In America life for Black folks has always been tough with various degrees of racism and oppression. The ebb and flow of contempt for our very essence and being has often been like the wind: sometimes the gust is strong; sometimes it is a mild . The one constant theme of life in America for Black folks is the reality of racism and all of its wicked incarnations and iterations. It does not have to be like this for Black Americans or for that matter the nation. Yet of late a new wave of contempt has reached the shores of Black America from the death of Trayvon Martin to now the death of Renisha McBride.
In the post-industrial era of America, on the footprints of slavery, segregation, and the like for many Black folks in the nation, we must now confront the specter and culture of ‘Negrophobia’. It is a a derivative pathology of racism, not novel in substance just different in application and behavior. Often ‘Negrophobia’ is a civil disdain hidden in a non-verbal activity or a cloaked bigoted behavior absent the optics of raw prejudice. It has the distinct stench of racism but it lacks the venom and vulgar and virulent demeanor of hard core bigotry.
In the gentile terrains of an office environment or the mild contours of a restaurant or even in a plaid elevator gathering the presence of ‘Negrophobia’ is a reality that is far to often present in the space of Black folks and others (read whites and of late even other people of color). From the nostrils and optics of many Black folks often one feels that he or she is germ or some kind of disease that people seek to avoid when they are in our orbit and presence. We have become in many circles an inconvenient truth an interactive poster of crime and darkness.
Usually when ‘Negrophobia’ is in effect communication,dialogue and authentic displays of normalcy are absent. A surreal reality takes over and quite often the Black person in the equation is the odd person out. What is really insane that even in the ‘Age of Obama ‘ the presence of “Negrophobia was returned to the nation’s landscape with a vengeance. White politicians have become embolden with verbiage that incites racial angst. Media outlets fill the their platforms with racially charged violent crimes.The nation’s zeitgeist is packed with themes of a civil rights fatigued where the normal white majority is tired of the claims of victimhood and grievance from ‘those people’.
The personal toil and anguish of always being viewed as a threat and unworthy of respect and trust is creating havoc on the health of Black Americans. The specter of ‘Negrophobia’ has destroyed and shattered the internal texture of Black communities. Negrophobia augments the disconnect between Black students and their teachers, it has created record numbers of suspensions and expulsion in our public school system for Black students. The economic costs of this pathology is in the trillions of dollars from health care costs to abandoned urban cities.
The basic civility that is required for a civilized nation to operate is now in peril. The fiction of Negrophobia is contaminating even the ‘other dark meat’ where this collective is displaying reservations and contempt towards Black Americans regardless of our class or status. We are here at the edge. The truth is there for all to observe: Negrophobia will destroy the very soul of our nation.
Greg Thrasher is director of Plane Ideas, an alternative think tank.