Trump cannot change who you are, but he sure can highlight what lies within. In that respect, I want to give Donald Trump a big thank you for the Trump Effect. He has encouraged many white people to not hide behind the silence of only their thoughts. But hear this.
I love living in the South. A white friend once asked me why don’t I move to West (California, Oregon, Washington) or the NorthEast. “I do not know how you can stand all the racism down there,” he said.
I told him what I loved about the South is you always kind of knew where you stood. Everyone was polite those who did not want you in their lanes did so subtly if with a certain degree of deniability. But let’s not make believe that there is much difference within the peoples’ hearts. I am followed around in stores whether in Seattle or Houston just for my hue. Nor should we forget the Boston busing desegregation riots. And of course, police officers murdering or mistreating innocent People of Color (PoC) is not relegated to the South.
It is getting tiring. However, day in and day out to watch not only adults but kids stressed and harassed for who they are. The viral video of the white woman calling the cops on a young girl selling water to raise money for a trip shows the catch-22 many PoCs are in all of the times. They stereotype many PoCs as dependent yet at a young age when a young black girl gets entrepreneurial; she must face the police? I watch young white children set up lemonade and cake stands in my neighborhood as they do in communities throughout America. The thought has never crossed my mind to call the cops or health department to ask if they had a permit or food license. What within one’s core, within one’s inner being, what kind of intrinsic hate for someone of another hue leads one to do that?
What makes one harass and call the cops on a black family barbecuing on a beautiful day in the park? What makes one call the police on a black man moving into his apartment lyingly accusing him of having a gun? What makes a jury deadlock on the murder of a Latino man from an overzealous private citizen?
A black firefighter conducting city-mandated inspections around homes in the Oakland hills was reported to police and, on a separate occasion, questioned and videotaped by a resident who found him suspicious, even though he was in full uniform with his fire truck parked nearby. Several Oakland firefighters say the incidents raise concerns about safety and racial bias.
What gives? Many take comfort in their racist profiling on FBI statistics that seems to give a picture of who is more prone to commit crimes. I might remind people that if the source of the data is racist so are the resulting statistics. White kids in my neighborhood are not arrested for drug crimes and other crimes in the same proportions as the PoC part of town. How do you think that affect the stats?
Some use Black on Black crime or PoC on PoC crime as justification for their bias or profiling. Guess what, intra-racial or intra-ethnic crimes are statistically similar. Your impressions are wrong. If impressions really mattered, PoCs should be terrified of white people. After all, not only do they know the violence of the past that they inflicted on their bodies and mind, but even with liberation, the mental terrorism and sometimes physical terrorism is still present. But we know how to compartmentalize. We do not paint with one brush as much as is used to paint us.
The reality is that these are not a PoC problem. This is a disease that has always been there festering. We were slowly curing it but Trump with the help of many has caused it to explode. PoC’s cannot solve it. It will take moral white people to do so. Rest assured all of us PoCs who you work with, generally on a Progressive agenda, know one thing, if you do not actively fight this problem in your spheres of influence, where much is said and done that many of us PoCs are not privy to, but where change can occur, your silence makes you complicit.