Friday, June 19, 2015

A Few Proposed Guidelines for Talking About Race

Let's review, shall we?

Flying the Confederate flag today or putting it on a bumpersticker or on your license plate, is racist.

Naming your sports team "the Redskins" is racist.

Lecturing black people about what "they" need to do to overcome the toxic environment you and your ancestors created is racist.

Telling people who live in this country to "go back" anywhere - especially a place they've never been - is racist.

Deliberately ignoring the evidence around you and insisting that this country, its media, its culture, and its economy aren't racist is, in and of itself, racist.

Defending every act of physical abuse and murder by white police officers of a black person, regardless of age, gender, mobility status, health, size, or disposition, is racist.

Mentioning how quickly your European ancestors assimilated, or learned the language, or climbed from poverty (as if your Euro-American forebears faced the same barriers as Latino/as and African Americans) is racist.

Ignoring all the affirmative action programs your ancestors profited by - conquest of Native American land and genocide against indigenous people. slavery, Jim Crow, prison labor, redlining, restrictive housing covenants, job discrimination, and unequal access to government programs -- is racist.

Mocking African Americans and Latino/as as dependent on welfare while ignoring how you, your family, and your ancestors, benefitted from government programs is racist.

Mocking black dialect or Latino/a language use of Spanish as you speak in your regional dialect is racist.

Insisting this country is yours and the current boundaries are sacred when you live on stolen land is racist.

White people are tired of racial turmoil? They need to look into their own souls, examine their own words, ask for forgiveness for the past, and keep promises to transform themselves in the future.

Michael Phillips has authored the following:

White Metropolis: Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Dallas, Texas, 1841-2001.  (Austin:  University of Texas Press, 2006)

(With Patrick L. Cox) The House Will Come to Order: How the Texas Speaker Became a Power in State and National Politics. (Austin: University of Texas Press, 2010)

“Why Is Big Tex Still a White Cowboy? Race, Gender, and the ‘Other Texans’” in Walter Buenger and Arnoldo de León, eds., Beyond Texas Through Time: Breaking Away From Past Interpretations (College Station: Texas A&M Press, 2011)

“The Current is Stronger’: Images of Racial Oppression and Resistance in North Texas Black Art During the 1920s and 1930s ”  in Bruce A. Glasrud and Cary D. Wintz, eds., The Harlem Renaissance in the West: The New Negroes’ Western Experience (New York: Routledge, Taylor and Francis Group, 2011)

“Dallas, 1989-2011,” in Richardson Dilworth, ed. Cities in American Political History (Washington, D.C.: CQ Press, 2011)

(With John Anthony Moretta, Keith J. Volonto, Austin Allen, Doug Cantrell and Norwood Andrews), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips. eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume I.   (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Keith J. Volanto), Keith J. Volonto and Michael Phillips, eds., The American Challenge: A New History of the United States, Volume II. (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2012).

(With John Anthony Moretta and Carl J. Luna), Imperial Presidents: The Rise of Executive Power from Roosevelt to Obama  (Wheaton, Il.: Abigail Press, 2013).

“Texan by Color: The Racialization of the Lone Star State,” in David Cullen and Kyle Wilkison, eds., The Radical Origins of the Texas Right (College Station: University of Texas Press, 2013).

He is currently collaborating, with longtime journalist Betsy Friauf, on a history of African American culture, politics and black intellectuals in the Lone Star State called God Carved in Night: Black Intellectuals in Texas and the World They Made.