I watched the BBC programme Newsnight where the Nobel Prize laureate, Toni Morrison, was being interviewed about her new book ‘A Mercy’. The presenter asked Morrison if African Americans could be accused of being racist towards Barack Obama because of his alleged ‘white’ experience. Morrison responded tactfully by saying ‘that African Americans were worried that Obama had no slaves in his family and senior members of the Civil Rights Movement begrudged the fact that he had not participated in the struggle.’ Morrison ended by saying that this was no longer a problem for her community and that they were proud of the fact that it was highly possible for Barack, an African American, to be the next President of the United States.
But as I listened, I wondered why on earth should this be seen as racist?? The community can be accused of being resentful or bearing ill will or being wrongfully suspicious but not racist. The Black community should be forgiven for wanting Barack to be pulled over as many times as they have by racist cops, just so that they can say he ‘qualifies’ but I don’t think that makes the community racist. The Black community has the right to comment even if that comment(s) is misplaced or taken out of context. Redefining and misinterpreting what the community thinks, is racist and if we don’t watch it, racism will lose its true meaning.