One of my favorite movies is Monty Python and the Holy Grail. If you haven’t seen it then to be honest you’ll probably not get many of the references in the rest of this post. Regardless, keep reading. Ha. The thing about the movie is that I heard quotes from it long before I had actually seen the movie. Quotes like “Summon the Holy Hand Grenade” and “we are the knights that say Ni!” Classics lines from the movie. Since I hadn’t seen the movie I didn’t get the quotes and I didn’t think, at the time, they were funny. I had to experience the movie for myself. Finally I sat down and watched it. My eyes were opened! It was like I was watching a comedy for the first time, my world was forever altered by a bunch of Brits acting foolishly. You if you don’t get it, you just have to experience it.
Something that some people simply don’t get is racism. I think you can watch all the old 60’s news footage of marching, watch movies like American History X, walk through the the Martin Luther King Jr Museum a thousand times, but until you have actually faced it, experienced it, and have been personally a victim of it, I don’t think you can get it. One can describe the feelings and the situations but it’s far different than catching that look in someone’s eye as you pass by and knowing full well the only reason it’s there is because of the color of your skin or the shape of your eyes. You can watch movies and documentaries on it but it’s different when the name calling is directed toward you, your brother, and to your face. It’s just different.
Recently, Donald Sterling (owner of the NBA franchise LA Clippers) was caught spewing racist remarks in an audio recording. The news coverage is so wide spread that even President Obama commented on the issue and he was in another country at the time.
In the movie Monty Python and the Holy Grail there is a scene where a man is in charge of collecting the dead bodies around the city. Another man approaches him with an old man slung on his shoulder. The man tells the collector that he has a dead one for him. The old man quips “I’m not dead yet!”
In the audio you can hear Donald Sterling talking about him getting phone calls because his girlfriend took a picture with Magic Johnson. In the context of the conversation one can imagine that the phone calls that Donald Sterling had received were focused on why his girlfriend was taking pictures of herself with a black guy and posting them on Instagram. This tells me that Donald is surrounded by friends and probably family that share his same views. That their zealous racism extends to monitoring his girlfriend’s Instagram and then reporting back to Donald what’s going on. To me this just proves that racism extends far beyond Donald Sterling and most likely to other CEO’s, owners and powerful people continuing racism’s proclamation of “I’m not dead yet!”
I had a conversation with someone who asked if my parents were strict as far as who I dated. My response was “I’m 32 years old… So no”. I followed my statement by asking if their parents were. They said yeah their parents were pretty strict. Of course I could see how this was unfolding but I still pushed by asking “oh in what way?”. The response continued racism’s echo of “I’m not dead yet”. They responded in saying that they weren’t allowed to date “Blacks and Mexicans”. Needless to say I was surprised and not surprised. Their excuse was “that’s how they were raised.” My philosophy on excuses, pardon the language, are that they are like assholes; everyone has one and they all stink.
Much like the knight who simply won’t die and despite electing a black president, twice, racism is not dead. Word like “colored” is still accepted in many circles. Donald Sterling said that “minorities … Are the enemy.” He even called his girlfriend an enemy. Racism isn’t dead because we allow excuses like “well that’s how they were raised”. Even though we have cut off the arms of racism through the civil rights movement, it is still hopping around attempting to “Bite your legs off”.