Sunday, April 19, 2015

We're All The Same

You know I'm feeling better when I can get my mind fired up on social issues instead of dealing with drama. I was reading an article and thread, what I like to call the reader's comments, on a new database tracing the number, ethnicity, and relevant details like "armed" or "unarmed" when I realized I was becoming  engaged again. I felt fire burning in my chest and a sense of righteous indignation on the behalf of my fellow men who are being gunned down in cold blood under the guise of the law. 

I wondered why I was the type of person who tried to look at the issue of racism in America from the perspective of the real black people who had to deal with that bullshit every day of their lives and didn't have the same laissez-faire attitude of so many white people.

I don't have any black friends and I don't really know many but I do know I would never want to look down on someone because of the color of their skin no more than I'd want to mistreat a handicapped child or kick a dog.

When I was young the movie Gone With The Wind came out to a new audience. I remember getting Civil War "money" in oatmeal boxes. On the back was a discount pass for the movie. I thought it was so neat that we came from the south. I had no idea of the deeper meaning of history. The only knowledge I had was from old movies like The Little Colonel with Shirley Temple and Bill "Bojangles" Robinson. And that, my friend, was the first interracial dance scene filmed in America. Shirley Temple, Bojangles Robinson

Sometimes I wondered what it would have been like if the south had won the war. Would I be a privileged white child, or maybe a poor white child who felt inferior and was glad to be one rung higher up than the black people around me. 

I think of the theme in To Kill A Mockingbird where a whole town was turned upside down because of the accusations of rape by a poor white woman about a poor black man who wasn't believed. Atticus Finch was the lawyer who was trying to save the poor black man's life. It was a powerful movie showcasing racism in the south.

Finally, I read Uncle Tom's Cabin.

Over the years I began to think about how awful it would be to "belong" to someone like an old dog and have to "obey" their commands. My natural reluctant nature caused me to realize I couldn't do it. I could not live in slavery. I certainly wouldn't want to be kidnapped and shipped to America in the bottom of a rocking, stinking, dark, dank ship. I can understand why so many people died before they ever reached the islands or America. I couldn't have made it. 

Being on the internet and having access to information at the drop of a hat I'm liable to stagger over some interesting articles which spark my imagination and make me believe we deserve social justice for all. We can't erase the past's history, that is, unless you're a Texas school board writing the books many schools and institutions print for this country's school systems. But that's a lie and another matter for another time. 

There has been a steadfast blood lust for unarmed black men and boys over the past several years that have been caught on film, thanks to the inter-tubes as former Alaskan Senator Ted Stevens called it. We've been inundated with videos of cops killing black men and vigilantes like George Zimmerman who killed Trayvon Martin as he was walking in a quiet gated community. It has made the nation aware.

I am amazed when I read comments about any black shooting or any reference to any death when someone tells people to quit whining and get over it. How the hell do you get over something, especially if you are black or your children are black. Every day of their life they have to live with the knowledge that someone, somewhere might kill them for no fault of their own except for the color of their skin. We should be ashamed to live in a society like that.

I don't get that. I really don't. I guess I live from the white point of perspective where I have always had certain rights that I never noticed other people were denied. There are more obstacles for women than men and we still don't have equal rights in the constitution but I think poor black ladies are doubly burdened. 

I guess I have white privilege because I'm not afraid to speak up when I think I'm being undermined but that doesn't mean my opinion means squat most times. I just feel I have the right to speak up. I wonder how many black people have to bite their tongues to keep from speaking their mind, especially when they are around a group of caucasians.

If you'd like to read the article and see the data the young man wrote, you can find it here. Data on Death

Social injustice and inequality are still as relevant today as they were in the past. We have to remain ever vigilant and not fall for crap like "affirmative action is no longer needed." Yeah, right. By whom, might I ask?


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