Well guys, the issue of race is always with us, it’s as American as apple pie… especially during campaign season.
Case in point, you may recall that MSNBC’s Chris Matthews accused Mitt Romney of “playing the race card,” after Romney quipped "No one's ever asked to see my birth certificate" when Romney campaigned at the hospital where he was born.
Political pundit, Toure, also recently talked about how republicans and Romney were using issues like welfare to code their language in a way that says, “Don’t vote for the black guy.”
Toure went on to point out that republicans have a history of using these kinds of tactics to appeal to conservative white voters, highlighting Ronald Reagan’s focus on “welfare queens” and George Bush’s infamous “Willie Horton” ads.
Well, both Matthews and Toure, I believe, are justified in pointing out this racial coding. But, that said, I am also troubled by something Matthews and Toure suggested in their commentaries on race.
They both used the term, “playing the race card” when referring to what they believe are examples of racism or overt appeals to race and this is misleading because it suggests that issues of race only pop up like a card when someone refers to them directly or indirectly.
Let me explain. Race is with us always. It is a foundational and deeply embedded social construct as old as America itself. it’s always been used as a tool for grouping and differentiating people.
Take the seemingly innocent example of a man walking down the street. The dynamics change depending on what color that man is and what neighborhood that man happens to be in.
If he’s a brother walking in a predominantly white neighborhood, then the dynamics are different for him than a white man, given that the brother could be harassed or profiled or it could just mean someone acts extra nice to him to try and make him feel welcome.
Whether these events will actually happen is not the point they show how race informs and shapes group dynamics whether we are consciously thinking and talking about it or not.
Another example is how many of us, black and white, commonly avoid “bad areas” or stay out of the ‘bad side of town’ since we are conditioned to view these neighborhoods as full of lawlessness, people of color and high crime, whether actual or perceived.
All this to say that the issue of race cannot be reduced to a simple card to be played at a given moment. Race is not a card; it is built into the whole deck, a deck that has, historically, been stacked against us.
I’ll leave you with this thought from former president Lyndon Johnson:
“Until justice is blind to color, until education is unaware of race, until opportunity is unconcerned with the color of men's skins, emancipation will be a proclamation but not a fact.”
Also On Black America Web:
This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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