With recent Supreme Court decisions gutting the foundations of affirmative action and voting rights, we can now ring the bell of equality for we are now living in post-racial America. We are now living in a time in which people of all races, colors, and creeds can hold hands and sing Kumbaya. We are now living in a time in which the criminal justice system is truly blind to how a person appears. We are now living in a time in which each American understands the different cultures that make this country great. So let me be the first to say this, “Welcome to a Post-Racial America!” Oh wait, I’m sorry but that currently does not exist!
It amazes me how far we as African Americans have come, yet how few things have changed in regards to racial equality in our country. While we no longer live in segregated communities, or no longer attend segregated schools, or even being forced to be lower class citizens; there is still that glimpse of racism that exists in our nation. While there still may not be a torrential downpour of discrimination, we still need to stand under the umbrella of civil rights. The most recent decision by the Supreme Court that allows for states to enact affirmative action bans by allowing for citizens to vote on the matter, will once again open the floodgates.
From Paula Deen to George Zimmerman to the now infamous comments by Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling, our nation still has a long way to go before we can truly be one people or one nation. The Supreme Court stated that “the courts may not disempower the voters from choosing which path to follow in determining this issue, and the case was not about how the debate about racial preferences should be resolved. It is about who may resolve it.” This will become a dangerous precedent that will allow those who have the same sentiments of Donald Sterling to initiate ballot measures to further their racist views. This is not the time to get rid of legal measures, such as affirmative action or voting rights. That time will only come when the Baby Boomers and their children are no longer here. In order words, it should be my generation that starts the conversation and it will be the responsibility of future generations to actually bring us into post-racial America. The Supreme Court’s decision is completely pre-mature.
I applaud the comments of Justice Sonya Sotomayor in her 58-page dissent against her colleagues. “In my colleagues’ view, examining the racial impact of legislation only perpetuates racial discrimination,” Sotomayor said. “This refusal to accept the stark reality that race matters is regrettable. As members of the judiciary tasked with intervening to carry out the guarantee of equal protection, we ought not sit back and wish away, rather than confront, the racial inequality that exists in our society.” She further states, “It is this view that works harm, by perpetuating the facile notion that what makes race matter is acknowledging the simple truth that race does matter.”
So for those who are hanging banners and getting the parade ready to celebrate this new milestone in American history, please consider Justice Sotomayor’s words one last time. “Race matters to a young man’s view of society when he spends his teenage years watching others tense up as he passes, no matter the neighborhood where he grew up,” she said. “Race matters to a young woman’s sense of self when she states her hometown, and then is pressed, “No, where are you really from?” regardless of how many generations her family has been in the country.” #ijs