The term color struck is used among African-Americans. It means “a strong obsession/fixation with color and race.” In offices and homes all over America the following conversation takes place, we are all color struck to some degree. This goes for both whites as well as blacks. We are all guilty of this; you know what I’m talking about. The race issue, two coworkers are discussing one of them meeting someone; liberal Republicans to this too! If one of them is black and the other is white, either one of them will describe the person that they met, or spoke to, or had fun with or went to happy hour with, as either black or white. We just can’t help describing people by race (color struck). Liberal Republicans as well as Conservatives do this. Let’s face it, we’re all color struck to one degree or another!
During the OJ Simpson trial, you remember that one don’t you? Towards the latter part of the trial Robert Shapiro and Johnnie Cochran had a falling out over the issue of race. Mr. Schapiro lamented that Mr. Cochran stated that race is an issue every day and every second of the day in America. Mr. Schapiro disagreed stating that Mr. Cochran played the race card from the bottom of the deck. I must concur with Mr. Cochran’s assessment, America is color struck. Unlike Mr. Cochran, Mr. Schapiro is not black. As a black man, if I go into a predominately white area, if I walk into a store or walk into a restaurant or any other public venue, immediately all eyes will focus on me and there could be people all around me and I know that at that instant, I’m the black guy. As the old adage goes you can’t judge a man unless you’ve walked a mile in his shoes. There is not enough time to get into the depths of how we are color struck.
Ever since the arrival of the first Africans in America in the late 1400s, immediately there was a color caste system, the genesis of color struck in America. Fair-skinned slaves were given preferential treatment over darker skinned slaves. Slave masters preferred sexual liaisons with fair skinned black women while those of a darker hue were left for the black males for procreation.
Our society is so distracted and possessed with race and skin color we see it in every facet of American life. Psychologists have come up with a cottage industry dealing with people’s sense of low self-esteem and feeling that somehow they just don’t fit in. Then you have those who are fair skinned who may be mistaken for white or some other race but not black, and they are harboring a host of personal issues as it relates to their self-esteem.
Race is very much the 800 pound gorilla in the room. It’s something we don’t talk about in mixed company, but when we get into our own little tribes we let loose with our feelings and frustrations. This goes for every group in this country; being color struck is just as American as apple pie. As an Obama Republican, I tip my hat to the president who tries to manage his office in a color-blind manner; The opposition won’t let him however.
Having traveled extensively around the globe I’ve noticed that in the other countries I’ve been to they are nowhere near as color struck as we are as Americans. Now of course, other countries do have a social System that seems to be based more on economic status as opposed to skin color. I get a real chuckle when someone describes him or herself as color blind. Are you kidding me? Our society in today’s world is so far from being color blind that it’s not even funny. Anyone who states that they are color blind with a straight face, is either delusional, on another planet or possibly on drugs.
If you don’t believe that just look at the current political discourse involving our president. The Southern poverty Law Center has just recently concluded a study that says that hate crimes are up tenfold in the last two years. Now of course, this just couldn’t be a coincidence that we for the first time have a black president, as well as a depressed economy, a large immigrant population and a shrinking white population. Sociologists have called this the perfect storm. The previous stats are real, not the musings of a liberal Republican.
Now of course, immigrants have always been the scapegoat so to speak whenever the United States was in an economic downturn, that’s been the case ever since America has been a country. However, this time it’s a little different. The lack of respect and decorum shown to President Obama is not a coincidence. Example: there quarters of our society that feel perfectly comfortable openly disrespecting the Pres., openly threatening president Obama and most sadly, openly vile and hateful rhetoric that is pervasive.
To tell you the truth I don’t know if I would want to have a colorblind society. I don’t want us all to be the same. There is beauty in our diversity and all of our cultural, racial and ethnic differences. If we were all colorblind there would be no James Brown, no Denzel Washington and no Halle Berry! For that matter, we wouldn’t have any Frank Sinatra, Johnny Cash or Sandra Bullock. That’s the beauty of America; and that’s what makes us strong.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said that we will either live together as brothers or we will perish together as fools. We can’t continue to scapegoat immigrants and the have-nots in our society. When the economy goes south, they are the ones that are the most adversely affected. I do believe it’s possible for us to coexist and treat each other respectfully. We did it once, remember 9/11? That was the most unified I’ve ever felt as an American. For the two or three weeks immediately following the terrorist attack, the tragedy galvanized Americans of every walk of life, every economic status and every color and creed. I believe we can do it again; are you willing to do your part?