A Word In Edgewise: Racism: Don’t Fool Yourself, It Hasn’t Gone Away
In a recent Time “Commentary,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar wrote, “More whites believe in ghosts than believe racism is a problem in America,” and that Donald Sterling, Cliven Bundy, Paula Deen, and Don Imus no doubt consider themselves just “plain speaking Americans.”
“Racism isn’t just alive,” Abdul-Jabbar concluded, “it’s cloning faster than Sean Hannity can backpedal from his support of Cliven Bundy.”
And so it is. Redneck Southern sheriff stereotypes have nothing on Wolfboro, New Hampshire, police commissioner Robert Copeland, who in March publicly used a racial epithet to describe President Obama. Confronted by a local newspaper, Copeland not only did not apologize for or deny saying, “that f***ing n*gger” but further asserted that the President “meets and exceeds my criteria for such.”
Even success by a young person of color is not enthusiastically embraced. Take Kwasi Enin, the Long Island high school student who applied to, and was accepted by, all eight Ivy League institutions–Brown, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, Harvard, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale.
An article celebrating Enin’s feat explained that over 253,472 applicants applied for all eight schools for an acceptance rate of 8.925 percent, or 22,624 freshmen for the Classes of 2018.
One respondent carped, “What kind of narcissist applies to all eight schools just to make a point–because that’s all this is. Wait until he finds out almost everybody…is just as smart as he is,” but a sad number of comments were blatantly racist:
Linda “In other words, he took a regular kid’s place. Just because he’s smarter than other colored people doesn’t mean he should get in…they just aren’t as smart as regular people.”
bigred8690 “I feel sorry for the poor Jewish kid from Long Island who got rejected so this guy could get in.”
dappergq “Notice how these Ivy colleges are trying to fill their race based quotas. It’s pretty sad to see things like this that is still going on.”
Respondent ruth dorsia’s reasoning and geographical knowledge were particularly telling: “It’s interesting that the article does not mention that his parents are immigrants from Ghana. ‘long Island teen’ [sic] gives readers the impression that he is African American.”
Heed Abdul-Jabbar; haters and bigots haven’t yet disappeared.
Congratulations, Kwasi Enin, now Yale ’18: Live long and prosper!