It was evident in 1865 when Racism enacted laws that governed freed slaves. These laws, called Black Codes arrested homeless and unemployed black people and fined them as vagrant. Because the vast majority could not afford to pay the fines, they either went to jail or were forced to “work off” the offense. As time went on, poor black men filled the prisons until the majority of criminals were black and most poor blacks were criminals.
In essence, racism created laws that made black men and criminality the same thing.
In the 1920s and 30’s, Racism dressed in white hoods, called black people “niggers” and found southern trees to bare its trophies. It burned down homes, churches, business, schools and killed little black girls and boys— leaving their broken bodies on the sides of river banks like trash.
In the 40’s and 50’s Racism evolved. It changed its name to discrimination and segregation, changed ours to “Colored” and was a bit more tolerant of our visionaries and white advocates who joined forces with us in the military, politics and social reform.
Racism pushed back on us when we dared to dream and march and demand equality. It publicly brutalized us with hoses and gases and dogs. But we persevered. Focused and unrelenting, our efforts enacted laws that gave us the rights to vote and learn and lift our heads in public and yes, even ride a bus. We demonstrated and prayed until our men became leaders and heroes and eventually martyrs for our causes.
Then Racism retreated. Wounded, but still alive, it laid low and reinvented itself. And while the black community, bent over and carrying 300 years of pain as if it didn’t exist, found pride in black power, black panthers, Shaft and afros, Racism became Racial Bias and we became Black.
Racial Bias is trendy and it sounds nicer. It’s subtle, institutionalized and on its surface, it’s even nonracial. Giving us reason to be newly suspect of our friends next door, it widens the racial divide; instigating accusation and promoting new fears. And instead of using southern trees, Bias decorates urban sidewalks with the bodies of black men and police stations with the hoodies of non-aggressives. It assigns our daughters to systemic living but boasts of its tolerance to interracial marriage, integrated schools, communities and church…all the time ignoring our liked-minded Caucasian friends and keeping true equality just beyond reach.
And like some ancient demigod, it works in mysterious ways … existing just beneath the surface of truth and infusing our conversations with so much passion that they’ve become unproductive.
It has created racial divides so vast they’re impassable. It has laid for itself a foundation so strong with micro aggressive laws, pointed fingers, behavioral slights, snubs and insults embedded so deep in our society, they’re unreachable.
But what if finally, we did something different?
What if we changed the game?
Who would we become if we accepted our differences and forgave the past… what if we took away its excuses?
Let’s do it!
Join me in a show of solidarity throughout the month of February, Black History month, by putting a green light on your front porch, in your window or on your steps; symbolizing healing, forgiveness and new beginnings for all people!!
Our position should be that our issues are not limited to one race of people because they are so big that they impact the quality of life for all people.
Share this blog. Spread the word…
Let’s shine a new light of hope across America!