You’re living in White supremacy. What will you do about it?
African American George Floyd’s slow death under the seemingly-knowing knee of Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin is a symbol of White supremacy’s death spell for both America and the freedom this country celebrates.
Note that I didn’t say “ … death spell for Black America.”
I said “America.”
What freedom for people of color?
A spell where there is no freedom. For African descendants, this spell elucidates what High-Priestess Nina Simone’s song about Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination and moaned that she will “[H]ave to die to know what freedom is.”
Black people live, but do not know true freedom.
Being Black, and more likely to experience bad and even deadly outcomes from police encounters than any other race, isn’t freedom.
Wondering what clothing to wear that will not trigger the police isn’t freedom.
Black people can’t be human around police officers without being set free by bullets.
Delivering packages as a Black UPS driver while either a gun is pointed at you, or a resident threatens to call the police, isn’t freedom.
Being a race of people more likely to live and remain in poverty for generations isn’t freedom.
Living in a recession for much of the past 100 years while White citizens enjoyed greater prosperity isn’t freedom.
Freedom is absent when Black maternal mortality is up up to three times that of White mothers.
Black infant mortality is twice that of White babies, representing a twisted spiritual ascension: they’ll see freedom without knowing what oppression is, save for the systemic racism that took them from this planet.
A left-leaning Pastor I know has always said people are of the devil when they do the devil’s work.
And earlier this week, a demon set George Floyd free.
White supremacy is demonic. Its deeds have destroyed the lives of many African Americans and other people of color for centuries.
But White supremacy needs enablers to remain alive for so long. This brings us to the next topic …
No freedom for White Americans either
What I say to all White people who can sit at their sofas and not be moved to a state of resolve and action after watching a high-definition slow murder of a Black father by a White police officer: White supremacy has you under its spell too.
Yes, it has. I’ve said it.
White people who proudly remind everyone of their support for President Barack Obama’s 2008 and 2012 campaigns as evidence of their support for African Americans — but can only manage an “Oh my God, how is the dog” response this week to African descendant Christian Cooper potentially becoming a police violence victim after Amy Cooper made her faux White-woman-in-distress call while choking her pet — White supremacy has succeeded with them as well.
If you can’t care about a Black, Brown or Red human being’s life, how can you fully care about anyone else?
Dare I bring up Colin Kaepernick right now. After some of you said that protests have no place in professional sports, did you examine the topic of Kaepernick’s focus: police violence? Did you immediately ask “How can I help” — off the football field?
White Supremacy’s got you too, if your answers are “No.”
White supremacy has conditioned too many of you to view the disrespect and lynching of melanated people as something that’s “Terrible”, but not your immediate problem.
Which means White supremacy has stolen your sense of humanity, regardless of how many people of color you’ve bragged about befriending or dating.
White supremacy has made you feel uncomfortable when an unknown Black man is in your presence.
It has helped you marginalize the people of color you have social interactions with.
It has helped you, now armed with a marginalization lens, to believe the television stereotypes that portray people of color as inferior beings.
It has taken away from you the loving principles that your religious books or other moral codes have outlined for you.
It has made you paranoid.
It has made you decide that the resume you were holding — based on the job candidate’s name — belongs to a Black woman, and no longer worth reading.
It has become your reasoning to ignore qualified Latino workers for promotions.
It has become your selection algorithm as a department store employee, where you choose to serve a White customer, instead of the Asian woman who had been waiting for service much longer.
It took away the sense of love that you could have taught your children.
Which only means White supremacy will be self-perpetuating.
Do any of these things sound like freedom to you?
Caring about only your fraction of humanity?
Worrying that the social advancement of other races will encroach upon your privilege?
Clutching your purse or wallet when a person of color shares an elevator with you because that’s what the media told you to do?
White supremacy is kickin’ your azz right now. You’ve let your prejudices make you fear, distrust and disengage from other human beings.
But you voted for your favorite Black politician in some year, in the past.
How are any of those things freedom? Not one part of this experience can ultimately feel good to you.
But if you’re White and feel any sense of glee over the death of another human being, everything I just wrote isn’t for you.
The only other cure to the lack of freedom …
… is not whatever Pete Buttigieg said:
Watching oppressed people die on your phones will not help preserve anyone’s humanity.
Discussing change without definition only extends and normalizes the oppression and death of melanated people.
Only the elimination of White supremacy and an earnest policy agenda to create a more equitable society will help us see a new freedom.
What’s your cure?
song currently stuck in my head: “muito à vontade” – joão donato