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Rationalizations: A Discussion About the Red S on a Black Chest


White people rationalize all sorts of reasons why there are more of us in jail, unemployed and not in the labor force at all. They rationalize for themselves the motivations they have decided are why Black people are being killed at the hands of police. To them, it is in our character to be what they have, for generations been taught about us: unable to live among them peacefully, unable to succeed. Many see us as savages, unable to help ourselves, wantonly killing ourselves for the sake of our savagery, of no account, lazy, and all of the synonyms inherent in the word, Black and in the term, minority. They discount and indeed dismiss for themselves the probability or to a larger degree, the slightest possibility, that their own history created an ideology of success and failure, of theirs and ours, of superiority and inferiority. Indeed, Race as color as well as Race as character are both used today to deny and apportion on the most limited amount of opportunity in every area of American culture.

Call it cognitive dissonance, unconscious bias, willful ignorance, or something else they rationalize for themselves as a way to reject reality, they see the world in the way they imagine it and not the way it essentially is, except for the part where they are supreme and justified and entitled.

But here is what they will never admit as long as the ideology exists, and as long as the system of Racism to support the ideology exists. The truth of the lie is always at the very least obfuscated and gaslit and at worst outright denied, but the truth is the truth is the truth. Therefore, much like the infected substances of infected tissue must be drawn out and cauterized, the infected substance of white supremacy must be drawn out and cauterized, before the wound in their humanity can heal.

Black people have had to, for generations, behave in ways that can be considered "superhuman," in order to be perceived as "simply" human by this white supremacist culture, which holds even the most mediocre among them superior over us for no apparent reason except Race as Color or Race as Character.

All one has to do is observe the areas where we are "allowed" to be "seen" as excelling, like sports. Even with the myriad of systemic barriers placed before us we excel, most times beyond any conceivable expectations of what humans are supposed to be capable of.


And we know, in all other areas where we are "performing," even at regular jobs to support our families, we have had to, and still must at all times, be at least twice as good as our white counterparts, or we can be summarily dismissed, while the most pedestrian white worker will not.

In fact, many of us regularly watch them promoted and paid double what we make. Hell, in my own experiences, participating in hiring and then training my own bosses over the years as well, has been the case.

I was talking with a young Black man recently who recalled a white person he worked with making $75,000 twenty years ago. He explained how twenty years later, he still doesn't make anything near that but is at the position equivalent of this man's boss, twenty years later. Think about that. His salary in twenty years still doesn't measure up to what the white guy made back then in the same position, even though he is in a comparatively higher position today than the guy he worked with 20 YEARS AGO.

And this is just the economic subjugation. We also deal with the law, policing and injustice components of systemic Racism among others, every day.

We see all of this all the time, we live all of this all the time, and it is exhausting on, and debilitating to, the mind. So just imagine the collective super humanity necessary for the endurance to wake up and live through the various atrocities living on the spectrum of white supremacist ideology each and every day.

It is so sad to think about how many any of us who started out as children thinking we could be ourselves only to discover we couldn't, tried to be super and got worn out.

It is disheartening knowing how so many of us gave up trying to be super knowing we couldn't and eventually succumbed to the savage status white supremacist culture branded on our brains.

And then there are those white people caught up in the lie, who still want to deny us the rights and privileges you enjoy. You make up excuses but the ugly truth is you want to do so because you need to believe you are justified by those among us, those you damaged generations of abuse and denial ago, and that is so twisted.

But don't think for a moment most of us who are still practicing super humanity are being super because we want or ever wanted "acceptance" from white people. We don't care about being accepted by our oppressors.

Don't flatter yourselves...

...when the reality is we shouldn't have to become super humans just because you insist we aren't human in the first place in order to pretend you are... human.

At what point is white America going to stop this ridiculous behavior against Black people for the sake of feeling "superior?"

How superior are you when you must use policies, covenants, laws, over policing, biases and hatred to ensure your continued "status."

How superior can you even be when you have to cheat to do it?

We are Black humans with the Red S on our chests still trying to survive in this inhuman world because those in charge lost their own humanity and tried to scrub ours out with their bleached history.

It is 400 years over the time to draw out the infected substance of white supremacy and Racism in humanity and cauterize the wound. It is past time to rationalize how to make it right.


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Copyright 2020 Cynthia Alease Smith, Ed.D.