A Personal Racial Narrative, Part II

By: Tanner M. George, Sr.

In ensuing years, I did not contemplate nor encounter personal racial incidents.  I discovered that working as a contractor in engineering paid considerably more than working as an employee doing the same work. My work took me to twelve states and fourteen companies. In each of the cities that I worked, I also took one or more college level extension or adult courses. Although I encountered systemic racial problems (inability to advance vertically in a company, “we cannot hire you because we have not integrated our technical personnel yet,” AT&T), I never had a racial epithet directed my way on any job or in any course of study, nor did I experience one racial incident. During each of the numerous times that I was stopped by policemen (justifiable every time), I was always treated respectfully by the officers that stopped me.

From the advent of cable television news, I was enamored with certain shows. Hardball with Chris Matthews mostly commanded my attention. Few Medensans were guests on the cable news shows during the early years. As time went on, I began to entertain suspicions that Chris experienced some of my symptoms as they related to recognizing skin color.  His mind did not appear to register a person’s race or skin color when meeting or engaging that person. Whether interviewing Whites, Medensans or other ethnicities,his demeanor remained the same.  He was an equal opportunity sob or nice guy. He was also fair to all of his guests. Many other commentators exhibit those same attributes today.

President Clinton’s ongoing emphasis on the importance of racial diversity to American society seemed to take root in America’s public consciousness. As a result, negative racial attitudes appeared to be less pervasive in the country.  As much as anything, President George W. Bush’s response to Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott’s comments at the funeral of former senator Strom Thurman permitted America to exhale its racial animus and finally rid itself of most of its racist attitudes. Paraphrasing Mr. Bush’s words in street vernacular, he simply said: we don’t roll like that up in here dawg.

Today, the public appears to have moved past race as a topic for anything. Moreover, public race talk seems to be confined to the broadcast booths of certain radio and television talk show personalities and in political campaigns. The group that the media has portrayed as more likely to harbor racism; the Tea Party, has demonstrated time and again its lack of interest in race.  From its election of Michael Steele to head the Republican National Committee to giving Herman Cain a majority of votes in practically every election in which he competed, Tea Partiers voted for the essence of those men versus their skin color.

This occurred while most of the liberal media emphasized that Cain had no chance of  seriously competing for the Republican nomination. White conservatives seem to be trusting of and comfortable with Blacks in all levels of leadership, not resentful of them. It is high time for certain commentators to get on board with most of their constituents; and ditch their biased pitches to various segments of society. Based on a trend toward respect of peoples’ everywhere, they probably will entertain a shrinking market if they don’t.

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