Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

December 17, 1998

Guest post by Tiffanie Butcher, History MA student at Arizona State University.

On December 17, 1998 in the Los Angeles Sentinel, Larry Aubry published an opinion article titled “Ethnic Pride Enhances Collaboration.” The questions that he raises in his article are what does it mean to rise above racial politics, why would ignoring race make collaboration better and/or easier and, in that scenario, what races do we ignore and which ones do we conform to, if any? Aubry illustrates that there has been an ongoing idea of conforming to “racial neutrality” without any concrete definition of that idea. He also points out that America cannot become “race neutral” when racism still exists. “Cries for racial neutrality in a nation still anchored in racism serve to obscure the issues and delay concrete solutions to the growing problems surrounding diversity.”

Leah Wright Rigueur, author of The Loneliness of the Black Republican, paints a similar picture in regard to blacks having a difficult time affiliating with the Republican Party due to the “colorblindness” of said party. “To put it another way, African Americans interpret the GOP’s ‘colorblind’ approach as insensitive to their history and lived experience–a disconnect that is sorely exacerbated by the fact that Republicans rarely consider race except to use it as an antagonism” (Rigueur, 309).

Aubry’s solution is simple: “The significance of race and ethnicity should never be understated; they are the cornerstones of successful collaboration.” In other words, Americans need to stop attempting to create a “race neutral” country and embrace all the different races and ethnicities and the challenges and contributions that each one makes to society.

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