“Who we are” about race

stark contrast

who we are

Jaquandor noted, in his blog response to the January 6 tyranny, “We are who we were.”

Specifically, “The road we walk is the one our ancestors paved, for good or ill. It’s a road that leads to amazing things: a nation that helped defeat Fascism on opposite sides of the globe, and a nation that built itself on the stolen labor of some and the stolen land of others…

“We’re a nation that elected a black man President, and then turned around and enabled a four-year tantrum by people who hate that this ever happened.

“‘Who we are is who we were.’ We were racists and white supremacists and violent conquerors of people who lived here before us. We weren’t just those things, but we were those things…and who we are is who we were.” It’s impossible, then, to avoid looking at America through the prism of race.

Why is it ALWAYS about race?!

As I read conservative websites, few philosophies of “the Left” aggrieve them more than the critical race theory.” The view is that “the law and legal institutions are inherently racist.”

Some conservatives actually say we need to root out racist behavior. The trouble is that the examples of blatant announced racism they can point to are comparatively unusual.

What’s more likely is that a white Columbus, OH policeman, Adam Coy, a “19-year veteran of the Columbus Division of Police,” will shoot and kill Andre Hill, an unarmed black man holding a cellphone. And within 10 seconds of the encounter. Coy refused “to administer first aid for several minutes.”

Did  Coy shoot Hill because he feared him based on his race? Can someone prove that? No, but the preponderance of unarmed black folks dying that way forces one to ponder that possibility.

You might have heard about that attempted coup of the US government on January 6. According to the Associated Press report: “The Pentagon asked the U.S Capitol Police if it needed National Guard manpower. And as the mob descended on the building, Justice Department leaders reached out to offer up FBI agents. The police turned them down both times…”

This despite the fact that far-right activists on social media telegraphed violence weeks in advance.

By comparison, last summer, “a diverse group of largely peaceful protesters for racial justice were met with tear gas, military tactics, and legions of police in riot gear.” The contrast was stark.

Difference in tactics

Ed Davis, a former Boston police commissioner wondered, “Was there a structural feeling that well, these [on January 6] are a bunch of conservatives, they’re not going to do anything like this? Quite possibly. That’s where the racial component to this comes into play in my mind.

“Was there a lack of urgency or a sense that this could never happen with this crowd? Is that possible? Absolutely.” No rows of “camo-clad and helmeted National Guard troops” watching this crowd, some of them wearing neo-Nazi apparel and/or waving the Confederate flag.

President-elect Biden saw it. “No one can tell me that if it had been a group of Black Lives Matter protesting…, they wouldn’t have been treated very, very differently than the mob of thugs that stormed the Capitol. We all know that’s true, and it is unacceptable.” As the article title declares, “What’s happening is white privilege.”

I just started reading The Color of Law by Richard Rothstein. The subtitle is “a forgotten history of how our government segregated America.” I’ve gotten far enough to know that the redlining of the US occurred as a result of de jure, rather than de facto segregation.

I’m sure the folks at the Daily Signal are tired of what they deem identity politics. Their conclusion: “the purpose of all teaching about race in American schools is to engender contempt for America.” (SMH) No, the purpose of teaching about race is to recognize that we are on a long, and sometimes imperfect journey. We are striving to form a more perfect union, and we’re not quite there yet.

Author: Roger

I'm a librarian. I hear music, even when it's not being played. I used to work at a comic book store, and it still informs my life. I won once on JEOPARDY! - ditto.

One thought on ““Who we are” about race”

  1. We have to own it, especially white people who are liberal, like me. My faction is quick to say, “Oh, shit, those crackers again,” but we are slow on reaching out to people who don’t share our worldview. I see this as true in my own family, espec with my oldest sister, who is an avowed evangelical conservative and believes Trump hung the moon – and, I will quote her here, “Mike Pence, now there’s a real man!” (my blood runs cold)

    I do believe Biden and Harris are uniquely qualified in a lot of ways, but I fear white folks look at them and think, “Well, Obama liked him, and Harris is Black, so it will all work out ok.”

    YIKES. We are in for a battle royale. But I keep the faith. Now to write my sister a letter…

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