To an ignorant few, the election of a black president signals a transition into a period of post-racialism, where all of the racial tensions and struggles of the past have been overcome and racism no longer exists. Even though there are signs of improvement, such as the election of Barack Obama, America is far from overcoming it's embarrassing racial past and becoming a 'post-racial' society. (Some of us hope that we never do become a post racial society. Even though race is a social construct, I believe that especially in America, it is important to understand and embrace our own and each other's racial identities and histories). It is inevitable, however, that we are increasingly becoming (or recognizing that we actually are) a multi-racial society, which can be very uncomfortable to those used to the status quo.
The speakers on this panel at Netroots Nation 2009 in Pittsburgh titled, 'The Myth of Post Racial America", all have front line experience dealing with the issues that arise with this shift of racial influence. Annabel Park is a documentary filmmaker whose new film '9500 Liberty' (www.9500Liberty.com) presents Prince William County Virginia, an affluent suburb to Washginton DC, as a microcosm for how this struggle has and will continue to play out as America progresses. Rich Benjamin (www.richbenjamin.com) traveled to the fastest growing predominantly white communities in America for his book, 'Searching for Whitopia: An Improbable Journey to the Heart of White America'. Rinku Sen is the executive director of The Applied Research Center (ARC), a public policy institute advancing racial justice through research, advocacy and journalism, and publisher of 'ColorLines', ARC's magazine focused on race and politics (www.ARC.org).
This was a very interesting panel and informative panel and we will be posting a more complete version of the entire session shortly. Keep checking www.SumofChange.com/NetrootsNation for that and many more videos of Netroots Nation 2009 from Pittsburgh.