I chose an article by Eddie Glaude in which he discusses why when we attempt to talk about race in America, we always fail. Glaude bases his argument on French philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre’s concept of bad faith, which in laymen’s terms is simply a form of self deception. Confronting the ugliness of the world we live in and accepting our responsibility for creating and combating that ugliness fills us with anxiety, so instead of accepting the reality of the situation we bury our heads in the sand and pretend everything is alright. Glaude outlines several example in which we as a society have an opportunity to impact change, but instead only succeed at convincing ourselves everything is ok.
I think this article is a perfect echo of the articles we read this week. It puts into words how when we as both Caucasians and African Americans have the opportunity to speak out and possibly change how race is perceived and acted upon, we fail to do so. Glaude’s words echoed Michelle Alexander’s thoughts in her article about the ‘New Jim Crow.’ Alexander outlines fact after fact pointing to the existence of racial castes in America, yet time after time Caucasians refused to acknowledge or accept responsibility for their role in this racial problem. Looking at the concept of ‘post-racial America’ through Glaude’s argument of bad faith, we can see that this concept is nothing more than a systemic attempt at societal self-deception. Instead of acknowledging the problems that plague those of the lowest ‘caste’ we look at the few African Americans who become judges, president, or CEO’s and say that there cannot possibly be a problem if they are able to attain this status. Not only does this work to deceive us as a society, but it also continues to further the racialization and oppression of African Americans.