It’s not a couple of bad apples.
I have been reading white folks speaking about the killing of black folks. I keep reading sentiments like; “what is happening in our country?”; “it is getting worse and worse…”; “we are losing our humanity as a country…”
There is a hope and a problem in these statements. The hope is that they indicate a growing awareness. The problem is that the awareness is myopic.
This is not something new in our country. This is a legacy of violence which makes up the very bones of America.
This is not getting worse. It has been like this for as long as America has existed.
This is not evidence of our humanity slipping away. America has been in short supply from its beginning.
Do you all really believe that Rodney King was the FIRST black man to be beaten by cops for no reason? He was not. It was simply the first time it got broadcast into our (white) living rooms with such ferocity. It was for many of us the first time we had to confront the possibility that something foul was afoot in our country. And the most recent killing of Philando Castile is not an indication of escalating violence. The only thing escalating is the access to video from eye witness vantage points. It is our awareness that is growing; not the violence.
I want my white brothers and sisters to be feeling the anger, heartbreak and outrage. We need to be feeling that shit so viscerally it becomes impossible to continue as we have before. Our complacency and denial of this inhumanity is what allows it to continue. It is the inhumanity which has guided our country for so long.
This is nothing new.
This is not fear from too many guns. This is racism.
This is not the militarization of law enforcement. This is racism.
This is not a response to crime. This is racism.
This is not a few bad apples. This is racism.
This violence is not new. The only thing new here is the technology used to perpetrate the killing of People of Color, and the technology used to witness the killing of People of Color.
My white brothers and sisters must come to terms with this. White supremacy is fueling this violence just as it fueled segregation, jim crow, manifest destiny, slavery, relocation, and the doctrine of discovery (to name just a few of our racist institutions). It is us, not them. It is our belief that we know better, do better, see better, work better, think better, talk better, dress better, believe better, act better, than everyone else who is not us.
Just because we are becoming aware of this problem does not mean it is new. Black folks have been screaming for us to pay attention to this for hundreds of years. White folks realizing that it really is happening is a good step, but don’t be naïve to believe that we are witnessing some kind of escalation.
White folks need to get a grip. Stop with the hand wringing and crying about lost innocence. Stop with the guilt. Stop with the justifications. Stop with the shocked cries for our “lost” humanity.
This has to be faced head on, with a belly full of disgust. We need to look at this for what it is and stop hiding behind our fragile sensibilities and feelings of hopelessness. It is way past time that white folks recognize what it means to be white. White supremacy is a myth that is killing people here and across the world. We are not losing our humanity; we need to begin to find it.