Work To Do
Reconstruction did not end on a given day in 1877 as the history books, and Civil War “enthusiasts” have stated.
It’s important to recognize that true equity and dignity are still privileges that most black and brown people have yet to be able to cherish, despite it being their birthright.
Having elected a Black American as our president, while continuing to working toward successfully affecting public policy did not and does not address many issues beneath the surface, most notably each of our experiences and biases; our engrained perspectives, and experiences, as well as the beliefs — many passed along to us at a young age by our family.
Achieving this will require white people to acknowledge all of the above and respectfully point out one another’s blind spots, and be receptive to having their own areas for improvement pointed out. Achieving this will take the work of a nation.
White Supremacy, plain old racism, and entry-level bigotry are viruses that will require candor and confrontation, sometimes done politely and kindly, and sometimes not. We have had centuries of the well-intentioned, white, moderate, “middle-of-the-road,” and even “liberal” folk afraid or otherwise fail to speak up publicly and prominently to say “Enough of this.”
Within this failure, we’ll say that there are two cohorts or sides — the racists and those who know better. Both groups largely remain among themselves, avoiding the other.
Those who agree that there is a huge need for improving the experience of Black Americans, first and foremost among law enforcement, propagate their respective beliefs among themselves. They correctly criticize the beliefs and actions of racists and haters, while patting themselves on the back. Too rarely do they call out and throw a spotlight on those who use those words and take such actions. No, Twitter doesn’t count.
Those who are strongly against racism, bigotry, and White Nationalism spend far too much of their time tweeting to the choir instead of confronting and engaging those who demonstrate racism and hatred within their own circle — the workplace, their greater family, or in public. These are areas where each of us may have the power to influence, however slightly.
Interrupt that great-uncle at the barbecue who has been given a pass by everyone for years because he’s “from a different time.” Call him on his shit in front of everyone. Those friends from high school or college that you meet every so often for a drink? If they need to be politely (or otherwise) corrected, that is your role. Everyone needs to get with the fucking program. Tell them that this is a different time.
Work to do, white people.