Target: Tim Garvey, candidate for Kansas House of Representatives
Goal: To get Garvey to acknowledge present-day racism before continuing his political campaign.
Tim Garvey, a Republican candidate for the Kansas House of Representatives, recently wrote an angry rant on a social networking site accusing President Obama of endangering the country by focusing on race and proposing unconstitutional laws. He later admitted that the style of the rant was inappropriate but would not apologize for the content of the post, saying that Americans no longer need to discuss racism or recognize differences between races. Garvey must learn about the consequences of modern racism so that he might understand why the country is not yet ready to stop talking about race.
Garvey claims that his rant was an attempt to end racism. Colorblindness is a popular ideology among well-intentioned but misguided white people who prefer to focus on class instead of race in order to solve the problems that people of color face. But addressing class does not eliminate all of the issues that minority groups encounter because it does not take into account the effects of racial discrimination, which remains a very real concern today. Problems cannot be solved by ignoring them and substituting them with something less controversial.
There are a number of issues that result from colorblindness. When racism is ignored, but inequality is still obvious, people tend to conclude that people of color are to blame for their unequal status, which leads to a justification of white supremacy. Additionally, when racism is not discussed, people cannot acknowledge their own subconscious racist beliefs and individual racism cannot be defeated. Finally, discrimination is less likely to be perceived at all when race is never directly addressed.
Tim Garvey’s rant was his attempt at ending racism by calling for President Obama to stop discussing race and dividing the country. However, government officials have a responsibility to address the problems of their communities, and ignoring race will never solve the problem of racism. Garvey must learn about the consequences of discounting racism and acknowledge that President Obama and all government leaders have a duty to continue discussing race.
Dear Tim Garvey,
You recently defended your rant against President Obama and insisted that discussing race is no longer necessary because you see everyone as already being equal. Reviewing the countless studies on racism would show you that this is not the case; racism against people of color persists and ignoring that fact only allows it to continue.
Removing race from the conversation and replacing it with class only pushes a real problem aside instead of allowing the country to deal with the problem. Your privilege may not allow you to notice the racism around you, but your ignorance does not change the fact that racism hinders the success of many of the individuals in your community and in the rest of the country.
If you plan on representing your state, you must acknowledge the struggles that people of color face so that you might eventually understand why we are not ready to stop including race in our political discussions.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: thivierr via Flickr.