By Mark Mangie. “Are there any white people left in America?’ a friend of mine asked while out for dinner a week or so ago. I was startled to say the least. I have known this individual for years. Kind, compassionate, empathetic, I have never heard him say an unkind word about anybody. I asked him what he met. He said that watching television today, one would think that African Americans make up half the population of the United States. He said there isn’t a television commercial around that doesn’t prominently feature partially or solely African Americans be it a black family, black children, or bi-racial couples.
He complained that on cable news shows black commentators, especially on CNN and MSNBC, are almost a majority if not already a majority…and are saying some awful things. He is tired of racism being found under every rock and in every closet. He is tired of people like him being called racist on television 24/7/365. He said that he had never considered himself to be a racist but given what is happening on television in both entertainment and news and especially politics, he is rapidly becoming one. He said Blacks make up about 13% of the population…and 80 percent of entertainment, news or sports anything.
I didn’t know how to respond to his discourse, but it gave me pause. I haven’t talked to him since the Jussie Smollett debacle. I wonder what he would say about that? Given some of the commentary I have heard on CNN and MSNBC, I can only imagine. There is a growing backlash by white folks in America to the continual racial narrative that is beat to death in the media daily. I call it “Racist Fatigue.”
In the midst of all of this racism, African Americans have achieved great things. Blacks are now judges, lawyers, police officers, city police chiefs and mayors. They are fast food tycoons. They are financial analysts and financial television commentators. Black TV news anchors are commonplace. Black commentators are everywhere. Blacks dominate just about every sport except for golf. They have made fortunes in the music and entertainment industries. They even achieved the highest elected office in the land…and yet the complaints about racism are being shouted out more than ever. If there is so much racism…how did all of that happen?
Is what we are seeing true racism…or something else? Mr. Smollett claimed to be a victim, and is still claiming to be a victim, of racial, homophobic bigotry even after mounting evidence against him clearly shows he attempted to frame Trump supporters for a physical attack on him. Theories behind why he did what he did go from raising the plight of the oppressed to wanting a raise. Or maybe it was simply he wanted the attention that making a claim of racial oppression brings from a press that assumes every white person walking is a racist.
Whatever it is, as my friend so unwittingly blurted out, good and decent white people are beginning to rethink the whole concept of race. Continual accusations of racial bigotry directed at the general white population is rapidly becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. My friend finished our conversation with, “I have seen and heard enough…(expletive deleted) those people.” I was feeling fairly uncomfortable by the end of the conversation.
We are not in a good place. Are there racists in the world and in the United States today? Of course, there are. It is the human condition. People are suspicious of people who are different. Nothing is ever going to change that. But great strides have been made since the bad old days of Jim Crow in the South and de-facto segregation in the north. African Americans have shown themselves to be great competitors in the American economic dream…achieving great things in the face of adversity. They are truly great Americans.
But if media race baiting continues, the progress of the last 60 years will dissipate. True racism will, and is, returning. And that is really bad thing.