Posted by: minnow | August 20, 2017

Are You White?

Read this. Read about “Hate that Doesn’t Hide” by Roxanne Gay. It appeared in The New York Times the week after a Heather Heyer was murdered by a white supremacist in Charlottesville, VA. Or read this one by Aliyah Frumin and Amanda Sakuma about being a Muslim-American in the aftermath of 9-11. Or this personal narrative from Nick Valencia, a third generation Mexican-American who was told to “go home” by a white woman because he dared to speak Spanish. Read “Native Americans: We’re not your mascot” by Simon Moya-Smith. Until you do, until you decide to educate yourself about the experience of racism in America, until you seek guidance and insight from those most closely impacted by a racist, white America, you have nothing germane to add to the conversation, nothing anyone else needs to hear.

Harsh, you say? Absolutely. It’s about time.

My goal here is not to shame you. Shame tries to hide in the corner. Shame immobilizes. My goal is to ring the alarm, TO WAKE YOU UP! Many of us watched the events in Charlottesville unfold and had the novel experience of being shocked. “That’s not America,” we told ourselves. But the painful reality is–THAT IS AMERICA, the very worst of America to be sure, but America none the less. And, until we are willing to look at that reflection square in the mirror, that truth about who we are, we. will never. change.

Rose Sampley gets it.  Read her post. A young, white woman from the South, she knows removing from the town square a statues of a man who fought to preserve the “right” for one man to own another and who was willing to cede from the Union and declare war on his own country in order to maintain that right, is not the same as rewriting history. In fact, it is just the opposite. It’s correcting the revision of history these monuments have allowed.

For the past century, monuments and parks and schools and roadways carrying the names of Southern traitors and oppressors have served as an ugly reminder to people of color. “We are still here,” they threaten. “If we can’t own you physically, we will still own your mind and the minds of white people.” Until recently, these messages were only repeated in whispers. Saying anything close, at least in public, could be career ending, especially if you were a politician. Yet, even under the cover of politically correct language, the underlying culture of racism and bigotry was built. And it has been carefully–calculatedly–maintained.

By honoring traitors in the public square, by pretending they were brave soldiers defending their families and an idyllic way of life, without acknowledging the immoral brutality of slavery and the growing hatred of racism we camouflaged the truth. The idea we might today feel sympathy for a white nationalist who is fired because of the racist slurs he or she flings at another person, betrays just how deeply our white preferences are entrenched.  Neo-Nazis, the KKK, Vanguard America, and other white supremacist groups promote the removal of people of color (and Jews) from the United States. They claim the U. S. was and should again be a whites only nation. They encourage violence and spew hate. Just because they use their “right to free speech” they do NOT deserve our sympathy. Their words and actions deserve our outrage. Their fabricated myth of what America once was is a lie! And, spewing lies and hate, marching while waving torches, carrying weapons, and chanting Nazi slogans, and threatening others with physical violence should have consequences!

Are you white? Talk to people who aren’t. Ask them tell you their story of race in America. AND LISTEN. Don’t talk back. Hear and try to understand what they have to say. Don’t stop at one conversation. Don’t defend your ignorance of how others have been treated simply because the same words the same gestures have come from you, personally. Decide to be educated and start to observe how others black and brown and white are treated. Begin to wrestle with the fact that while all people may be born equal in America, all people are not treated equally in America.

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Responses

  1. I’m a mutt and I choose love. ❤️


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