When Cliven Bundy, a tea party hero, tells Americans the problem with African Americans is that they have not learned how to pick cotton and Donald Sterling, an NBA team owner, tells his girlfriend to not take pictures with African-American basketball legends, in 2014, there is still a race problem in America.
Back in the beginning of the 1900, W.E.B. Du Bois said, “The problem of the 20th Century is the problem of the color line.”
Du Bois, a Harvard graduate, argued that the concept of race would determine human history and world domination. He believed that the notion of race denied the opportunities and privileges as a result of the color line. Many scholars of color today believe that the system has not essentially changed, because there is a race problem, and class system, that protects the status quo.
As a result of America having the first African-American president, many main stream scholars argue that discrimination and racial exploitation is disappearing and decisions are now race-neutral. Many believe that every American can now enjoy the privileges of being a citizen without regard to his race or his color.
Even though many people of color have identified many tea party members as hoodless racists, the U.S. Supreme Court has decided to issue a ban on race as a factor in college admissions in Michigan.
There is now a movement that is sweeping the country where fairness and justice are being replaced by intolerance and hatred. Many Americans no longer believe that affirmative action is fair, and it is reverse racism. White folks feel that they are being mistreated and the election of Barak Obama proves that African Americans have the same opportunities as all Americans.
But Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor gave the dissenting opinion in the University of Michigan case by challenging Chief Justice Roberts. Sotomayor went on to say, affirmative action helped her rise from public housing to attend an Ivy League university.
Basically, Justice Sotomayor was arguing that race matters and her colleagues cannot just wash it away as if it does not exist. People of color need the protection of laws and the Supreme Court has an obligation to safeguard their rights.
The problem of color was the defining problem of the 20th century in the world and it is still a defining problem in America in the 21st century. People of color are still being exploited, discriminated against and mistreated but many citizens refuse or are afraid to initiate a local and national conversation on race.
As Americans, we can wish or try to wish it way but it keeps raising its ugly head. More tea party members are arming themselves with guns and weapons and it appears they are preparing for war.
Since a black man won election as president two times, white America feels threatened and it feels its power is slipping away. As America struggles with the problem of the color line, the question must be raised, “What part will it play in the progress and advancement of human rights and equality in America and the world?”
Americans can put their heads in the sand or confront the problem head on.
Roger Caldwell, a community activist, author, journalist, radio host and CEO of On Point Media Group, lives in Orlando. His book, The Inspiring Journey of a Stroke Survivor, details the story of his recovery from a massive stroke. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org