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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

Color me confused

What am I to make of the past week? Far too often, people use the term racism or play the race card a bit quickly or misuse it to reinforce a political belief they already have. You can argue it’s like the boy who cried wolf and that calling someone a racist loses its sting if everyone throws the term around so easily.

The two biggest stories of the last seven days are both wrapped in charges of racism, racist language and maybe worse, racist ideologies.

I am one who feels that race relations in America are at a high point. You could certainly look back over our nation’s history from slavery to segregation and argue we have come light years forward in attempting to provide a level playing field for ALL Americans to live, work and succeed. I’ve argued against the need for affirmative action and other programs that use reverse racism to right the wrongs of the past arguing he debt has been paid and it’s time to move on.

Am I the blind one? Am I living in a bubble?

Should I read into the words and understand the beliefs of Cliven Bundy and Donald Sterling and dismiss it as the last gasps of a small group of older, white American males who never got comfortable with the idea of an integrated society, and merely bit their tongue until the day they were “outed?” Or should I assume they represent a larger portion of society, one that I find repugnant, backward and ignorant, but who may be living and working amongst us?

To be fair, there are racists in every ethnicity, and we do ourselves proud to expose and point out those who use their words or actions to harm people strictly based on the color of one’s skin. But I don’t think I’m alone in wondering if we have taken a step backward if Americans are focused on the things that divide us as opposed to the things that unite us.

Maybe Mr. Bundy is merely inarticulate and a swell guy underneath it all. Maybe Mr. Sterling is just misunderstood and the victim of an extortion plot.

Or maybe there is something bigger, something that makes us uncomfortable and something we avoid talking about until it’s staring us in the face.


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