1: Embracing race will not erase the damage done.
Audre Lorde, she proclaimed conscious awareness, in that the heroes MLK Jr. and X were aware of false notions pertaining to how humans endure pain and suffering.
“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” (Lorde, 1982)
WHY do we fetishize “conquer and divide?” We always want to perpetuate problems from afar, and not assume responsibility for blatant ills? We masquerade our problems with edifices that are bound to be reactionary, proclamations that will rile up and not desensitize. Those who fail to seek nuance will simply take these publicized ideals, and manipulate them to a particular point, in that there is literally no semblance to the original thought. This is done, because the oppressors never stopped oppressing, and the oppressed never stopped being oppressed.
Have we as a society come a LONG way from the riots of the 1960s, the bashing of skulls and the blasting of brains in Chicago, New York, name any major city practically? You will hear the woefully optimistic say “yes,” whilst doing their very best impression of a Broadway actor, in that they too are concealing their inward concerns. The concerns? The world is regressing. The progress null and void. How could this happen?
“There are no new ideas, just new ways of giving those ideas we cherish breath and power in our own living.” (Lorde, 1982)
We have gotten too comfortable. We have collectively accepted that the racial tensions of the 1960s were the tipping point of such troubles, and that their apparent resolve put an end to the need for continual reformation. If it does not happen to US, then it does not happen AT ALL. No.
Surely, your problems may be vastly different from mine. I have NEVER been ostracized and pulverized, due to the color of my skin. I was never considered only 3/5 of a whole human. I was never told to “shut up and just dribble.” I was never given snarls and stairs walking through the halls of an elementary school, approaching the water fountain specifically marred “BLACKS.” I will NEVER be able to wholly conceptualize the mental, physical and emotional toll such debauchery has on a person, a race…members of the HUMAN race.
In spite of these distinctions, I am motivated to make a concrete change. No, not something on paper that sounds good, gets raucous applause for two minutes, and then is out of your memory the next day. Not some hack politician wanting to memorialize a loss (a MURDER), without even getting the victim’s name right. Not the supposed leader of the “free” world saying there are “very fine people” on both sides of the fight for eradicating white nationalism. This was, and STILL is, smoke and mirrors. Those in charge are experts in illusions…stand-ins for Doctor Strange. “Solutions” are proverbial slap on the wrist, for a disease that is systematic. Racism is a virus, but unlike COVID-19, there is no “Operation Warp Speed,” no Pfizer, no Moderna, no J&J at the helm, inoculating an ailing people in mere months and moments of temporary discomfort.
There is no vaccine for racism, the mechanics of loathing fellow human, based on purely physical identifiers, are engrained from generation to generation. Racism can only be combated with education, awareness, and introspection. Realization from within that something is dreadfully wrong, something continues to be dreadfully wrong, and injustice is boundless. In a “perfect” universe, justice would be commonplace, and no one would be vilified or killed based on their skin color. Stereotypes would not be consequential, as there would be no basis for such flawed generalizations. We would see color, but we would not SEE color.
For this, we need much more motivation to do the right thing, to scream at the top of our lungs when racism is afoot. It is true that many of afraid to speak out. Retaliation by the elites must not deter, but rather embolden us to keep pushing against the grain, no matter the consequences. There is resilience in levels never once dreamed of because of the “Great Equalizer” known as COVID-19. Lives upheld through no fault of their own, and yet, the spirit to keep on carrying on is fortified. That fury is necessary to silence the hate-filled, to thwart any and all plans for white supremacy in an apparently modernized society, and make sure our children’s children never have to bear witness to a segregated water fountain, or hear the words “I CAN’T BREATHE” uttered on their TV screens.
“We are powerful because we have survived, and that is what it is all about – survival and growth.” (Lorde, 1982)
Lorde left Earth, destined for the Heavenly gates, with a hypothesis: if we endure, we develop because endurance is recognition of a problem larger than ourselves. Such advocacy will not delete the transgressions of the past, and no one oppressed would ever want that to be the reality. Instead, as any proficient historian would convey, allow such atrocities to develop (and re-develop) the mantra of civil disobedience. March on for our brothers and sisters, the voices that can no longer enter the collective conversation, those taken from us before they had even began fighting. We the People (and no, not the white Anglo-Saxon property owners that the original Founders had deciphered in actuality) have the inherent power to keep racism in our crosshairs, and slow its spread. It is a realization easier said than accomplished, for sure, but alas, the alternative is plainly primitive.