What Does "Post-Racial" Really Mean?

“Post-racial” means we’ve gotten over race.  And that’s largely true in America.  How could it be otherwise, with the election of an African-American president with identities stronger than race?

That doesn’t mean that race isn’t a factor in many of our social and economic problems.  But the racial elements of education, for instance, are not the  main cause of our poor schools.  And poor schools are not the only factor in the achievement gap for minorities.   Katrina, to use another example, was not a racist hurricane.  There’s no such thing.  The problems of Katrina were largely those of complacency.   There are aging dams and nuclear power plants currently threatening large populations of white people.

Post-racial does not mean every person in America is post-racial.  I have to wonder about the New York Post cartoonist who depicted Democrats as a dead chimp.

Post-racial does not mean every place in America is post-racial.  In my rural state of Vermont, some people are pre-racial, because they haven’t yet had much exposure to minority races.  Some people are racial.  And many are post-racial.  It was easy for Vermont to become the first state to outlaw slavery; our forefathers had no use for it.  It was easy to become a relatively tolerant state, given that we’ve always had few racial minorities.  But it’s really hard to become diverse, regardless of how many white liberals move to our tiny state and try to force it on us.  We won’t get more diverse without economic push/pull factors.  White farmers here are doing more for diversity than white liberals.  They’re hiring undocumented Mexicans.  So we’re becoming  more diverse.  But not more documented.

The message for the day on my website is:  “We, the God-frearing citizens of Rock Ridge, are still God-fearing.  We’re post-racial.  But we’re not ready to be pork-loving Keynesians yet.”  (I have a post on how Blazing Saddles resembles our current politics.)  My heritage is not the west.  But it’s rural America.  Rural America and rural values are both disappearing along the eastern seaboard, just as racism disappeared from the west.  The pendulum of the former will swing back.  Racism, however, is disappearing for good.  Both are true, regardless of how Barack does as president.

Note:  My website is now called Intellectual Redneck.  BBOW will remain my screen name, on this site and  over there.  And we have a great new cartoonist.