Thursday, September 25, 2003

"I've got a full house." "I've got a Royal Flush." "Well, I beat you both. I've got the Race Card."

By: Michael Akerman

Several weeks ago (several weeks. I'm a procrastinator too.), my AP Government class came upon the subject of racism and pulling the race card in a discussion.

I observed several interesting things on that day. First off, we have two black people in our class who were raised in foreign countries. In the discussion, both mentioned that they did not blame racism for nearly as many things as African-Americans. In fact, they often felt alienated by the frequency that the race card is pulled.

Prince (he's from Africa... Nigeria, I think) said that people often are afraid he'll be offended by certain things that are said, but he usually doesn't even realize that he "should" be offended. Same for Bola (raised in England, but from Nigeria, too, I think (I'm not sure if it's born or just descended from Nigeria.)).

I theorize that the race card phenomenon is in fact an entirely American oddity. I believe I have derived the sources as well.

Americans, as we all know, are highly individualistic. This is hardly a problem by itself, and is a powerful driving force behind many great American systems. However, Americans are also egotistical. We deserve what we want, and it's someone else's fault if we don't get that.

This is the grand root of the race card. Americans look for any excuse as to why they didn't get what they sought. So, minorities point to racism as an excuse as to why they didn't succeed.

This still raises the question of why white people don't commonly use the race card. Again, another uniquely American factor comes into play: liberal guilt. By liberal guilt, I don't mean guilt felt by Democrats (though they feel it more often), but the guilt that comes from the feeling that you are, or have been, better in some way than someone else. This is why we feel like we should clean up old Indian tribal lands, or why we feel that affirmative action is a necessary evil.

Since white people were better than any other race in economic, social, and political standing for a great many years, we feel guilty. We feel bad to use the race card, although we run into the same issues that draw the race card from anyone else.

I have noticed, however, that there is a trend toward racial equality of guilt. More white people draw the race card than before, and fewer minority people do. I suggest that this trend will eventually create an equilibrium, then begin to drop away as fewer and fewer people accept race as a valid excuse.

Some people say that racist issues will never go away. I disagree. I believe that, with time, racism will go the way of moonshining and blatant organized crime sydicates.

~Michael Akerman,
...I fold...