The Politicization of Racism

 

It sure is satisfying. When we hear Trump say some stupid shit and know, just KNOW, how racist and messed up it is. Yup. That is a real moment.

Not that we agree with him. Of course not. How could we agree with that blustering fool, so full of himself that he can’t hear how ridiculous he sounds? Of course we don’t agree. What feels satisfying is being able to see and hear the racism. Because then we get that feeling of being one of the “good” ones.

We can stand and point across the aisle at everyone who is considering a vote for Trump and viscerally experience our moral superiority. As Michelle Obama said, “when they go low, we go high.” The high road has all the best views. We are elevated from the coarse masses of Trump supporters. We can look down and see how dumb, uneducated, simple, and flat out racist all those people are.

This is dangerous. We have to do better. And when I say “we,” I am talking to you progressives.

This is nothing new, of course. Very little is. Liberals have been accusing Conservatives of racism for a good while now. And Conservatives love to remind Liberals that Lincoln was a Republican. Each party likes to make the point that the OTHER party are the REAL racists. I am not going to explore those two perspectives, because to be honest, I DO feel that Republicans are way off base around racism. It just needs to be said that BOTH parties have a problem here.

We are all wrapped up in this racist society in one way or another. Calling for a ban on Muslim immigrants is certainly a manifestation of racism. But so too is our continued war on Black people through law enforcement. And I ask; how many Democrats are willing to abolish this racist institution? In many ways, both right and left come together in supporting police forces in our communities. They differ in the nuance of how that should happen, but agree that we “need” police. Even though, policing itself is a practice rooted in colonialism and slavery. We developed policing as a way to protect European settlers from “savages” and keep Black people in the bonds of slavery. This is what law enforcement was DESIGNED TO DO; protect white people.

When we politicize racism we are giving ourselves a pass. I am speaking about how Democrats, and to some extent Republicans, continue to frame the opposing party as the “racist” party. By doing this, we are putting ourselves in the role of the “not racist.” We are painting racism as a political ideology which is separate from the structures of our Republic. The danger of this is that we create a further separation between ourselves and the racism which is foundational to this nation.

Slavery was not an ideology. It was the basis of our nation’s economy. Jim Crow was not a political platform. It was a policy upheld by the Supreme Court. The war on drugs is not being fought by Republicans. It is encoded into the institution of law enforcement.

You may be a fervent Trump opponent. Good for you. Or maybe you are a Trump supporter. I hope you change your mind. But either way, have you taken the time to really understand what racism IS, and how it manifests in our country? It is not a question of if you vote red or blue. This choice in the ballot box is NOT an indication of how much you support or resist racism. You can’t vote yourself out of complicity. You can’t use the election to raise yourself above the racist underpinnings of this nation. And here is one more for the Dems reading this; voting for Obama doesn’t prove shit about your commitment to end racism.

We need to shake this thing at its foundation. There is no easy way out of this. You can’t just cast your vote in November and sit back satisfied that you have done your part to create a better world. The only way out is through.

It will take a bitter drink from the well of reality for this to ever end. It ISN’T bad cops; it’s law enforcement’s continued role in protecting white interests. It ISN’T bad politicians; it’s policy that refuses to acknowledge its roots in white supremacy. It ISN’T sociopathic CEOs; it’s an economic system built upon anti-blackness.

Racism is not defined through party affiliations. As we continue to paint Trump as representing a racist demographic in this country, we fail to recognize how racism is infused in the foundation of our nation. Just as voting for Obama does not prove you are not racist, so too voting for Clinton does not prove a thing.

This is an historic election for many reasons, not the least of which is a woman as a major party candidate. Another key aspect of this election is the potential for us white folks to once again stick our heads in the sand and ignore how racism is killing our citizens. The gains made by Black Lives Matter over the past couple of years are still a far cry from the changes that need to made. We face the danger, if Clinton is elected, of ignoring the path ahead shown to us by this movement. We can not be satisfied with denouncing Trump. We can not be satisfied with electing Clinton. We can not be satisfied until our history of slavery and genocide has been fully acknowledged, and racism is wiped from this land. This will take much more than a national election to accomplish.

Don’t be fooled into believing that racism is a question of Republican vs. Democrat. Dig deeper. The structures of our nation are saturated with blood. We need to wake up to this. And once woke, we need to work together, both Red and Blue, to make the changes needed.

 

Silverback Gringo

 

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