SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) _ If last week’s incident involving a USDA employee accused of racism has taught us anything, it’s that anyone who thought having a black president would move us past racism was naïve.
Dr. James Taylor, a professor of politics at the University of San Francisco said what we’re witnessing is a period of backlash.
“This is not new. This is not Fox’s doing. This is not Rush Limbaugh,” he said. “This is an age-old phenomenon going back to the populist movement and that’s what I don’t think Americans really appreciate. The names have changed, the faces have changed even the titles of the parties have changed. But we always had this reactionary element that has reacted to the sense that the world that they inherited has been transformed by these external threats.”
What is new are the faces of the people crying racism. It’s no longer just minorities. And Dr. Taylor said he believes too many people of all colors are pulling the race card inappropriately.
“I think this is unfortunate because it’s almost made the whole notion of legitimate claims of race and racism nebulous and almost useless because it’s being used and thrown about in so many different directions,” Taylor said.
But how do you get people to stop with the race-baiting when it’s just so profitable?
“There are billions of dollars being made in ratings and books and television programming behind keeping us divided,” said Taylor. “There’s a vested interest in keeping the American populous divided because I think it’s a marketable item. What else impassions us so much aside from race and religion?”
Taylor said to turn things around, we have to start from the local level. He believes this can be done through reconciliation, much the same way it’s been done in South Africa.