As a woman of color living in a hyper-segregated city dominated by a white male culture, I get blasted by subtle racism all the time. So often in fact, that I quit corporate Milwaukee making good money as a well respected computer programmer to work in politics first and now in non-profit progressive activism for a substantial pay cut. It's worth it to be able to work on my passions without the subtle racism looming over me daily.
I remember being told by a white male boss that he wasn't racist because "I hired you didn't I?".
I'm mixed race white and black. Although I went to Harambee and was raised back and forth between Milwaukee's activist African American leaders and liberal white activists throughout my childhood and teen years, I don't have an accent. It serves me well and that also infuriates me.
I was told once that I was "okay" because I wasn't "really black" by a white friend. Another told me that I "at least act right". Parents in Shorewood encouraged their children to hang out with me because I was "polite".
Teachers adored me because my writing was "proper" and I was "articulate". I have never been on a job interview and lost the job because I am "actually smart".
I don't take these "advantages" for granted, in fact many times in my life, I've been angry that my friend next to me in class, at work, or in line was treated differently because they spoke or looked differently than I did...
It's why I do what I do... I've often remarked that at least in the South the racists don't hesitate to tell you how they feel. There's something honest about open racism. Knowing who you're dealing with like the DA in Jena seems almost easier and less insidious than the subtle racists we face daily in Milwaukee.
In the North, political correctness has driven racism underground. No one WANTS to be considered racist around here, so people like Charlie Sykes play MLK speech segments on their shows and then turn around and say "those people don't raise their kids right".
The Bradley Foundation pretends they are "fixing the school system by introducing competition" and create a program like school choice that steals our tax dollars for the sake of corporate profits, using a few black children as poster kids for the dismantling of the public school system for the rest of the black community and put their kids in suburban and nearly all white private schools.
Our supposedly "liberal" Democratic mayor wants to "control crime" with anti-loitering policies that give our openly racist police department free reign to round up children of color at will. Now he wants to put 30 police officers IN OUR HIGH SCHOOLS to "control crime". As if Wisconsin doesn't have the highest juvenile incarceration rate in the country already. Let's not fix the problem with more teachers and family supporting programs that actually work, let's just lock up MORE kids. It couldn't be that MPS is only graduating 28 % of African American males and that same group has a 60% unemployment rate. It has to be that we need to lock more of them up. What ever happened to finding the root causes and solving those?
Mayfair Mall doesn't want black kids walking the halls, just the white suburban ones and so they set "youth hours" enforced at their own discretion.
It truly boggles my mind. Something is truly wrong with this city and subtle racism is the most insidious tool used to keep it wrong.
O'Reilly was wrong and what's worse is he doesn't even understand why.
It's time we call people on their subtle racism.
We are not "good blacks" and "bad blacks". We are people with different backgrounds and life experiences raised in a variety of cultures under the fabric we call America. The thread you were raised under should never determine the way you are perceived in life.