November 8, 2016 was the day I stopped being American. This was the day I saw the American Flag and didn’t see red or white stripes, I saw stripes of white flesh meat exposed while long blood trails of red fell in between. My stomach churned and I threw up feeling like every thing I’ve ever been taught was a lie. I haven’t felt that way often so the last time I remembered feeling this was the day I found out Santa Clause wasn’t real. The time before that was the first time I saw my moms first husband strike her across the face when she denied a request of his. And that’s how I felt, that I had been slapped in the face.
I think the worst part about it all was the fact that many of my white american ‘friends’ said things like ‘stop being cry babies’, ‘its just an election’, or ‘If you’re a REAL christian you’d vote for Trump’….I’m sorry, what?! My 2016 resolution was to stay out of social media drama which prevented me from tearing into them verbally. Since the end of the election there’s been an increase in conversations around ‘race relations’ in the news, at work, on the street, etc. Everyone thinks they are on the ‘right side’ of the issue because of a list of made up qualifications they created.
“But the one thing that I have YET to see in all this race talk is a solution.”
I’ve seen the news stations report about what the alt-right white supremacists have to say about the election and the current race relations. They interview Black Lives Matter Activists, and tell us what they think about race relations and the election. They even report how the people in the middle feel. The ones that aren’t leaning to any particular side or don’t normally voice their opinions because they don’t want to stir the pot. It got me asking myself how do we fix this? Most of us can acknowledge that racism is wrong and still exists. But how do we get rid of it? Wait for the ‘last’ racist to die off in the next couple of years? Racism can’t survive when there’s no racist, right? What about the children these racist raised? What happens to them?
Well, friends I’m glad you asked your pal Janae, because as usual she has ALL the right answers….
Did you laugh too?
Perfect, you passed my first test, you have a sense of humor. Look, folks I would never be ignorant enough to claim to know all the answers to racism and how to solve it. But I do know facts. Here are two racism facts I’ve chosen to focus on for today…
1. We live in a country where it is perfectly legal to be a racist (This is the same country that made it illegal to be a Nazi) So basically, in the United States of America, you can hate black people but you cannot hate Jews. A white man can go out on the street and yell “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE!” and nothing happens. The same white man can go out on the same street and yell “I HATE JEWS!” and I’m pretty sure a dark windowless utility van would appear out of nowhere and whisk the gentleman away never to be heard from again.
2. 40 acres & a mule was promised to blacks during the Lincoln administration but before it could be carried out, his successor, Andrew Johnson (a racist and confederate supporter) overturned the order and returned the promised land back to the same people who declared war on the United States (so yes, we do make deals with terrorists)
Why was racism, sexism, and white privilege a big part of this election?
In the 50 something years since Jim Crow was abolished, we have been fed the lie that racism is over because now everyone can eat at the same restaurant. But I guarantee you that the black people who did sit ins at white diners were not doing so because they were serving Chick-fil-a quality chicken at said diner. In fact, I’m sure some of those diners were probably serving toddler play-doh quality chicken at best. But, I digress…
Since Jim Crow we have been taught that we have to get along but not how to do that. Look at movies like ‘Remember the Titans’. The whole plot of the movie surrounds the idea that Denzel Washington’s character teaches the high school boys how similar they are. Literally, the whole movie is Denzel going “Hey, you like football they like football. You like winning, they like winning. Nobody is allowed to leave sooo uh, how yall gonna act?” Mind blown right? NO!
Being that I’m born and raised in the same state that movie was based on I inherently have watched and loved that movie since its conception but where the movie fails is WHAT HAPPENS AFTER FOOTBALL? How do I relate to someone of a different culture or color when he likes football and I like soccer?
So what tends to happen in REAL life is white people don’t know how to approach, relate to, or talk to a person of color that doesn’t appear to have something in common with them. So they either reject what they do not understand or they copy it out of flattery. BOTH are wrong! No one wants to be feel like they are not good enough or be mocked.
Now black people, yall ain’t innocent either! And while it is impossible for black people to be racist (that’s a separate post for another time), we don’t do a great job of letting our guard down and putting in effort to include and educate. What we tend to do is accept the rejection in a passive or overly aggressive way which perpetuates stereotypes (also another subject for another post). BOTH are wrong!
In my opinion, what should have followed the end of Jim Crow is a period of education. Learning about each other, how we view the world how what happened shaped each of us and our ideals, morals, and values both consciously and subconsciously. Instead what ACTUALLY followed The Civil Rights Movement was what I call The Kentucky Derby Period. All of us, black, white, ugly, old, young, dumb, smart put on our favorite pair of blinders, stood in a starting gate with unequal starting points, and ran as fast as we could. Some of us tried to look over at our neighbor and got distracted by how much better their situation seemed, some kept their heads straight ahead and tripped over the gravel, some of us ran with all our might just to find out we were moving as fast as a snail. In short, we all look dumb!
Our country is in need of a renaissance. We all (yes white people too) need a refreshing wind to blow in and overtake us all to a place of listening and understanding that can encourage healing. That’s why this election was so painful. Some of us felt the rug taken from under us. We have been told all men are created equally, Presidents act a certain way and that if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it. We watched our family, friends, coworkers and church leaders (yes, I said it) overlook a ‘little’ bit of hate that didn’t personally effect them in exchange for something that looked different. The Bible specifically talks about loving your neighbor just as much as you love yourself. God never said just the neighbors that look like you, talk like you, or live in your geographic location. I know one thing, I LOVE me some Janaenicole and I would NEVER make fun of, build a wall around, slut shame, refer to myself as a rapist or thief. So how I call my neighbor that? I make mistake daily but I would like to think that my fellow Christ followers if I make a mistake stealing that they won’t label me as a thief. Or that because I come from a neighborhood that may be known for drugs they won’y view me as drug dealer/user. (Let’s be real if I’m making good money running a drug scandal why would I go to uncharted and stricter territory to get caught and punished more severely?)
This was more than an election. This was a wake up call for change. This was God ripping off the bandage of hate that we put over the bullet hole of the sad history of the start of this Nation. When are we going to allow the wound to heal properly?
k, good talk