No president will ever cure this country of its racism
That’s the job of white people.
White people like to believe racism began in November 2016. They believe we can fix it in the 2020 election. It’s as if racism is a pesky fly you can just shoo away. Never mind this country was founded on racism and the backs of black and brown people. How can one person solve generations of white supremacy, racism, and oppression? How can one person touch every household where white people are plotting and planning our demise?
A different president won’t solve this country’s racism. That duty falls to every white person because every white person either participates or benefits from white supremacy. Every white person, whether they believe it or not, plays a part in the racism permeating this country. It will take much more than any sitting president to fix it.
I’ve been trying to figure out how this narrative began. I still don’t know. What I have figured out is white people are again trying to alleviate their own burden by putting the responsibility to fix racism on a black person. It’s the same conversation we have over and over again when we try to explain how racism affects our lives and white people demand that we give them proof of our pain and show blood from our wounds.
Even when they see proof, they refuse to believe us. They must be tired of listening to us “complain” about racism. How many times have we heard white people speak these words? “I’ve never actually seen racism.” “Racism doesn’t exist.” “Racism is so much better than before.” When I hear that, my response is always the same: Like any virus, racism mutates to allow it to permeate every corner of our society. Racism has become systemic, widespread, and resistant to change. White people are responsible for that resistance to change.
Before any white liberals nod their head in agreement, I’m talking about you too. I’m not dividing white people by party. I’ve experienced too many progressive liberal whites who are just as racist as Trumpers. Now, not every white people actively plots violence against us. Many simply choose to exist, unwilling to step in and fight and refusing to raise their voices in protest. Even Dr. King understood the problem as he spoke about the white moderate in a 1959 speech:
I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.”
These are the same white people who call themselves Liberals or Democrats and in the same breath tell black people not to protest. They tell us not to kneel. They tell us we’re making racism worse by constantly talking about it. Even as racists tell us to go back where we came from, the majority of liberal white America remains on the sidelines.
White people can’t just claim they’re not racist. Until white people become actively anti-racist and march alongside us, speak up in the face of hatred, and put their bodies on the line, nothing will change. For centuries, black people have been terrorized in this country simply for being black. Like racism, that terrorism has evolved as we witness time and time again modern-day lynchings. Only now we see them in living color as black bodies are gunned down by police.
We also witness white people call the police on black people for walking down the street, for living our lives. In almost every video, the white person is simultaneously angry with this uppity Negro and happy they chose to teach him or her a lesson. They want to see us beaten into submission. They want to witness our pain and humiliation.
Again, the people calling the police on us aren’t just conservatives. They are white people from every background. This is the new version of Jim Crow. This is white people telling black people that we aren’t wanted here, but if we must stay here, we do so under their rules and under their thumb.
I know white people love being comfortable. They enjoy having their own way. They are accustomed to coming in first as we trail behind. This is America. This has always been America. But white people must burn that America to the ground for a better one to rise.
Why? Because the only way racism dies is if white people kill it.