Time to Talk About Race

We have to stop denying our feelings, our anger and, our prejudices.

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It's a four letter word we need to talk about: race. Since the death of Trayvon Martin and the acquittal of George Zimmerman, emotions are running high and all of us are tip toeing around this elephant that has been in the middle of the room for centuries; and this badly needed discussion is long overdue.Yesterday , Rush Limbaugh has boasted he can now say the "n" word. As a talk host, I am appalled at his irresponsibility and immaturity. Just say no, Rush, shut up and grow up. But America's been shutting up and being juvenile about the fact that we as a nation have a race problem and have been in denial about it. In order that Trayvon's death not be in vain, let's start the conversation now.

It's a topic every parent dreads discussing with their kids, but they know it's necessary.  Attorney General Eric Holder discussed in his speech at the NAACP how his father had that conversation with him and he must with his children.

For those that say the Trayvon Martin shooting wasn't about race; many of us feel it was. And if it wasn't, it has become that, it is now and this topic can no longer be avoided.

Many Americans perceive that we don't have a problem with race. Or that because of affirmative action or moreso because a black man was elected as president; but that isn't the case.

[See a collection of editorial cartoons on the Trayvon Martin tragedy.]

Sure legislation was passed. Blacks can vote, serve in the military alongside whites and we integrated the schools, stopped marriage to a person of another color from being illegal, stopped the separation and inequality at lunch counters, drinking fountains and stopped shoving black Americans to the back of the bus...

But is that enough?

Our prisons, death row all hold a disproportionate amount of black Americans compared to any other race in this nation.  

Although our juries are no longer all white men, our defendants are still disproportionately black. And when a young black man is killed, those of us who believe there were racial undertones become "race baiters."

For hundreds of years of slavery for which no one has received their 40 acres and a mule or a public apology, for the ongoing discrimination and mistreatment of African-Americans by others with skin lighter than theirs...

We need to have this conversation. We have to stop denying our feelings, our anger – and our prejudices.

  • Read Susan Milligan: Trayvon Martin's Hoodie Is Just the Latest Piece of Clothing Used to Explain Away Violence
  • Read Jamie Chandler: Trayvon Martin, Richard Cohen and How Racial Stereotypes Damage Democracy
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