I am presently audio reading a new book, "How Racism Takes Place," by George Lipsitz. This text should be required reading in each and every school and university in America.
While I enjoy learning more and more about racism in America, like other books on this subject, my blood tends to boil as I listen or read about it.
I am continually dismayed by the present acts of overt racism being perpetrated on black people through the lens of color blindness today. And of course, as I learn more and more about the system of racism in America (there are many, many books on the subject), I can honestly state that I am somewhat heartened by the number of sholarly white people who not only acknowledge its existence, but provide a myriad of facts to support their work. Yet these same facts appear to have no place for discussion and are still dismissed in the mainstream discourse. I am, therefore finding myself quickly becoming an activist-writer for equality for people of color. What better use of my Masters Degree in writing and what better method of delivery than the written word. So I write.
One of the things that I refuse to do is to help sustain America's "just the way it is" structure of racism. The fact that the very social infrastructure upon which we sit, the policies and systems that are in place today were not designed or developed to include people of color is not just the way it is, nor should it have ever been, nor should it remain the case. The Civil Rights Act, which had no real enforcement power to begin with, was diminished to uselessness by the time it was signed. That fact, and its continued erosion is one of the major reasons why no true equality exists. It is simply more profitable to continue the practices. But it is definitely NOT JUST THE WAY IT IS. NOT ANYMORE.
Mr. Lipsitz makes it very clear that people of color are not to blame for the system under which we have been relegated to live. Rather, the insideous nature of this new iteration of racism helps to perpetuate the constant denegration of the victims of this system. It makes me sad to think that I have, on occasion condemed our own people in the name of respectibility and acceptance by the oppressor (although I would probably not have thought I was doing so at the time).
Seemingly obvious facts like, "Black people didn't design the public school system in America" must be brought to bear, especially since we are blamed for the result of this very design to dumb us down. Moreover, facts like, "We did not design the ghetto," should be spoken of and written of more often, since we are blamed for the very conditions that have resulted over the years of systematic neglect by the very people who own the land upon which the ghettos rest. We know that we did not introduce drugs into our community, and although statistics prove that we are far less likely to use drugs than our white counterparts, we are statistically more likely to be swept into the criminal justice system for it. Crime by and among black people is no more or less dramatic than our white counterparts, however, again, we are statistically more likely to be swept into the criminal justice system for it, and displayed as the physical representation of crime itself. We are castigated for the way we have been/are relegated to being identified and are still being discriminated against in every aspect of American life.
We are considered not only pigment dark, but morally dark as well.
People of color know these things very well. We speak quietly about it among ourselves. But these facts need to be shouted out for the mainstream to hear and for ourselves to listen to.
Even though this so-called post racial, colorblind era has as its dictate not to mention any of these facts, I believe not writing and speaking about it helps to perpetuate it. Not introducing these facts, as obvious as they may appear in many cases into the mainstream discourse, allows the machine to crank up more and of the same ilk at our expense.
Start speaking up and out!
Read, "How Racism Takes Place," by George Lipsitz. #knowledgeispower #REQUIREDREADING