Panel asks students to be ‘post-racist’

Kyle Roerink

Starting with younger generations is the key

During President Barack Obama’s run for office, the media began to refer to American society as post-racial, said Bakari Kitwana, author of the book “The Hip-Hop Generation” and former editor of The Source.

Post-racial refers to an identity, he said, and what the country really needs to do is become post-racist.

Last night Black United Students, the NAACP and the Jamestown Project sponsored a panel discussion focusing on whether America is post-racial. More than 75 people attended to hear the renowned panel of artists, activists and writers discuss the diversity-related issues facing the country.

The day after Barack Obama became president, Bill Bennett, the former secretary of education, said African Americans could no longer complain about racial inequalities in the country because there is now a black president, Kitwana said.

“I think that post-racial is a way to tell people let’s not talk about affirmative action anymore; let’s not talk about entitlement programs anymore because we have a black president,” said Lisa Fager Bediako, president of Industry Ears.

She said a post-racial world is the fear of old white republicans who are in positions where they’re not used to being. She said they’re scared because the country is beginning to move away from doing things the way it has in the past in dealing with racism.

“I would say this whole post-racial thing was created to start a stir,” said Basheer Jones, local philanthropist and host of his own radio show on 1490 AM. “There is no such thing as post- racial. As young people we can do a better job.

“We eat from the seeds that were planted yesterday. And in order for America to not be a racist society, we have to plant the seeds for the next generation.”

Jones was at the park with his one-year-old daughter during the weekend and he watched her play with children of all colors. He said for the world to truly become post-racial, it is going to take younger generations of all races and ethnicities to come together and teach their children that all people are equal in society.

“As they get older, this superiority complex is taught to (children),” Jones said, “or this inferiority complex is taught to them, and this can have a huge impact.”

MC Serch, producer and host of VH1’s “White Rapper Show,” said he chooses not to think in terms of black and white. He is married to a woman of African American and Puerto Rican descent. They have three children, who are a combination of Jewish, Polish, African American and Puerto Rican descent. He said he can’t look at skin color because his kids are “a little bit of everything.”

“I live in a post-racial world my whole life,” he said. “My mom walked three steps to the right of Martin Luther King in Selma and Montgomery.”

He said if a country attacked America tomorrow, white people wouldn’t just fight on Mondays, black people wouldn’t just fight on Tuesdays, Asians wouldn’t just fight on Wednesdays, Filipinos wouldn’t just fight on Thursdays and Jews wouldn’t only fight on Friday until sundown.

“We would be fighting arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand,” he said. “We would be fighting to protect our country and protect our rights.”

Contact minority affairs reporter Kyle Roerink at [email protected].