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There has been a running theme in the United States in 2016. It didn't begin this year. It just continues to magnify from previous years. The thought: if you aren't a part of the majority, you are less valued, or not valued at all.

Here's why this is such a big problem, now. People think and do things based, not just on their own thoughts and decisions, but also on the atmosphere, the context and accepted behaviors of others around them.

Based on this, we have a grave situation.

But this goes back to 1964, when Jim Crow laws were finally abolished. We needed to put it in context, have a national discussion to go along with the change in policy, so people, both black and white, could come to terms with what it all meant, and where it was going to lead.

Instead, racism took a different form... or the same form as Martin Luther King was assassinated, riots resulted, and everyone who wanted to buy into the "those people are different from us" argument could say, this is why we don't want THEM in our neighborhoods.

Since we didn't have that discussion on race then, and we still haven't had it yet, we are seeing more actions that suggest "Them v. Us" is an ongoing theme, and rules, justice system, fairness and equality be damned.

We're not talking about illegal immigrants here. These are bona fide citizens of this country.

Between the lack of gun control, the fear and lack of understanding about people that appear different, and those in positions of power, everything is reversed from how it should be.

The atmosphere matters. As long as cops who killed citizens never are charged with crimes, we cannot deal with the next case. The atmosphere matters.

How do you police the police? Even when there is video evidence of their breaches of protocol, they still receive no charges.

But the police actions are the fruit of a tree of hatred. It all comes back to punishing Black people by this generation, because, and this is the core of the issue, because white society previously treated them like property.

We have to have that conversation about Race in America. How can the United States  hope to be fair to citizens in other countries, when we have not yet been fair with our very own?

Choose an adjective: heartbreaking, unnerving, disgusting... typical, expected, unsurprising. Maybe all of the above. What we know for sure is that until we talk about it, together and collectively, there will be another shooting. Another American killed, as if there is a war going on in the streets of our cities and towns, as if we believe there is a difference between people with different melanin content in their skin.

I know this conversation is going to be difficult. And my suggestion that racism is a kind of addiction seems to fit that. But if we can't protect each other within the borders of our own country, there is no hope of ever achieving world peace.

We are the standard bearers for doing what's right. It is time to stand up so that all of the people, more than 500 in 2016 so far, will not have died in vain.

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
packgrog
Jul. 7th, 2016 07:04 pm (UTC)
My eyes opened after Ferguson. Prior to that, I assumed that equality had eventually become the standard. I saw how wrong that assumption was with Ferguson, and every fucking instance of a black person killed by police since.

I didn't see it because I'm white. I didn't see it because I grew up in a safe, mostly white, mostly Christian area with apparently unusually good public education. Hell, I was one of the most underprivileged people in my town when I was growing up. It wasn't until I visited other parts of the country (or world) where people were so much worse off that I started to realize how good I really had it, and how anomalous my privilege really was.

But now I can't stop seeing how bad it is for black people in this country. And I can't understand how so many people still don't see it. After Ferguson, Travon Martin, Eric Garner, and so many other names that it's difficult to remember, how the hell can people still be blind to this? It's a constant bombardment now. How can people still not see it? I can't avoid it. I recall thinking a couple of days ago how nice it was that I hadn't seen Yet Another Unjustifiable Instance of Blacks Being Attacked by White Cops. So much for that.

I'm not at risk. The only thing about me that alarms anyone is that I have long hair. But I'm beyond incensed that this kind of thing would happen to ANYONE. The fact that it happens to a specific group of people because the the amount on melanin in their skin is doubly sickening. God dammit, this has to STOP.
penpusher
Jul. 7th, 2016 07:46 pm (UTC)

Part of the issue has always been the separation, of course. If you aren't around people who are not identical to you, you are free to view them as anything your wildest fear fantasies can create.


That's a big piece of the puzzle. Fear creates that dread. And it's much easier to dispose of someone if you believe that person to be lesser than or of no value to you.


This is just one single aspect of the discussion on race in America. Really, the elements of this conversation are so wide-ranging, it would take up the whole landscape. I know that many racists and even disinterested white people will pass on this, thinking they will be vilified... "race baiting" is the popular accusation, but we will never progress as a people until we all come to the table to examine these issues and correct them.


There will be more police murders of black citizens. It is guaranteed. That is what makes this so devastating. People who are alive and well today will be dead for absolutely no reason, tomorrow. We already know it.


America, 2016.

halfshellvenus
Jul. 8th, 2016 06:16 am (UTC)
It's so tragic and frustrating, and so much of it is "racist panic."

Those who truly can't see that are a symptom of the same root problem, and that helps no one. How have so many become apologists for such blatant injustice?
penpusher
Jul. 8th, 2016 10:53 am (UTC)
If and when we have the discussion of race in America, and I do mean if because it's been postponed for over 50 years since the Civil Rights Act and over 150 years since the Emancipation Proclamation, the point of "injustice" is going to be a major one. After all, if you are at war with someone, what you do to them isn't "injustice." It's just... self-preservation or good sense or collateral damage or smart tactical maneuvers.

And that's what this is: a systematic war on black people.

This is why so many overlook, ignore, maybe even celebrate the deaths of our citizens. And it's that mindset that permits people to do it.

The other problem is the history: racists aren't born, they're made. So each generation was taught to hate, that people who are black are not to be trusted, are dangerous, are to be avoided at all costs. If you buy into those teachings, you aren't going to want to change because that means that everything you learned since you were a child was wrong and that your parents and grandparents were incorrect. Not many people are willing to just give up their beliefs because the laws had changed.

Is there an answer? Yes. Everyone needs to stop being racist. The problem is that not everyone even understands the word "racism." And if we can't even agree on a definition, we really have no hope of resolving any of this...
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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