Week 7 Reflection Post

John Jackson’s, “Racial Paranoia” talks about an era of de cardio racism where racism is banned from the public sphere and repackaged as internal within people’s inaccessible hearts.  There is a quote from a Brooklyn security guard, “They were sending dogs to maul black kids in the street forty years ago, and all of a sudden there are no racists in America at all.”.  As the book points out, the demonization of public racism is a social and moral victory.  It has come at a cost however.  In the age of political correctness, it is very effective at hiding racism, not healing it.  The book states, “Racial paranoia is a way of thinking about race and fearing racism that is immune to outward signs of racial acceptance and benevolence. “.  Basically, because people are politically correct and exuding tolerance, doesn’t mean they are tolerant – it just means they are politically correct.  This process of not being able to trust the sincerity (or insincerity) of another’s actions leads to racial paranoia.

I feel that racial paranoia is a “post racial” condition because we are not post racial by any stretch of the imagination.  Which is exactly what racial paranoia is all about.  As the reading discusses, the “in your face” racism of times past that saw many “Whites Only” signs – left no paranoia because the racism was blatant and non-apologetic.  The new “post racial” era has undertones and social cues that are on the surface tolerant and non-racial.  The idea is still there, in some cases, that this is a “white” establishment.  But it will be known behind smiling faces and friendly conversation.  When all the while, the racism that was present when the “Whites Only” sign was in the window is still lingering.

I feel that Jackson’s sense of what it would require to move beyond this current state of racial paranoia and inequality is to face race and see race.  He speaks of going out of your way to cross racial lines and make friends.  If you become friends within the context of a job, invite those friends over for dinner or out to eat.  He then points out looking for housing with an eye toward having ethnic and racial diversity.  He challenges to spy race.  Spy it in the sense that you are in a park where there are many examples of diversity.  Not just a black nanny to white children.  The point being if you surround yourself with a closed off, non-diverse way of life, you will be inherently propagating the racism both in yourself and your children.

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