Writer and academic African American Shelby Steele presently of the Hoover Institute attempted to conjure up an early Christmas for Blacks and People of Color in general with his "Racism – fact or faith?" published Dec 23rd in the LA Times. While I commend his attitude that People of Color should not wallow in victimhood and must organize and work for our own empowerment and progress, he makes several statements that I find laughable:
"We must acknowledge one of the most profound achievements in recent human history: the death of white supremacy." I’m not sure what research he is looking at to make this claim, but he is clearly operating in a different reality than the rest of us. While many of the manifestations of white supremacy, most notably the public nature and widespread acceptance of racist ideology has been generally discredited and deemed evil by many persons and institutions, the fact remains that racist ideology has been carefully cooked into our culture, throughout the world. In my experience in the Philippines it is even evident there, not just intra-ethnic racism, but white USA-style racism, part of the legacy not only of American Imperialism of the 1900’s but of Spanish Colonialism for hundreds of years before that.
"It is dead today because it has no authority anywhere in the world and no legitimacy out of which to impose itself." Persons of Color continue to be systematically denied access to the generally accepted privileges of White society in America. Case in point, the quality of life and wellness on American Indian/Native reservations. The history of race and racism, and the accumulation of white supremacist ideology is diverse and deep within our institutions (most of which were established to promote the interest of Whites at the expense of Peoples of Color), including the educational system which is still run by people trained and influenced by mentors who were steeped in segregationist/racist philosophy and political belief.
"It means that today racism swims upstream in an atmosphere of ferocious intolerance." God I pray that this ferocious intolerance speaks up then, because I really haven’t seen it even within the amazing progressive movements I’ve had the opportunity to be a part of. This kind of statement is really most bewildering to me, and overall his editorial in a marque newspaper really serves to pat White folks on the back and neglect the idea that a multiracial partnership is needed to transform our society into a peaceful, constructive and meaningful place.