Article Written by Andrew M. Manis
Dr. Andrew M. Manis is a Historian, Author, and Professor of History at Macon State College, in Macon, Georgia. Dr. Manis is an award-winning historian whose research focuses on the role of religion in American life, with particular attention placed on the Civil Rights Movement. Dr. Manis recently received the Lillian Smith Book Award from the Southern Regional Council for his book - "A Fire You Can't Put Out."
This article was written for an editorial in the Macon Telegraph.
Andrew M. Manis
"When Are WE Going to Get Over
For much of the last forty years, ever since America "fixed" its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, "When are African Americans finally going to get over it?
Now I want to ask: "When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?
Recent reports that "Election Spurs
Hundreds' of Race Threats, Crimes" should frighten and infuriate
every one of us. Having grown up in "Bombingham," Alabama in the
1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many
white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy
and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases,
someone decided to do more than "talk the talk."
Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, "How long?" How long before we white people realize we can't make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can - once and for all - get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color? How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior? How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites? How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?
I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?
How long before we start "living out the true meaning" of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that "red and yellow, black and white" all are precious in God's sight?
Until this past November 4, I didn't
believe this country would ever elect an African American to the
presidency. I still don't believe I'll live long enough to see us white
people get over our racism problem. But
here's my three-point