Neoracism: A New Concept for the Obama Age

Neoracism is a much more complex practice than old fashion pre-civil rights racism, with several distinct aspects. Racial ignorance, narcissism, and arrogance can be used by any race against any another race. When Jessie Jackson called New York City Hymietown during his 1984 presidential bid. There are more people of color in New York City than whites and Jews are a minority of a minority. His comment also alludes to old-fashioned anti-semitism. When former Mexican president Vincente Fox stated that Mexicans are coming to America to do the jobs that American blacks will not do. Mexicans are hired illegally because employers do not have to pay them the same wages that they would have pay any American regardless of race.  Apparently, President Fox has not heard that slavery was abolished.

Another aspect of neoracism is the since conversations about race never get beyond a carefully choreographed scripts.  When we talk about race relations we always stop at “things are better, but we have a long road ahead of us.” We never get to discuss the deeply entrenched institutional racism in public education, criminal justice, housing and employment.  If we do not actively, continually discuss theses issued and create policies to change these centuries old systemic factors we will not progress on that “long road.”

There is also a psychological component to neoracism. Well meaning whites do not want to be ousted from their racial comfort zone. I would ask that the next time a friend says something racist call them on it and deal with the discomfort. When you talk to black folks about this be prepared to handle the anxiety that comes with hearing opinions that reflect the concerns of black life, read black AMERICAN history and learn about the incredibly horrific racial practices that have mad this country what it is today.

For black folks it sometimes deeply painful to discuss these issues in a mixed crowd due to the constraints of the polite public discourse and fact that we often get labeled as angry or whiners. Many black folks do not have access to their own history or simply ignore these issues to get by day by day. We have legitimate concerns and have a right to be angry, sad and frustrated at the pace of the march toward racial equality and the racist and neoracist policies that retard that journey. There are also centuries of internalized racism to black folks have to heal from. We are not morally or culturally deficient, but survivors of centuries of brutal injustice and terrorism. It is only when we can talk about this freely that we can start making policies to move forward.

About this entry