Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.  If you broadcast our audio commentaries please consider a recurring donation to Black Agenda Report.

Freedom Rider: Racism is the Issue

  • Sharebar
    Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly version


    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    No matter what the facts say, Blacks are forbidden to blame race for…anything. That’s the meaning of a post-racial society: race is banned from discourse, while racism carries on as usual. Worsening Black unemployment in New York? The New York Times takes note of the numbers, but won’t even consider that racism might be a factor. In the Age of Obama, “pointing out that racism is still very much alive is akin to pointing out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes.” It just isn’t done.


    Freedom Rider: Racism is the Issue

    by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

    Racism is still the number one modus operandi by which this country functions.”

    It is pointless and indeed dangerous to discuss the plethora of problems facing black Americans without using the word racism. The practice of ignoring this enormous elephant in the room has always been the country’s fallback position and it has all worsened ever since Barack Obama became president.

    Last week the New York Times published an article about the dismal employment prospects of black men and women in New York City. Less than half of all black adults in that city are working, a figure worse than for whites, Asians or Latinos. The rates for unemployment, underemployment, and duration of unemployment between jobs are all higher for black people than for any other group. While providing important information, the Times article undid any benefit it may have provided because it never broached the subject of race discrimination and the role it plays in keeping black people at the bottom of the economic heap.

    By now everyone knows about the studies which show that people with first or last names identified as African American are less likely to be called for interviews. Similar studies show that hypothetical white convicted felons are more likely to be hired than black people with no criminal record. The studies and the hidden camera exposes almost make the case, but skirt the real issue.

    The Times article undid any benefit it may have provided because it never broached the subject of race discrimination.”

    Racism is still the number one modus operandi by which this country functions. It is a permanent part of the thinking of most white people and results in low rates for anything good like employment, and high rates of everything bad, like incarceration. The unwillingness to address the question of the persistence of racial animus practiced against black people leads to very dangerous dynamics.

    If an issue is never discussed, it ceases to exist in the public and political consciousness. Even worse, anyone who dares bring up the topic designated as unspeakable is treated as if they don’t exist either, or as if their very sanity is in question. Pointing out that racism is still very much alive is akin to pointing out that the emperor isn’t wearing any clothes. The nakedness is there for all to see, but only the bravest will dare mention it.

    Of course most white people are happier when they don’t acknowledge the privileges they have as a result of their skin color, so they are happy to say nothing. Asians and Latinos may face racism in their lives too, but it is never to the same extent as for black people. In other words, members of these groups have little interest in pointing out the reality of the black person‘s existence in this country.

    The effect on black people is the saddest of all. This supposed meritocracy in which we are exhorted to pull ourselves up by mythical boot straps creates an awful cognitive dissonance for those black people who follow all of the right rules but yet find their situations lacking. They earn college degrees and they don’t break the law, but success eludes them time and again. Some succumb to self blame and take out the anger they should direct at the system onto themselves. Only one of the black job seekers interviewed in the New York Times stated that race was a factor in her continued inability to secure a full time job.

    The presence of a president who is black is used to quiet any mention of black demands on the system.”

    Black people are now in the worst of all possible worlds. If read online, the New York Times article shares space with the endless and annoying Barack Obama campaign ads. “Tell Michelle you’re all in” or “Dinner with Barack, we’ll cover your air fare.” The presence of a president who is black is used to quiet any mention of black demands on the system. We don’t need to make any demands because president Barack Obama is supposedly proof of a post-racial reality.

    Of course this black man is president in large part because he doesn’t identify with the political aspirations of black people. He famously said there is no black America or white America, and the degree to which he was embraced by millions of black people only adds to the denial of the severity of our situation.

    High unemployment persists for black people in New York and elsewhere not just because they are over represented in failing industries or public sector jobs. Their very presence is not wanted, and when the economy changes as it has in recent years, and puts raw capitalism in the driver’s seat, the suffering is severe.

    If the New York Times is willing to put its resources to good use, it ought to point out those simple facts. That would be news fit to print.

    Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR, and is widely reprinted elsewhere. She maintains a frequently updated blog as well as at Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e-Mail at Margaret.Kimberley(at)

    Share this

    Racism Is The Issue

    African American unemployment is due to racism at every turn.  A young relative of mine applied for a job at the Uniqlo store at 34th St. NYC and was told that they ony hire Chinese persons there. So much for Third World Unity. We African Americans play our part in that noble idea, but everyone else move by their ethnicity.

    Mayor Bloomberg a few years ago publicly stated that he needs more immigrants to run the city's economy. Not one Black elected official or preacher took him to task on this. To Bloomberg unemployed Blacks are invisible.

    In many places in NYC you will see Blacks working, upon further observation you will find that they are immigrants from the Carribean or African or dark skinned Latinos. During my job seachers I have found that at times immigrants will do whatever they can to keep an African American off the job they are on. Some may say that I am being divisive for pointing this out.  I am just recounting painful things that  go on on the ground here in NYC.  It is our struggle that made it possible for White women and immigrants to survive here. We knocked down the barriers only to be barred ourselves.

    Adam Clayton Powell was right, "don't shop where you can't work."


    "Jewish media"

    These   two   words   will  get  your   comments  instantly   deleted (and   you   banned)  from  99% of   the  pseudo   Left web  sites.  What   you  say  is   true  but  you're not  allowed  to  say  it.

    The   media   has   created  millions  of brainwashed political   automatons. Having  a   discussion  with  them   is   like  talking  to   the   TV;  their   opinions  have   been  shaped   by media  propaganda and   they   repeat  it. 

    I  no  longer   have  cable and   try   to  avoid   articles   sourced   from   the   major   propaganda   outlets.

    Mumia  Abu -Jamal is  on  point  with   this   quote:

    "The major media, like its racist projections, is to be rejectednot consumed. For your very patronage gives it life."

    CN: Thanks for These You-Tube Clips on Bro Charles Barron...

    Like Obama, Barron & Bro Law are quite articulate. BUT-UNLIKE Obama, they're talking about 'Audacity with Real Hope' & 'Change You Can Truly Believe In'! No wonder the lame-stream media & Dim party are trying to discredit him w a suspect 'endorsement' from Louisana's ex-KKKer David Duke!

    If nothing else Bro Barron's presence in congress would be a measuring rod of shame for both Obama & most of the do-nothing CBC!

    Bro Law is absolutely correct in his analysis RE: code-words IE:  color-blind [apparently tht means they can just ignore Black & Brown folks & we're supposed act like everything's OK], post-racial [in a 'color-blind' USA if you complain about racism you're playing the so-called 'Race-Card'], speak only of the middle-class [= main-stream whites] & avoid talking about the working-class & especially working poor &/or permanently neglected & impoverished folks [= Black & Brown folks- Note: Too Slick / Too Rich Romney said for the record that 'I'm Not Concerned about {Blacks} uhm- The Poor'. - But then Obama shows his lack of concern by avoiding even mentioning Blacks, the working-poor, etc.]. 

    Barron loses Primary with only 25% of Vote

    Barron   even   lost   his   own  council   district. This     loss   just   reinforces  the    sad  truth   of   the   power  of   AIPAC  and     its  subsidiary,   the    American   media.

    They   did  the  same  thing   to  Cynthia  Mckinney   a  few   years  ago.