Racism is declining A few days ago, John McWhorter—a linguist and social critic—penned an essay for the New York Daily News that declared that racism is waning. While McWhorter conceded that racism still exists, he concluded that, with the reelection of President Obama, the influence of racism has dramatically decreased throughout the years.

McWhorter writes:

Does racism exist? Definitely. However, I am more interested in how much it matters.

Here’s what part of the mail I got that was not interesting: those infuriated by the mere suggestion that racism might be less prevalent than it used to be. There persists a heated core of people who seem to think the sentence “Racism is declining” has some kind of fetishistic power. 

They seem to worry that it will cause a backlash or reversal. They worry that white people might misinterpret the sentence and – well, I’m not sure just what they think is actually going to happen next. 

All I know is I’ve been told for a good decade now that it’s dangerous to say “racism is declining” – and the last time I checked, during that time, America elected a black President. If that’s a backlash, let’s have more of it.

McWhorter’s stance echoed a previous op-ed touting the demise of racism in which he wrote:

The times just don’t fit the grand old rhetoric, and nothing attests to that more than the fact that a black man will have occupied the White House for eight years, not just four. And the second time, he beat an opponent who gave him a run for his money. This is real. The issue is no more whether there is racism than whether there is weather. The issue is whether racism works. Increasingly, in so many ways, it would seem that it just doesn’t.

After President Obama’s historic 2008 election, many wondered if we’d finally reached “post-pacial” America. They wondered if the election of the nation’s first black President meant that black folks had finally overcome.

As the media picked up on the post-racial America meme, many African Americans resisted the idea that an Obama presidency meant that racism was a thing of the past. They argued that while a black family occupied the White House, African Americans were still disproportionally affected by poor schools, the prison pipeline, access to health care, and higher unemployment rates.

Although it’s true that systemic racism is no longer overt and legislated, the affects of the bad old days of our nation’s history continue to affect many of our citizens today.

While black folks are no longer forced to the back of the bus, we are being marginalized by lawmakers who are more concerned about suppressing the “urban” vote than ensuring all citizens have access to the support they need to improve their lives.



  1. Jay Cee

    Read “The New Jim Crow” Revised Edition, by Michelle Alexander. You will see, factually, how racism is not waning now, never has and never will!

    • jollyd

      Jay Cee-get with the TIMES-No one pays attention to such crap ,except folks like yurself.

  2. Racism isn’t waning as much as it is transforming.yes things are definitely better than before but considering that in a 200 year long history of America things have improved in just the last 40 years for blacks that isn’t saying much. And that is why saying we are post racial is dangerous because it makes it easier for whites to not see areas where blacks are lagging behind. While over racism might be on the waning subtle racism still exists and is in some ways a lot more dangerous.

    Take colorist for example. It gives white the appearance of being inclusive when they choose light skin blacks over dark skin blacks. Obama is a great president and i think him being not just multi racial with a global perspective makes him representative of America. This shouldn’t detract from his accomplishments but the fact that he is a light skinned lack guy played at least a small role in how acceptable he was to whites.

    His wife on the other hand was attacked for her dark skin. And let’s not forget the fact that during the election the lack of disrespect republicans had for a president. The whole he is not one of us, birth certificate crap and let’s not even get into Trump was all racist.romney wasn’t even born in America but That wasn’t a problem. Neither was McCain I believe but Obama who was born in the states and would still be American because his mother is American identity was put into question.

    And Obamas cool perona is partly coz he trying to a void the angry black man stereotype. He can’t get angry about certain things. Oh and he doesn’t have a major policy directed towards blacks because republicans would fight it and have a field day. Oh and in the senate there are no black senators as we pek even though there are tons of Obamas out there. So he looks at his cabinet and sees no on that looks like him. And that is the crap the president of America and arguably the world has to deal with on a constant basis. Now imagine what the ever age person has to deal with.

    The reason this statement is dangerous because it gives whites the excuse to say shit like blacks just like to complain or reverse racism. Yes black people come across like they don’t recognize the changes but the truth is blacks have to shout a billion times harder to just be heard once. Especially now when things are getting better so that the areas where we are not are addressed. How better are we when we are comparing our now to the days of being en slaved and in the back if the bus. That isnt a comparison we should have to make. I should be grateful because oh white people are beating me but are fucking me over in other ways.

    True equality is the day where colorism doesn’t make one black person a lot better than another in a white persons eyes. It’s when we are picked on the basis on our ability to choose a job not just our skin. It’s when minorities are chosen by univeristies ithout the use of affirmative action to counteract instructional used racism. And it’s when a white person doesnt attack a brilliant black student for “taking his place due to affirmative action” when there are other white students who shouldn’t have been at the university.

    What Obama has done is change how black people are perceived for both blacks and white. A black peron can aspire to be president for the first time and so can minorities. A black person doesn’t have to think that being eu aged an well spoken as acting white. These things are institutionalized but now it is possible to bridge the gap . Same with jay z and will smith. They are changing stereotypes

    I get what this guy is saying but I think he would have done better to rlk about the ways that racism is transforming and why we still need to work at it. It’s like marriage: constantly work at it especially through the good times lest we fall back into the bad times

  3. Rienne (pronounced Rienne)

    Im almost certain John Mcwhorter says this stuff for shock value, but the debate sickens me to no end. The fact that a black man has made this comment has proven the point entirely. Racism is a disease, a sickness of the mind. His comment shows a disregard for the impact it’s had on not just ppl of color, but those of european decent as well. If after centuries of being told you are “less than” has clearly effected our ppl to this day, how it must have also effected a ppl whove been told for centuries that they are “more than”. To suggest that lifetimeS of hatred, brutality, genocide, war, slavery, black codes, apartheid, and bombings have somehow been countered and made to “wane” by only 4 decades of 2nd class citizenship (which we still fought n bled for) “prison pipelines”, and unequal pay/education/rights, is all part of being force fed assimilation as a means for survival, as is this a serious case and point in terms of mcwhorter. It’s classic reverse psychology the way they’ve tried to convince the black man that that which plagues him does not exist. Albeit we’re not being hanged for glances and are now able to ride, eat, vote, live (kinda) where we want, we must be careful not mistake progress for change. The KKK started out as pissed off civil war soldiers of the south and wore potato sacks on their heads…which progressed into white sheets. Message didn’t change though. Obama won his election probably due to several racist/colorist notions that have worked both for and against him, but at the end of the day he earned his office IN SPITE of racism, not a lack of it. As a black man, in not just any, THE position of authority, I’m sure he has faced pure bigotry and hatred on levels we cant even begin to imagine. But before we think of that we have to rid ourselves of the notion that ideas like success, happiness, opportunity, acceptance, and privilege are tokens to be handed to us by white society. Mcwhorter is not alone in his thinking (unfortunately). The difference is in the idea of racism. Oh how we wish it was only water fountains and freedom marches. Too bad racism is a disease, a state of mind, not (just) legislature and supreme court decisions. The tactics match the times. You wont see too many burning crosses on your lawns these days. But then again, tell that to Sharmeka Moffitt who was burned on a cross by the KKK for wearing an Obama tshirt. Ok so we’re not dying in Rosewood numbers, but our tenacity makes us targets constantly. I get what he may have been getting at, but……..nah.

  4. The euphoric bubble that African Americans nationwide and blacks worldwide have allowed themselves to be encased inside of and float must be burst and relieved of all toxic, detrimental oxygen that surely and endlessly intoxicates and forever blinds. For it is imperative for all black people who truly desire and are also committed to the healthy and whole survival of the Black Race in America, Caribbean, Africa and worldwide to immediately know and understand a few things without fail to awaken their minds, open their eyes, and be able to best act accordingly to survive and thrive against rather than continue to be easily and endlessly played, divided, diluted, nullified and destroyed en mass. The incredibly rich run and control Political Parties, the White House, United States of America Government, Military, American Banks / Financial Credit, “All Big Business”, European governments / European big businesses, Employment, Public Schools / College Higher Education, Media Organizations, Agriculture / Housing / Entertainment / Prison Industries and they are all supreme masters of deception and the art of relentlessly daily, monthly, and annually deciding, influencing, and fully shaping public knowledge and opinion. As a result of these undeniable facts, freedom and democracy are America’ biggest facades and most insidious illusions given that both so well cover and belie the diabolical underbelly of those few who regularly deceive, control, exploit, betray and pit America’ virtues, which are her people of all races and religions en mass. There is a totem pole tier system in America not simply nor merely primarily tied to differences in education and income class, but more specifically and quite accurately tied to the absolute continuation of full white supremacy strength, domination, survival, control, and therefore also long ago and still current concern and conclusion on which of all the other racial groups in America present for and against white supremacy the greatest strength, weakness, opportunity, and threat. Unlike Native Americans of many different tribes and languages living throughout America armed with inferior weapons who were duped, united way too late, still aggressively fought and had their land and themselves overtaken by whites, were almost entirely wiped out, and with few left who were for many important reasons unsuitable for enslaved labor on lands and in wilderness so well known and easily traveled by them, African slaves of many different African countries, tribes, and languages were brutalized and terrorized both en route to foreign North America, enslaved, beaten, raped, degraded, stripped of their languages, religions, cultures, children, wives, husbands, manhood, womanhood, childhood, existence as human beings and treated like animals unfit for anything other than free forced hard labor, breeding more enslaved workers, rape, murder, servitude, poverty, and discrimination for hundreds of years. At the same time as all this occurred, their relatives, countries, and continent of Africa was being carved up and colonized for the taking of its lands and wealth and initiation of control and discrimination against Africa’ people. And yet, through all of this and even given deliberate introduction of the deathly scourge of illegal drugs / drug addiction, access to firearms for drug trade control, too many years long limitless welfare dependency also as a by-product of poverty associated with young unprepared, unmarried and repeated child-bearing, single female parent head of households, fatherless children, poor and inferior public school education, unemployment and employment discrimination, resulting crimes and imprisonments of massive numbers of black men and boys, wide scale destruction of black families and the HIV/AIDS genocidal virus created to most deliberately and effectively target to kill black people in America and Africa, the Black Race against all these huge and horrible odds has nonetheless managed to still survive. And so how and from who is it that black people receive such awesome incredible inner strength, physical and mental fortitude, endurance, perseverance, hope, faith, and tremendous overwhelming love that carries us through it all? Who is it that is forever for us and not against us, thwarts those always seeking to take and destroy, and to use and encourage us to destroy ourselves and one another? Who is it that no matter what strategies are developed and used and no matter what casualties there are or what things appear to be or look like is always in charge and has our backs given we are the long-suffering people spoken of that no evil of any kind including white supremacists can ever fully handle and destroy? Remember and never, ever forget to daily worship and honor our Almighty God. It is He and His Knowledge, Truth, and Justice not from any country or human being that is real freedom and sets us free, awakens our minds, opens our eyes, and compels us to see, know, and act accordingly against that and those that would and will act to destroy us. If you want to be free, stand up for and within the protection and righteousness of Almighty God.

    Everybody says there is this RACE problem. Everybody says this RACE problem will be solved when the third world pours into EVERY white country and ONLY into white countries.
    The Netherlands and Belgium are just as crowded as Japan or Taiwan, but nobody says Japan or Taiwan will solve this RACE problem by bringing in millions of third worlders and quote assimilating unquote with them.
    Everybody says the final solution to this RACE problem is for EVERY white country and ONLY white countries to “assimilate,” i.e., intermarry, with all those non-whites.
    What if I said there was this RACE problem and this RACE problem would be solved only if hundreds of millions of non-blacks were brought into EVERY black country and ONLY into black countries?
    How long would it take anyone to realize I’m not talking about a RACE problem. I am talking about the final solution to the BLACK problem?
    And how long would it take any sane black man to notice this and what kind of psycho black man wouldn’t object to this?
    But if I tell that obvious truth about the ongoing program of genocide against my race, the white race, Liberals and respectable conservatives agree that I am a naziwhowantstokillsixmillionjews.
    They say they are anti-racist. What they are is anti-white.
    Anti-racist is a code word for anti-white.


Comments are moderated, please be respectful. View our policy.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

More in Politics, race