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Sunday, May 9, 2021

Help me understand

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Help me understand

Like a lot of people in the world today, I have a Facebook account and a Twitter account. I post to Facebook practically every day and to Twitter less frequently. I also read and sometimes comment on posts from “friends” on these platforms. I have actual “real” friends and co-workers who also have Facebook accounts and some who post some of the most outrageous and incredible things I’ve ever read!

To be fair, in some situations they are just “sharing” a post from another source and didn’t necessarily “coin the phrase”; but there are occasions when the posts are their original compositions.

One of my “Facebook friends” actually shared a post a while ago that said, “There was no racism in America until Obama came along.” 

I need someone to help me understand that statement.

Former President Barack Obama was born in 1961, slavery in the United States, this country’s original sin and most brutal form of racism, dates back to the 1600s, over 300 years before President Obama’s birth. 

Reconstruction, the turbulent era following the Civil War, was the effort to reintegrate the Southern states from the Confederacy and nearly 4 million newly freed slaves into the United States. This period is remembered an entire race of people who were simply trying to create a better life with their newly won freedom not to mention to exercise their right as citizens to vote. The Reconstruction era lasted from 1863-1877, over 84 to 98 years before the nation’s first Black president was born.

The Jim Crow era, which spanned the 1870s through the 1960s, were laws created by white Southerners to enforce racial segregation across the South. These laws were in effect for over 90 years prior to the birth of Barack Obama.

When I read my friend’s shared post, which she apparently agreed with, I could only ask myself, “Did my Facebook friend grow up in the same United States that I did? Did she ever study U.S. History (a requirement to graduate high school in Indiana)? How could any “thinking person” of a certain age (of any adult age, really) make or support a statement like that?

“There was no racism in America until Obama came along.” 

Please help me understand that statement.

There was yet another post shared by another Facebook friend that said, in part, “why are there Black only colleges?”

I could only shake my head in disbelief. I then took a breath and responded, in part, that “there are not any Black only colleges, what you are referring to are ‘Historically Black Colleges and Universities’ and they were created because once upon a time Blacks couldn’t attend mainstream colleges and universities. Over time, they became fine institutions in their own right.” I also mentioned that those are the same reasons why there are Black barbershops, Black beauty shops, etc.

I finished my response to this post by saying that before you start a rant about “Black this” and “Black that” you might want to go to the library and study American history, in particular, and the history of American race relations, in general — or better yet, maybe use Google and do a little research before going on an uninformed rant.

“Why are there Black only colleges?”

Someone help me understand uninformed statements like this.

The comedian D.L. Hughley once said, “There’s an app out there that’ll show you how racist your friends are … it’s called Facebook.”

Michael Florence is a lifelong resident of Indianapolis, member of the Indianapolis Chapter of the National Black MBA Association, playwright, photographer, father and grandfather.

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