Like most of you I have watched the killing of George Floyd and the protests and rioting that have followed and continue even today. I also watched a recommended documentary titled “13th” on Netflix. This documentary was very eye opening as it relates to policies enacted subsequent to the abolishment of slavery.
If you ask most white Americans if they are racist, they will reply with an enthusiastic “No.” But, in reality, by remaining silent over injustice, we may be racist in some way. I had no idea when certain laws were being enacted, such as ‘stop and frisk’, ‘three strikes’, they were directed at the black and brown communities. By continuing to oppress certain communities this affects voting and voting affects where services truly go. Recently I saw an interview with Kamala Harris in which she describes the difference between a police force in the suburbs and the inner city and/or predominantly minority neighborhoods. In suburbs the population has access to good healthcare (both physical and mental), good schools and essential services. Because the communities are healthy the need for larger police forces are unnecessary. There is hope and opportunity and therefore less need for crime to survive. As a white voter I have not paid attention to what my vote may be doing to these neighborhoods. As Americans we say we care about all of our citizens, but do we?
I think what we are seeing in our country right now has been building for years. If you are white and reading this, ask yourself when you were pulled over for a traffic violation were you asked to exit the car and handcuffed? If you are a black male in this country in a good amount of cases the answer is yes. I have watched confederate statues being removed and the growing disdain over the use of the confederate flag. A lot of my friends feel removal is not right because it is part of our history. My question is why are we celebrating a part of our history that was such a divisive and hurtful time for our nation and celebrating the side of oppression of an entire race of people in this country? If you live in Germany it is against the law to display a swastika because it is a sign of hate and division. Most Americans would totally agree with that decision. Our confederate celebration is the American symbol of oppression.
What I have discovered within myself is it is not enough to say you are not racist; you must speak up when you hear it from another or see it in action. By being silent you are allowing it to exist in your world. I will speak out and I will think carefully and prayerfully when voting regarding the ethics and morals of the leaders I want to represent me. The moral compass in our democracy in Washington is broken and needs a course correction. I want to be part of the positive change in our nation. Won’t you join me?