Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/05/14/racism-and-national-soul
These conversations that need to be had, need to originate within white communities first. See it’s “whiteness” and the silent codification of and conference of the privileges therein that allows “white” people to feel superior, that allows their actions to not have consequences, that allowed laws that have justified the unjustifiable - the denigration and disenfranchisement of a people who were stolen from their lands and whose stolen labor is what made this nation great, the removal of the native inhabitants and their continued disenfranchisement and the abridgement and negation of treaties that have been signed by “the government”.
Until white people can openly and honestly not just have these conversations, but acknowledge their entitlement and because of it the systemic detriment and disadvantages towards non-white people - until those conversations are had - then no conversations can be had.
The author asks, “What would it take to deinstitutionalize racism?”
We could decriminalize possession and use of all drugs for starters, instead treating individual cases as needed (overdoses, for example, or when someone starts acting out) as medical problems. The case of Breonna Taylor–just one of far too many–is beyond tragic in its senseless violence and its selective oppression.
This is just the biggest ask there is. It is truly complex. For example:
Israeli Jews intermarry with Palestinian Arabs to the despair of their families
China identifies [I believe the number is] 43 Chinese ethnicities; which ethnicity rules?
Purportedly peace-loving Buddhists persecute Muslim Rohinghas
Hutis and Tutsis slaughtered one another by the tens of thousands in Rwanda
Palestinians are disliked by most other Arab nationalities in the region for betraying their ethnicity
Add to the list as you may. It’s easy.
There’s this too, if you may remember, clipped as “A Way Out of Hell”-- Hell, where unending, umitigated racism takes us. -ttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0adv8zQsa9I
There are still those that argue that when a Cop shoots a black person it has nothing to do with racism and more to do with the fact the victim is poor and that the Cops also shoot poor white people.
There a huge difference. Cops do NOT shoot people buying a BB gun in Walmart because that person poor. Cops have shot a man buying a BB Gun in Walmart because his skin is black.
People do not call 9/11 to report a poor white man buying a BB gun in Walmart.
People DO call 9/11 to report a black man buying a gun in Walmart.
With this shooting that father and son hunting team would not have got off their fat white asses to hunt down and shoot a white person jogging through their neighborhood. They went out on that mission only because the person was black.
Had it been a white Jogger and had those prosecutors watched the exact same video those prosecutors would not have arrived at the conclusion that the killers did nothing wrong.
For the broader background,
Many have documented, well documented, that America has become less racist over time. As just a small sign, recall that we elected Barack Obama President, twice, and that we have had several blacks and other persons of color in the President’s cabinet, holding important jobs, and at least two members of the current Supreme Court are persons of color.
Also, for broader context, Larry Elder (a Black man) is one of many who have pointed out that more Whites get killed by Blacks than Blacks killed by Whites, and that many more Blacks get killed by Blacks. And that the number of persons killed by police has also decreased over the past few decades. And that arguably the USA is the least racist populous multi-ethnic nation on the planet, with greater opportunities for minorities. One reason why so many persons of color migrate towards the USA, not away.
Specific cases are matters for other articles in Common Dreams. And we face a question of - call it overreach - such as Baltimore, where the [black] prosecutor, responding to political sentiment, charged the police officers rather heavily, and the courts and juries rejected those charges, acquitting the policemen.
This article is concerned with the broader question of ‘systemic’ racism in America. There are complaints that we still have plenty, despite the broader context I cited a few paragraphs ago. One good idea is:
And we have John Ehrlichman’s statement of why the Nixon administration increased enforcement of penalties for drug use; all Republican vs. Democrat partisanship and appeal to those Nixon called ‘the Silent Majority’, who still vote; this was more insidious ‘racism’ than the so-called ‘Southern Strategy’. – We still have to work through the San Jose CA complaints that the CIA sold crack cocaine to black neighborhoods in order to get around a Congressional refusal to fund Nicaraguan contras.
We can also take the idea that minorities can only be represented by a member of their community, and extend it to juries, that a jury of peers is only peer-ful if it contains at least two unbiased (supposedly, better be) members of both the victim’s and the accused’s communities.
It remains a question of whether we can form a more perfect union and society, vs. the temptation to be satisfied with only a “reversal of fortune” where, to quote Frantz Fanon, “What you did to us, we shall do to you.”
Good historical review, and timely commentary on racism in our country, Robert.