Sunday, March 01, 2009

*Not* Post-racial America

November 5, 2008 was such an amazing day. It was on that day we became "Post-racial America."

I'm so proud of our country and so proud to know that we are no longer a country burdened by race issues. We have truly had a rocky past 200 years. Slavery in the 1800s...race riots in the '20s...black homes burned in the '40s...civil rights movement in the '60s...the last lynching in the '80s...Jasper, Texas in the '90s. The American public has been accused (primarily by Black people) of racism for so long.

But now we live in the '00s...2000s...or whatever you want to call it. And we have gotten past all of that tainted history.

...or have we??



Though the incident referred to in the video happened in October 2008, I felt it was important to let the company know that this action is *still* creating waves and should not be tolerated in any way, form, or fashion. So I followed Tonya TKO's instructions and went to their website at http://www.journeys.com/ to "contact us."

As a result of my inquiry, the company emailed me back and explained that "one of the store's employees created an unauthorized and fictitious customer record, using the racial slur as the customer name and associating it with a generic phone number. While processing a customer return, another employee input the generic number in an effort to shortcut the company's normal return procedure of entering the customer's actual contact information."

Both employees have been fired.

I appreciate the company's action. However, before we get too smug (as one blog I read did) talking about how we've come so far, I think we should remind ourselves that the incident took place. It actually happened. Not 10 years ago. It happened 4 months ago!

Until these types of incidents are NO LONGER taking place, we cannot pat ourselves on the back and say we are in Post-Racial America. Until they are no longer taking place, we don't have the right to tell people they should "just get over it." ...and even if the incidents were to stop tomorrow (which, unfortunately, I don't anticipate will happen), we need to think about the impact that these incidents have had over time...and honestly examine our "just get over it" comments.

I think it's important that we know our history and that we are aware of what's going on today. Too often, incidents like these are blips on the radar screen for White America. We need to be more aware so that when we start to make a "just get over it" comment, we are more aware of why people aren't "just getting over it."
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