The time has come to acknowledge that race-based organizations are counter-productive to furthering the entirely admirable and reasonable goal of productive-for-everybody-race-relations. At this point in history, understandably, most of the race-exclusive groups are for African-Americans. The Congressional Black Caucus, to name one. So where's the Congressional White Caucus?
(Of course we seem always to have the KKK with us. But that's another story for another day.)
Is racism dead? No, and it never will be because human beings will never be 100-percent rational beings. The journey is far from over. At the same time we are blessedly far, far away from the evil and tragic system that was in place just generations ago. We have arrived at a time where society's concerns are pretty much the same regardless of color or ethnicity: crime, public education, health care and economic security to name a few.
The divisions today aren't necessarily color-coded. They can be based on a myriad of personal and group dysfunctions.
Either way, the sooner these race- and ethnic-exclusive organizations aggressively set about to embrace all people of good will the better for everybody, including them.
Time was, during the civil rights struggles, these groups were critical for progress. Now, they serve largely to perpetuate the problem. As some anthropologist once observed, human beings seem to be determinedly tribal. Which probably made sense in the fight for survival during the Stone Age, but makes no sense now.
Research has shown that cultural taboos ingrained from childhood are powerful barriers to sober consideration as to whether that taboo is reasonable and constructive or unreasonable and destructive. Because these ingrained taboos evoke such strong feelings of discomfort and insecurity when they are violated the tendency is to search for ways to rationalize them and maintain that familiar comfort level. We all do it to some extent.
One of the supreme ironies in the matter, incidentally, is that religion, rather than being a leader in bringing people together, seems all too often to be a leader in maintaining the status quo. Go figure.
And we never see references anymore to "White Colleges." But "Black Colleges" apparently is still considered perfectly OK. Talk about uncomfortable comfort levels.
Libby Davis worked for the Rockdale Citizen for 20 years as publisher before retiring in 1997. She is also a columnist and editorial writer and occasional contributor to Georgia Trend magazine.