We like to delude ourselves, especially those of us in major metropolitan, highly diverse, and liberal areas such as New York, into thinking that we are well on our way to being a “post racial” America. I remember, clearly, the white liberal media patting itself on the back during the 2009 Inauguration of Barack Obama to the office of President for its progressive America, for its America where a black man could be elected to the White House, for its America where race no longer weighed heavily upon the brow of the brown, tan, yellow, or black man and held no reluctance in the heart or mind of the white man. Leaving that thought behind to simply say that—were that true (which it isn’t), nobody would think to mention it on account of the very nature of that state of being. All we need do is place those same post-racial liberals in a late night Inwood bound A-Train stuck between 59th Street and 125th Street with a medium-brown freshly braided twenty-one year old male, adorned with a sharp moustache/goatee and a do-rag to see how post-racially minded they are as they place their hand on their wallet side pocket and consider taking off their iPhone’s white ear-buds.
The fact of the matter is that we are incredibly racially minded–unfortunately, for all the wrong reasons–and we have been made to feel ashamed for noticing and acknowledging that we are different in an age that is otherwise typified by the supposed exaltation of individualism; the racism of colorblindness. The past twenty to twenty-five years has seen incredible economic opportunity afforded to racial, ethnic, and cultural minorities but has also seen something of a concurrent blanching—or at least erasure—in the public discourse of the indicators of race in (what would seem to be) an attempt to balk racism. The fact of race existing is not the genesis of racism, xenophobia, or any other form of prejudice. The root of prejudice is ignorance or brilliance—depending on the source of the discrimination. For example, prejudice based on here say stereotypes is ignorance while perpetuating that stereotype to incite division and gather control is brilliant (see Jim Crow, The Holocaust, and Japanese Internment for clear and reasonably modern examples of this). This said, being racially minded and culturally competent are not the same thing as prejudice or racism.