This So-Called Post-Post-Racial Life

August 5, 2009

On the Past That Never Really Is

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — pprscribe @ 2:51 pm

Meet Sam:

Sam has been an active racist his entire life.  For decades, he has called blacks demeaning names; he has written about their inferiority; he has threatened them and beaten them; he has attended lynchings.

Under great pressure from various acquaintances and friends, in his seventieth year of life, he stops using the “n” word and ends the explicit prohibition on hiring blacks at his factory.

Ten years later, however, his business still has an almost all white workforce, despite getting lots of black applications, and no managers.

Should we trust Sam that racial bias has nothing to do with the disparity?

If you are like me, despite hoping that Sam has changed, you are deeply skeptical.  A person carries his past with him, and it continues to shape his life—even when he genuinely believes he has left it far behind…. (Source)

Meet Sam. Uncle Sam, USA…


  1. My daughter says a young jerk usually grows up to be a grown A-hole.

    Uncle Sam drops many seeds. As we know, some are good and many are bad.

    Comment by careycarey — August 5, 2009 @ 5:49 pm

  2. The christian faith tells us that people can change but what we fail to realize is that they have to want to change. People see what they want and believe what they want. Anything to take them out of their comfort zone bothers them deeply. Some people want to believe that life is fair, all cops are good, and everybody has the same opportunity in life. The best way I can describe it: We are all eating apple pie, one persons pie is warm and tasty, another person has worms in the apples. Welcome to America.

    Comment by citizen ojo — August 5, 2009 @ 11:26 pm

  3. Should we trust Sam? This is the question that came up with the Gates incident. Many whites seem to expect blacks to let by-gones be by-gones and never read anything racial into what has obvious racial undertones based on history. We’re expected to give a white police officer, Sgt. Crowley, the benefit of the doubt and err on the side that “he’s a nice guy with black friends who teaches racial profiling, is liked by black cops, and as he says, ‘once gave mouth-to-mouth to a black basketball star.'” It’s true that we should forgive but should we also stupidly ignore the past? George Santayana would disagree. As would Jewish people who keep an eye for antisemitism.

    Should we trust, Sam? Sometimes we don’t have an option.

    Comment by nordette aka verite — August 6, 2009 @ 3:43 pm

  4. @Carey: Your daughter is wise beyond her years.

    @Citizen Ojo: Yes, people have to want to change. It is almost as if racism, sexism, etc are addictions. It begins to feel functional to the addicted, even as it makes the person’s life, interactions, and world outlook more and more dysfunctional. The first step to an addiction is realizing that you have a problem. And too many racists have convinced themselves that they are perfectly fine…

    @Nordette: Besides moving to another country, I do not see that we have a choice but to trust (tentatively) *and* work to make things better. I have a hard time with “forgiveness” the way most people use the term (e.g., “putting the past behind us…). I think “forgetting” should be completely out of the question.

    Comment by pprscribe — August 9, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

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