I’m rather pissed off, OK? The Trumpy people to whom I am somehow related engaged me in conversation this past weekend about George Floyd. But the FOX News watchers managed to obfuscate it with” Yes, but.” Suddenly, it’s the question of “If the demonstrators can go out to protest, why can’t we open the churches?” Kellyanne Conway would be proud.
But I’m also rather annoyed with white liberals who are shocked, SHOCKED that police abuse still takes place. Haven’t you been paying attention? And they’re sending me solutions – “this is a chance for REAL dialogue!” I’ve been having “real dialogue” at least since my sister Leslie and I, as high schoolers, went to the nearly lily-white Vestal (NY) Junior High School to talk to the choir kids.
People Need to STOP Saying “All Lives Matter”. And they REALLY need to quit with, “That’s not what Martin Luther King, Jr. would do.” Remember, they killed him, too.
I saw the video of Van Jones on Conan O’Brien this week. Jones said, and I’m paraphrasing, “White people, you need to do the work.” He specifically recommended that they watch Thirteenth and read The New Jim Crow. I TOTALLY agree. In fact, they both appear on PARADE magazine’s 40 Anti-Racist TV Series, Docs, Movies, TED Talks, and Books to Add to Your List.
“There’s no such thing as ‘not racist’” – Ibram X. Kendi
Anti-racist? YES – check out this link! It’s not just, “I can’t be prejudiced, I have a black friend.” It is becoming “actively conscious about race and racism and taking actions to end racial inequities in our daily lives.”
Dealing with racism should not be black or brown people’s problem. “Being anti-racist is believing that racism is everyone’s problem, and we all have a role to play in stopping it.”
The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not.
Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on.
So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.