Still southern focused, but more widely spread, is the conversation surrounding Paula Deen. The woman cooked good southern food, and people loved her … until it was revealed that she used a racial slur and it has been all downhill from there. She has lost her show on the Food Network, been dropped by Wal-Mart, and Target is looking to phase out her merchandise. Some argue that it was “a long time ago,” while others “don’t care when it happened, it is the fact that it happened.” So now the popularity of Deen is left flailing in the wind of race, and her future is left somewhat hanging in the balance.
Lastly, we have the Supreme Court ruling that struck down a key portion of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. The portion of the act that was struck down, ”[required] nine states with a history of discrimination at the polls, mostly in the South, to get approval from the Justice Department or a special panel of judges before they [could] change their voting laws. The rule also applies to 12 cities and 57 counties elsewhere.” It was suggested that these areas were being forced to suffer because of the “sins” of those that lived there before them. Others stated that the law was outdated and archaic in nature, and that “America had changed.” There was also the Supreme Court ruling related to Affirmative Action. So again, race is the fulcrum of the discussion.
Given the dynamics, the demography and the political landscape in the United States, race will continue to be a topic of discussion. When you have a nation with a history such as ours, with an ever-evolving population, race will always be a point of conversation or contention. So as not to make this black and white, the US is also having a conversation around immigration. Please note that, though the current conversation around immigration is focused on individuals coming to the United States from Mexico, there is a larger conversation surrounding immigrants from other parts of the world, not just those south of our borders.
There are those who can have a constructive dialogue around race, where others have closed ears and have no ability to hear anything other than their own thoughts. Race is a sensitive topic. It is personal, multi-faceted and multi-dimensional. It cannot be sliced one way, and no one should try to put all the issues of race in one box – it will not work. I will say that there are certain parts of the discussion on race that, even if they are discussed and understood by others, does not have the same effect as when it is experienced.
I do believe that there have been some positive strides, but there is still a lot more to be said surrounding race in America. I think the danger is if we ignore race now, we could do more damage than good in the long run. As the “cards of race” are currently being reshuffled, and as the “dealer” prepares to deal the cards, we are not sure what kind of hand we will be dealt.
My better judgment leads me to believe, that in the next few years the race conversation may become a bit more “messy” before it gets any cleaner. Let’s not forget that in 2016, this aforementioned voting change will come to light and we’ll see what comes of it. There is a lot more that can be said, but this may be a good stopping point for this post. I look forward to your comments and feedback.
Grace and Peace,