By The Oracle
First off, before I say anything else, I need to admit that I’m white. I come from a long line of very pale people mixed with some very brown people. The pale people in my ancestry won, but then they outnumbered the brown people. (I am fond of both the white and brown sides. They made me what I am.) I can write all of this from the outside. I don’t have to live it. I am not actually threatened. I’m not afraid of the police. In my world, the police are dedicated servants of the public. In my world, I don’t have to worry that my skin color will cost me a job or education or house or any of the basic things I as a white person take for granted. I don’t have to live that life. Though I will say that because I’m female, total strangers have a huge interest on what goes on in my lady bits.
Because I’m going to say this, minorities in this country are not treated fairly. They never have been. And this is not to say that there have not been great strides in making things more equal. But the deck is stacked so that whites and especially white males come out on top. (If you don’t believe me, just look at our soon to be president.) America has a race problem, and you can’t ignore it. A justice department study just came out stating that Chicago police saw African Americans as “animals” and “subhumans.” We should all be appalled by this. African Americans for years had been telling us that in certain areas the police were shooting them on a regular basis.* Because that wasn’t our reality, we didn’t believe them. Then came the camera phones, and suddenly, we could see their reality. It wasn’t pretty.
Racism is pervasive, and it’s quiet. It loves it when people aren’t watching. It likes to hide in plain sight. It loves to be dismissed. It likes to distract people. And it likes to keep the races separated. The easiest way to end racism is let all of the races mingle and learn from each other. Racism thrives better when you see someone of a different race or color as the“other”. It also likes to tell you that those other races are a threat. It likes to tell you to be afraid. “They’re coming for you. They hate you. They want to make you less because of your color.” Frankly, most of it is nuts. But because racism keeps people separated, it’s hard to know what’s true.
African Americans and the people in charge of Black Lives Matter didn’t want other races to be treated worse. They just wanted to be treated like everyone else. They wanted to be included when people said “All Lives Matter”. The minorities in this country don’t want special treatment, but they do want to be treated as ordinary citizens. When a cop pulls them over for speeding, it should end in a ticket, not a trip to jail or a gun battle. If they do well in school, it should be celebrated, and they should go to college. They should be able to vote without any problems and issues. They should have the same rights, privileges, and opportunities as every other citizen of this country. White, black, brown, or even peach, pink…frankly, any color should be welcome. (We need more green Americans.) America is stronger when we work together. This country is great enough to share.
*Most police officers are fine, decent people who are doing a good job. They are really there to protect and serve, and they put their life on the line every day. But when it goes bad….it’s bad. Police officers aren’t exempt from the quiet racism found in the rest of society. Most organizations are addressing these things. I can only hope these conversations continue.