Charlottesville. It’s cut and dry: saying one race is superior to another is wrong. Saying certain people don’t belong because of their skin color, religious or non-religious affiliation, whom they love, etc is wrong. It’s not about being a “snowflake”. It’s about being a badass ambassador of human rights. It’s about showing racist bullies that most of us will not tolerate their behaviors. Show me a person with more strength than someone who resists and aims to change systems that were built to disenfranchise them. Show me someone with more strength than a person who fights for the rights of others, even as that fight puts them in danger and forces them to sacrifice their white privilege lottery ticket.
But let us examine why this protest happened (aside from the whole Confederate statue deal). Let’s not forget that what these people are doing and saying is precisely WHAT OUR COUNTRY WAS BUILT ON. There is NO WAY we can fix these problems without acknowledging the very reasons this is still happening today.
First, this land was stolen and colonized because the white people who came over decided they were better than the natives. They raped, killed, pillaged, committed genocide, and spread disease among the native tribes in order to take their homes, land, food, their very lives and livelihood. After that, they colonized the land as if they’d always been here.
They headed on over to Africa, saw how well the people were doing for themselves and abducted them to do the work to make their “new” land livable and profitable. They were torn from their families and their homes, many died on the ship over; tortured, enslaved, raped, killed. See a trend?
Then we get to the abolition of slavery--”states rights” my ass--the state's right to own other humans. During reconstruction, the black community was extremely prosperous (google Black Wall Street Massacre and the Tulsa Race Riot), but white people just couldn’t handle black people being successful, so here comes segregation.
So, we see Jim Crow, then the civil rights movement. All the while, people of color were constantly told and reminded that they were second class citizens. It was evident in the quality of school supplies (not schools, many of the Black schools were quite successful), different drinking fountains and bathrooms, forcing people of color to use the back doors of restaurants, etc.
Go ahead and put all the laws into place that you want, but the US has always viewed people of color, especially black people, as the enemy. Each amendment to the constitution, each law, was strategically placed in order to further oppress people of color. If they really wanted integration in schools, why did the black kids have to go to the white schools? Why did the teachers of color lose their jobs and the white teachers kept theirs? Great idea, guys. Super freaking safe and supportive. Why was redlining in housing legal? Why would they take away voting rights? Because. White supremacy.
If you haven’t watched the documentary 13th, you really need to see it, like...yesterday. It does such a good job of explaining the timelines. Here’s a simple one:
End slavery → make it illegal to have slaves, unless the person is a criminal → criminalize black folks for the most minute offenses → imprison them→ privatize prisons to create goods→legal slavery!
There was so much propaganda against black people for so long that it is embedded in our brains for us to fear them. Along with this fear, came the idea that they are less than human. When we can look at others and feel like they are less than us, we can justify hurting, or even killing them. Black people are killed by police at a much higher rate than any other race. Since the beginning of 2017 until July 1, 2017, police have shot and killed 492 people, however, since 2005, only twenty-three cops have been convicted of murder for an on-duty shooting. There are laws that protect police from being convicted of murder. Sidenote: police started as slave patrol, so there’s that.
Here are my questions:
-Where is the riot gear?
-Where are the rubber bullets?
-Why weren’t the police already there?
-Where is the tear gas?
-Where is the title of “terrorist” for the guy driving the car into people?
-How does a peaceful march by BLM have all of the above happen and an event literally based on killing or excommunicating people unlike you, not?
Like I said, it’s easy to see this is wrong. We have to understand why this is happening, we have to listen to the reasons why people are protesting the national anthem. We have to demand that systems change. We have to talk about race with our children. We need to be outraged when police get to be judge, jury, and executioner. There is a lot of hidden racism; in schools, in housing, in hiring practices. If you don’t look for it to dismantle it, you’re not helping. It’s not enough to speak up when it’s right in your face. DO BETTER. Educate yourself. Learn the history. Sit in your discomfort. Enough is enough.