Post Racial Oak Park

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By John Hubbuch

So on Thurday morning Marsha and I take a walk,  and we stop for breakfast at the McDonald's near Madison and Lombard. After a balanced diet of sauage biscuit (something bad) and oatmeal (something good) , I notice that of the thirty people in the restaurant Marsha and I are the only white people --- the rest are African-American. No big deal. This McDonald's is the nearest one to my home, and I have been there many times. I like it for breakfast.         

I thought about explanations for the discrepancy, but then I thought about whether my awareness of the discrepancy was racist, and whether other people would have made the same observation as I did. I wonder if younger people are less likely to notice such things. If so, maybe we're headed in the right direction. 

Reader Comments

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Violet Aura  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 6:28 PM

"...Marsha and I are the only white people--the rest are African-American. No big deal." Huh? *cringe* Mighty White of you? Why should it be any deal? I see this as a veiled admittance of White privilege or dominance. Not malicious in the least but absorbed through living as the dominant culture. The fact that you even feel it is significant to mention your minority status in this joint as some sort of newsworthy detail is very telling (but again, I am not implying anything overtly negative.)..

Sorry but we didn't lay the foundation for offense  

Posted: October 18th, 2011 5:42 PM

"Afican Americans" are not a homogeneous group. "I think the more rules African Americans want to create or recreate..." We're not like other groups that can trace their origin to a country, a region, a state, and a city etc. We don't have the same views because we're Black and we don't have an ethnic history to base those views on. No single Black leader defines which term we use. We're as different as the places we come from with our major similarity being we're slaves' descendants.

Jg Morales  

Posted: October 3rd, 2011 7:12 PM

Sure, Whoopi prefers one, but Whoopi isn't everyone. =-) African American just seems more PC, and even more formal, in some cases to some people. I agree that using African American can sometimes suggest discomfort, but not always. I don't think it's always comparable to the Limbaugh's supposed usage. Personally, I think the more rules African Americans want to create or recreate for what's acceptable from non-blacks, the more uncomfortable others are more likely to become. People are afraid of causing offense for a reason. That reason being... people raising hell and throwing out the race card over even minor things. ;-)

Violet Aura  

Posted: October 3rd, 2011 4:54 PM

@Jg: On this topic, Whoopi Goldberg stated that she prefers the term 'Black.' There are others who feel the same. I would never accuse John of racism but when someone does not treat both subgroups the same, then there is Otherizing going on. Typically I see it in White people treating Black people more carefully or even speaking to them in a tone they wouldn't use towards those of their own race (overly polite, in other words). It seems "nice" but is actually showing discomfort being oneself.

Jg Morales  

Posted: October 3rd, 2011 7:06 AM

@Mr. Hubbuch - Racist? Not necessarily. Sheltered? Maybe. Then again, I'm not the type to really notice people who aren't drawing attention to themselves. I don't think it has anything to do with age. I think it has more to do with how integrated your social circle and if you're just... a generally observant person. @Violet - Well, after seeing the movie Malcolm X, I can see how "black" could be a dirty word. Why was "colored" such a dirty word? Maybe it's discomfort (or caution) that causes people to be more PC and not necessarily racism? They're not one in the same. Some people like one word and not the other, but you can't please everyone...

Violet Aura  

Posted: October 2nd, 2011 7:05 PM

As a matter of fact, if one uses 'White' and 'African-American,' it says to me that the writer considers "Black" to be a dirty word. And my question is WHY? Why is 'White' acceptable yet not 'Black?' Isn't this yet another example of highlighting The Other? Another point is that you seem to think that if racism goes away we stop noticing differences and that is just plain silly. Skin color and shirt color are two tidbits of info which enter into our consciousness. It's not about race or fashion!

Violet Aura  

Posted: October 2nd, 2011 7:00 PM

What I find more telling is the use of the term "African-American" and "White" as racial descriptors in the same essay. Is there some reason that you are reluctant to use the word "BLACK?" Because I have found that Rush Limbaugh uses "African-American" and it seems to me that those who want to sneak in their racism use AA as a way to soften the blow or deflect their bigoted remarks. I am not accusing you of this but pointing out that there is nothing wrong with the word BLACK. *TBC*

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