Thursday, June 25, 2015

It's About Race

On Wednesday, June 17th, this country witnessed yet another human atrocity as the lives of 9 African Americans were taken in an attempt to “start a race war.” Since that time, there has been much conversation around what led to these tragic events; loose gun laws and confederate flags. Yet, we have not taken the time to truly assess what is at the heart of all the public and private barbarism the African American community has experienced. As Dr. King alluded to in his infamous Letter from Birmingham Jail, neither guns nor confederate flags are the greatest threats to the African American community, but “the white [and black] moderate, who is more devoted to "order" than to justice.” As a community we must strive toward justice no matter the cost, anything less will be more detrimental than helpful. - Joseph Butler. Exactly. As we have seen recently since the brutal murder in the media, they are turning the conversation into everything but race. This is about race. We have heard so much rhetoric saying that this is an issue of guns and the access to guns by a 21-year old. We have seen Black faith leaders get on the news to express their forgiveness of the killer, Dylan Roof. We have seen the call for the removal of the Confederate flag. But has there has not been much discussion about the most colorful and obvious issue which is race. This is absolutely about race. The killer wrote a manifesto expressing his disdain for Black people. He wanted to start a race war. Sadly, he chose to do so at a place of peace. A place of shelter and refuge. He stole their refuge. Dylan Roof wanted to hurt them at a place with monumental historical value in the Black Community. 

   We have to truly assess what is at the heart of this issue which is race. We have seen recently in the news the numerous killings and mishandling of Black brothers and sisters with law enforcement. People say it is a culture and law enforcement issue. But honestly, how can we discount race in all of these occasions? People say Black people are always in trouble with the law so that's why things like that are always happening to them. That doesn't mean it should prevent law enforcement from treating people as just that: People. Being colored in America is a difficult. There are many preconceived notions before you open up your mouth. It almost feels like every time you speak or interact with a white person is an audition to prove that you can be an upstanding citizen too. Race blinds so many people to basic dignity. We must address the heart of so many people in America.  

Obama, to my surprise and delight, said, " Racism, we are not cured of, clearly. And it’s not just a matter of it not being polite to say 'nigger' in public. That’s not the measure of whether racism still exists or not. It’s not just a matter of overt discrimination. Societies don’t overnight completely erase everything that happened 200 to 300 years prior." 

Obama got it right. We are not cured of our racist culture even after all of these years since the abolition of slavery to the civil rights movement to post-Reaganomics. We are not cured of racism because this country has never tried to cure its racism. That sounds harsh. Everyone wants to say we have made so many strides and we have but not nearly far enough. Laws are in place to make most people act right. But laws don't change what is in the heart. Of course that doesn't go for all white people. Not all are racist or think that way. But there are so many who may never hate Black people overtly or quietly but don't realize they fall into that class of people who are having colored people audition for their need to be seen as a decent human being in their eyes. What's in their heart may not be hate or racism, but that doesn't mean they are even cured of their symptoms to see persons of color as 2nd class citizens or any class of citizens. And I must say this: Don't get up in arms asking was it OK for the President to say nigger when it was a term introduced by Whites to degrade Negroes. Read the context of what he said. It makes all type of logical sense.  

Then we have the media who refuses to report the real issue here: Race. We have seen the media ask is this a persecution against the church? They have access to the manifesto. The manifesto says it is about race. The media asks is this about stricter gun laws? That manifesto shows that even stricter gun laws had nothing to do what is in that man's heart. He hated Black people. He thought Black people were a threat to his whiteness. So whether he had a bomb, gun, flamethrower, etc, he wanted to attack Black people because that was in his heart. The issue is about race. Let's not run from that. We have constantly run from the topic recently which is why our dark past is still our dark present. Our country has moved on from saying nigger out in the open but our country has not moved on from its culture of racism. and by all accounts, they don't want to do so. When they refuse to acknowledge what we all know is the problem, then we are spinning our wheels. 

Change happens just like in these Alcohol Anonymous classes: You must first admit we have a problem. I don't think they are ready to do that. And if so, just enough to say that they said it. That will never bring change. That will leave us exactly where we are today. We do not change by not embracing the issue and simply apologizing. That's all that ever happens, if that happens, are in vain apologies. To be Black in this country is an abusive relationship. Things will go well for sometime and then racism beats you down. You forgive and then you get beat down with it again. You feel like you have nowhere to turn to escape because the abuser, racism, will always find you. It will apologize with cheap and thoughtless gestures, I.e. the Confederate flag coming down, but because of the constant abuse, you can't help but feel it will happen again. Because it knows, you're trapped...thank you for taking a look into My Thoughts...