Week 7 Reflection Post

Racial Paranoia is a fascinating concept, it is one that I had never considered but makes sense, and looking around when I was at one of the comedy nights in East Lansing, I saw some of it come into action.  According to John Jackson, the main characteristics of racial paranoia are this sense of unease, and not being sure if how you are being treated would be different if you were a different race.  It is a fear that although someone may be nice in their actions, but there is a suspicion that it may not be genuine, and be a ruse to disguise racist beliefs, that are no longer socially acceptable to express openly.  It is the question, where did all the racists go?  After years of blatant, nasty racism, those thoughts do not simply get wiped from the minds of all.  Decades ago, it was not difficult to identify racist behavior, as it was open.   Racism is not an issue of the past, it is still alive and well, just in very different, and more hidden, ways.  One of my favorite quotes from Jackson about racism in American society is “We are being naïve if we think that we can sit down and intellectualize ourselves out of its sticky clutches.”  Yet, so many are that naïve, and truly believe that we have managed to intellectualize and legislate our way out of racism.  It is because the mainstream view of many white people in our society is that we have eradicated racism, that racial paranoia exists and flourishes.  No one could deny racist behavior when there was a drinking fountain for “whites” and “colored,” but now, that clear cut racism is gone and many African Americans are left with the sinking feeling that it is not entirely gone, it has just gone underground.

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