A Personal Racial Narrative 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 seems to be confined to the broadcast booths of certain radio and television talk show hosts 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, Republicans and Tea Partiers voted for the essence of those men versus their skin color.

This occurred while practically all liberal media emphasized over and over that Cain had no chance of being elected to, or even seriously competing for the Republican nomination. Meanwhile, Governor and Republican Vice Presidential Nominee, Sarah Palin, emphasized her and the Tea Party’s position of racial blindness. Has anyone heard Michelle Bachman make any “coded racial remark?”  It is doubtful that anyone ever will. It is high time for certain commentators to ditch their biased pitches to various segments of society. Based on the trend toward respect of peoples’ everywhere, it is likely that they will entertain a shrinking market.

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Comments

  • pacevi52  On November 14, 2012 at 12:21 am

    Have you seen the absolute jewel: Joy Ann Reid on “MSNBC?” Everything you say about Chris was displayed in his response to a Joy Reid comment; I like you, you’re in my head, I don’t have to answer I can just turn to you, (paraphrased). For people like me who are trigger sensitive to racism or anything that hints of racism, Chris’ actions warm our spirits, calms our nerves and reassures our need to feel that America is finally becoming a place we can call “HOME”. Thanks Chris.

  • RobB  On September 29, 2012 at 3:36 pm

    Come to think of it Carolyn, although Chris displays a keen sensitivity to racism on any level, he does not seem to internalize the racial identity of his guests, and the prejudging that naturally goes with such. He comes across as a staunch defender of freedom for all, sometimes white hot angrily so. I like the heck out of Chris’ straight forward, go for the truth approach to news. Thats why I watch his show every day and sometimes twice a day..I agree with Rachel. Chris hosting a no holds barred serial on racism in his agressive style would be awesom. Im a sports fan. Those announcers learned long ago that the people they earn a living off must be respected as sports competitors and not subjects for racial commentary (ala Rush). Id love to see Chris lock horns with those nuancing bigots.He would crush them!

  • Rachel Densen  On September 23, 2012 at 5:06 pm

    Outstanding on boh the author’s and Chris’ parts. Nobody! Nobody!! NOBODY!!! is born with racial bias. A world of good could come from a Chris special on race and maybe religion. Goodness, it could be a mini series. He could invite other journalists. Maybe the candidates for office will sit for a session. Can you imagine big Bill the trombone player weighing in along with Al, Rachel, Ed, and oh God, Lawrence. The very idea is tantalizing. What I would give to see Chris engage Rush, O’Reily and Sean Hannity on the way they seem to slant racial news against minorities. The country would likely be riveted to the screen (ala Roots).
    Thanks to the author and Chris. May God bless you both.

    • MarthaJesse2  On October 2, 2012 at 6:13 am

      What a thought. It seems that a handful of pundits want to delve into race. A weej long two hours per episode would begin an honest debate about race and might set the tone for the eventual end to racism.

  • Carolyn Blake  On September 23, 2012 at 4:44 pm

    I have also niticed this about Chris. Others now seem not to bring preconceived racial notions into their conversations with Black (now Medensan) guests. I have tapes of him from years ago. Although Chris was more conservative then, I don’t see where he even realized his guest was Black (Medensan) and he was White. I am White and I am striving hard to have that attitude. Its so wonderful and commendable to have that feeling. I and our discussion group love you Chris

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