This must also be said. This is what happens when one group of Americans are taught generationally to believe they are the sole, true owners of a country their ancestors seized from the indigenous and reaped via the blood and toil of others they never viewed as fully human.
— Joy WE VOTED!! WEAR A MASK!! Reid ?) (@JoyAnnReid) January 6, 2021
*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal views of the authors, and can not possibly reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.
“Peace cannot be kept by force; it can only be achieved by understanding.” ~ Albert Einstein
Our democracy cannot depend on the peaceful among us; we must depend on law enforcement to enforce the law, equally—as Black Lives Matter protesters have requested for years.
Last Wednesday’s travesty of police failure is exactly the issue that caused my total outrage all week.
It cannot be said enough: had those been Black Lives Matter protestors or just Black folks in general, the Capitol would be awash in bloodstains that could never be removed.
Definition of reckoning (per Merriam-Webster)
2 : A settling of accounts
Let’s talk about this day of reckoning.
White supremacy is something most white folks don’t talk about and all people of color are aware of. When we speak of white supremacy, we know all people who believe in this philosophy are not carrying or flying confederate flags or calling Black folk the N-word. That doesn’t make them less responsible than those who do. It just makes them fundamentally dishonest and untrustworthy.
The mistrust of police by Black folks is based on knowledge and history of white supremacy. Police officers, or “Officers of the Peace,” were originally sent after runaway slaves. You can draw a straight line from the 1800s to today, when officers are charged with locking up as many Black and brown people as possible to feed the prison industrial complex. But I digress.
I felt the need to include all of this to explain that what happened Wednesday was allowed to happen and would never have occurred with any protestors of the Black Lives Matter movement. The reason why some cops feel it is okay to beat, tear gas, and arrest BLM protestors is because white folks ought to know better and stay in their lane of privilege, and Black folks are still considered property, albeit without the shackles.
While Trump certainly tapped into the anger and hate in this country, he also unleashed the Black-lash for electing Barack Obama—twice. And for the past four-plus years, many white folks have said, and still say:
“All Trump supporters are not racists.”
“All Trump supporters are not white supremacists.”
If you feel it is okay to support a racist, you are responding to the racism within your soul.
The abomination known as Trump has always been racist. Always. He began his presidential run when he accused Obama of not being American because he is Black. Make no mistake, blackness was the sole cause of his angst. Republicans did everything they could to stop Obama’s agenda, not because he’s Democrat, but because he is Black. Republicans are known as the anti-Black party. Even today, they are trying to equate BLM protests with an actual insurrection.
So, protesting against police brutality is the same as attempting to overthrow the government?
There cannot and will not be any unity without a reckoning. That reckoning must include the policing of white people by white people. You are the only ones who can defeat white supremacy—these are your kinfolk. Accept responsibility and act accordingly.
It is time for white people to have those hard conversations. It is not the job or responsibility of Black, brown, Muslim, or Jewish people to police the hate and contempt of law demonstrated on Wednesday, January 6, 2021. It was obvious that, in spite of breaking numerous laws, the insurrectionists had no fear—no fear—of the police presence.
Have you asked yourselves why not?
For the same reason cops will step over dead bodies to safely arrest a white suspect and kill an unarmed Black person for whatever reason they make up in the moment: the color of their skin.
I am not saying you, specifically, are responsible. What I am saying is change must come from within—in this case, from within white society. If you are not willing to change your people, then unity will never happen. Too much innocent blood has been shed, and too many lives have been lost to let this important moment pass without an attempt to make everyone’s life better, safer, and more equal.
Which leads me to the second part of my outrage. Once again, people of color saved this country from itself. First by helping elect Joe Biden with the largest voter turnout in history, and then by doubling down on that turnout in the Georgia Senate runoff election, resulting in the election of their first Black senator (Rev. Raphael Warnock), and the second-youngest and first Jewish senator (Jon Ossoff)—from Georgia, of all places.
If Georgia can stay blue, it is on the short list of places to move to. It’s beautiful, but the everyday, casual reminders of slavery are mentally, emotionally, and spiritually difficult for me to handle.
I feel much lighter now than I have all week. I believe change is gonna happen. But what side of change are you going to be on? The side that passively waits for “someone else” to do the hard work, or the side willing to do the work their damn self?
Inquiring minds want to know.
Read 14 comments and reply