White Man Says “When Will WE Get Over It?”

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You are about to read a wonderful “kick-off” to the Inauguration weekend as well as Presidency.  If you haven’t read this most poignant, hopeful, “call to arms,” now is the time.  Dr. Andrew Manis is a professor of history at Macon State College and is the author of several books that focus on race relations and civil rights history in the U.S.  But, coincidentally, he’s in Greece travelling on a Fulbright scholarship and won’t be teaching Spring 2009. 

This essay is most powerful because its words cannot be shrugged off as another emotional, baseless, rant by a black person.  It’s actually overwhelming to read some of our most valuable questions asked by one of our white brothers that actually have a thorough, yet thoughtful, lucid understanding of what we try to convey as our issue with racism everyday.  I won’t keep you from it another moment.  Enjoy:

Dr. Andrew ManisWhen Are WE Going to Get Over It?                                  
For much of the last forty years, ever since America “fixed” its race problem in the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts, we white people have been impatient with African Americans who continued to blame race for their difficulties. Often we have heard whites ask, “When are African Americans finally going to get over it? 
 
Now I want to ask:  “When are we White Americans going to get over our ridiculous obsession with skin color?
 
Recent reports that “Election Spurs Hundreds’ of Race Threats, Crimes” should frighten and infuriate every one of us. Having grown up in “Bombingham,” Alabama in the 1960s, I remember overhearing an avalanche of comments about what many white classmates and their parents wanted to do to John and Bobby Kennedy and Martin Luther King. Eventually, as you may recall, in all three cases, someone decided to do more than “talk the talk.”
 
Since our recent presidential election, to our eternal shame we are once again hearing the same reprehensible talk I remember from my boyhood.
 
We white people have controlled political life in the disunited colonies and United States for some 400 years on this continent. Conservative whites have been in power 28 of the last 40 years. Even during the eight Clinton years, conservatives in Congress blocked most of his agenda and pulled him to the right. Yet never in that period did I read any headlines suggesting that anyone was calling for the assassinations of presidents Nixon, Ford, Reagan, or either of the Bushes.   Criticize them, yes.  Call for their impeachment, perhaps.
 
But there were no bounties on their heads. And even when someone did try to kill Ronald Reagan, the perpetrator was a non-political mental case who wanted merely to impress Jody Foster.
 
But elect a liberal who happens to be Black and we’re back in the sixties again. At this point in our history, we should be proud that we’ve proven what conservatives are always saying -that in America anything is possible, EVEN electing a black man as president. But instead we now hear that schoolchildren from Maine to California are talking about wanting to “assassinate Obama.”
 
Fighting the urge to throw up, I can only ask, “How long?”    How long before we white people realize we can’t make our nation, much less the whole world, look like us? How long until we white people can -once and for all- get over this hell-conceived preoccupation with skin color?  How long until we white people get over the demonic conviction that white skin makes us superior?  How long before we white people get over our bitter resentments about being demoted to the status of equality with non-whites?
 
How long before we get over our expectations that we should be at the head of the line merely because of our white skin? How long until we white people end our silence and call out our peers when they share the latest racist jokes in the privacy of our white-only conversations?
 
I believe in free speech, but how long until we white people start making racist loudmouths as socially uncomfortable as we do flag burners? How long until we white people will stop insisting that blacks exercise personal responsibility, build strong families, educate themselves enough to edit the Harvard Law Review, and work hard enough to become President of the United States, only to threaten to assassinate them when they do?
 
How long before we start “living out the true meaning” of our creeds, both civil and religious, that all men and women are created equal and that “red and yellow, black and white” all are precious in God’s sight?
 
Until this past November 4, I didn’t believe this country would ever elect an African American to the presidency.   I still don’t believe I’ll live long enough to see us white people get over our racism problem. But here’s my three-point plan:
 
First, everyday that Barack Obama lives in the White House that Black Slaves Built I’m going to pray that God (and the Secret Service) will protect him and his family from us white people.
 
Second, I’m going to report to the FBI any white person I overhear saying, in seriousness or in jest, anything of a threatening nature about President Obama.
 
Third, I’m going to pray to live long enough to see America surprise the world once again, when white people can “in spirit and in truth” sing of our damnable color prejudice, “We HAVE overcome.”
-Dr. Andrew Manis
 

15 thoughts on “White Man Says “When Will WE Get Over It?””

  1. Thank you for this article. It is great to see the same thoughts but from the white population. My prayers go up for Barack Obama in that he see all 4yrs of his term!

  2. This is a very thoughtful and provocative essay, primarily because of the source. I not only will pray for the Obama family for their 4year term in the house, but also for their reelection to have a chance to see some of the initiatives carried out. Bravo for a change the truth.

  3. White privilege and the myth of white superiority have been a part of this country’s history since its start. President-elect Barack Obama’s Inauguration shatters the lies and blindness of many who refuse to move forward. Our prayers and hopes are with Obama and his family, and our country.

  4. Cuddos to this article, how can we say we love God but hate our brothers and sisters we see everyday or treat them unfairly because of their skin color

  5. Bravo! Racism is like a disease and perhaps finally America can realize a more healthy future.
    It is, however, time for America to also understand that there are other minorities that require the same diligent efforts to end the denial of their civil rights. Gays and lesbians are still anxiously hoping for a time when they can live openly and freely in a society that does not view them as ill, indecent or less worthy of equality under the law.
    Obama has a lot to accomplish durng his presidency, but giving Rick Warren, who views homosexuals so negatively, a favorable position at the inauguration is not a very good first step. Rick Warren’s ministry damages America by continuing to promote a message of unacceptance toward gays and lesbians.
    Along with making whites feel uncomfortable when they make racist remarks, let’s make anyone feel uncomfortable when they make anti-gay remarks.

  6. Dr. Manis, Thank you for writing your article on this subject. Your thoughts had to come from you – from one of our white brothers. Black people have NEVER created hateful laws, or a holocaust, systematic genocide or ethic cleansing towards white people, as white people have done to blacks and other minorities – throughout the world! It is my hope too, that America will heal from it’s sickness of racism. I too will pray for all of our collective efforts, in our 400 years of healing. If we really believe what this country stands for; we will truly make this country the great nation we want the world to respect and admire…

  7. dr. manis ur da man. i really wish more white people would read dis article and come to terms with the racism and hatred we as black people especially black men have endured for hundreds of years. this is a great piece!! look at it white people. embrace it, love it. it is what it is. Go Obama!!!

  8. WOW!!! This hit the nail on the head!!!
    I clap my hands in awe of this essay!

    Good Job Dr. Manis

  9. Hey this is the best article I have read in quite sometime.Prays god for at least 1 non-person of color seeing that this is a new mellinium can we please just all get along, for the common good. I think by now we all have figured out that blood is all red and we all love our families. Think people how magnanimous this world would be if we all respected each other and worked towards the common good! I think the higher power would shower us with Blessings! So non people of color stop BLOCKING OUR BLESSINGS THEIR YOURS TOO!!!!!!!!!

  10. WOW… change has come. This was an excellent read. I am moved and encouraged of the possibilities of the future. Thanks JB

  11. Mr Manis I applaud you as you are actually showing us that you understand your purpose in life as a professor. It is a natural law of nature to continue evolving whether our consciousness evolves or not..just as other species and generations have paved their way through planetary changes, I suspect mankind is in our final frontier. We have to expand our consciousness not just for the sake of our own planet but the universe as well. Our country relatively speaking is a much younger country than the European countries. We developed an arrogance much like teens in self discovery and who have no sense of mortality, we must show less of our animal nature and more of our humanity. The time is now that we must express a noble and dignified human condition, in order to not only understand our own culture but others as well.

  12. Nice 2 c that someone can “look” at things thru black eyes. Yet it is still a “black thang”. We need 2 step up; Obama raised the bar! Our community is in need of a overhaul in a lot of areas: faith, morality, unity, involvement, etc. We relate to Obama since he speaks, from personal experience, to the issues we face daily and historically, but are we truly committed to the “CHANGE”. I mean, we are good at the meetings(i.e. Million Man March) but OUR follow thru is downright horrendous. “The Dream”, as I interpret it, is for unconditional equality and brotherhood, Obama becoming president is HUGE, but it is not the end of this journey. We CAN talk the talk, but CAN we walk the walk. Ponder this. ‘nuf said!

  13. It is refreshing to see that there are those whose eyes are becoming wider…….Thank God for the individuals who are able to see a much wider scope.

  14. We get over it when we accept the new concept of a black man!
    Obama has changed more that the environment of politics. He has changed the symbol of a black leader. This in turn changes the meaning of the black man. It’s not his actions at all, but what he now means to the symbol of the black man and thus the black woman, the black family, the traditional idea of the white man, the white woman and the white family. In fact the concept and abstract meaning of all men, women and families have around the world have changed because of this symbol we call Barack Obama. And what he now means to American culture and to all cultures of the world.
    When we change the meaning of a symbol we in fact change the word that defines that symbol. When we do that we change language and culture.
    Barack Obama seems to good to be true, but in fact he is true. Tested and true. He is the world’s first black American President. He embodies the ultimate human concept that transcends all race, gender religion and culture, “YES I CAN, SO, YES YOU CAN.”
    Wikipedia says: A concept (abstract term: “conception”) is a cognitive unit of meaning— an abstract idea or a mental symbol sometimes defined as a “unit of knowledge,” built from other units which act as a concept’s characteristics. A concept is typically associated with a corresponding representation in a language or symbology such as a word.
    Obama has come to mean for all people, “Yes I can, so, yes we can.” Therefore black men are saying to themselves and other black men yes I can, so, I have to get myself together.
    Black women are saying to themselves and other black women yes I can, so, I have to get myself together.
    Black families are saying, “Yes we can! So, we are going to have to get it together!”
    Some White’s who believed the old concept of blacks are now being challenged that they are not as good, qualified and lucky as they thought.
    Some White’s and others are now dealing with the fact that by blacks being held back a bit they have enjoyed certain privileges that would not have been given them if they always had to compete straight up.
    There are also those whites and others who have always stood for civil rights and believed that race was never an issue above character of skill. They are also affected because they have to deal with the fact they were right. They are still being called racist because they have never voiced that they are the whites who stood by blacks and others when blacks’ human rights were being withheld. They are mixed in with white racist because of the color of their skin. For every Jackie Robinson there was a Branch Rickey who was the white general manager who insisted that Robinson play. Rickey and family was ostercized just as much as Robinson for allowing him to play. These whites have and still say, “Let’s just let go of raceas an issue! Obama as the symbol of the new black man says to them. “No! You were right and you should be credited for your stand too!” “Character and skill are all that matter!”
    Besides all that, the meanings of the words nigger, cracker, honky and other racial slurs have changed and are now useless and stupid in human interactions. Word associations to blacks like criminal, ignorant and physical are also no longer relevant all because of OBAMA.
    Barack, Michell, Malia and Shasa have already changed the world it’s concept of itself and language as we know it. Like with all foreign languages it takes time to learn a new dialect but with practice, “YES! WE CAN!

  15. The absurdity of the content of the article is only surpassed by the people who think it makes sense.

    He makes blanket statements about white people. He accuses white people of killing Robert Kennedy. It was an Arab. I could list 10 times he makes “we white people” blanket comments.

    For anyone to take this as an intellectually honest article needs to reread it. This man was just trying to get published. He did find a willing audience that is apparent.

    No one is going a kill Obama. I thank Obama for waking up the nation with his nutty socialist ideas. Unlike Bush who claimed to be conservative and was wildly liberal, Obama will lose the next election because this country does not want to be socialist.

    Obama will go do as a man who blew a great chance to lead this nation. It is to bad a real man or woman of ANY RACE did not win the election that believed in the USA constitution and bill of rights. Instead, we have people like the Bushes, Clintons and now Obama who are about the money.

    Prof. Manis is a nut.

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