't be more right about Eric.If Sade was singing she would be singing those!

    2. ROTFLMMAO!!!! I love Sade and I abosolutely love the change in lyrics.

    3. @M said:
      "He said that he was discriminated against at a Soul food restaurant. Hmmm...not to say that it can't happen, but Ive seen Whites as well as non Blacks work in them. I also get suspicious about what his claims. It comes of as racist and stereotyping."

      Yeah I bet Eric has wanted to work in the Soul Food Industry since he was a wee little bigot. And yes, the story smells. To borrow a quote from Seinfeld's Elaine:

      "It smells. Smells bad. Smells really bad."

    4. I love when racist whites come in and pretend to agree with an article for all of one sentence, and then proceed to completely miss the entire point.

    5. I later ran into an African American friend who went in 2 hours after I did and got the job which had allegedly been filled

      This is so convenient. He later ran into one of his "African American friends" who got the job he wanted?

      Say it's true: boo-hoo. Tell this story to the countless educated black professionals who don't even get a callback because the name at the top of their polished resumes is Hakeem Washington or Tamika Washington.

      Tell that to actors Michael Sheen and Kal Penn who had to anglicize their names just to get a callback.

      Tell that to every POC who was told sure, come on down for the job/apartment/house, only to be told it was already filled/rented/sold once their color was revealed.

      And you want to talk oppression? Tell that to POC who watch their loved ones slain all the time in this country because their lives aren't considered valuable.

      "Eric" needs to tell his story to Trayvon Martin's mom, or Darius Simmons's mom.

      I'd LOVE to sit in on that convo.

    6. Even if we assume he's telling the truth, the idea that that incident is equivalent to the systematic oppression that people of color must endure is just evil. First, if the restaurant was wary of him because of his race, given all the shit white people continue to do to people of color, I find it difficult to fault them. Second, his completely unverifiable, anecdotal story of something he interpreted as discrimination does not come close to the inequality of opportunity people of color suffer.

  2. I later ran into an African American friend who went in 2 hours after I did and got the job which had allegedly been filled.

    Can you feel the bitterness? I’m sure family and friends labeled him a Misfit for being drawn outside the paradigm, when all he wanted was to live amongst the blacks and learn their ways. His one true chance of becoming the world’s greatest Soul Fry Culinarian, dashed to bits due to the sting of reverse racism. Bet I’m not the only one tearing up right now…

  3. If it walks like a duck and it quacks like a duck..........

  4. You all have to keep in mind that even though what was said in 2009 in this article holds true today, there were things equally poignant said 10, 20, 30 and even a century ago that also holds truth today. In the end what was in the past still lingers today.


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