For people that genuinely want to invest in increasing their knowledge of systemic racism, the first step is learning; we’re operating in two Americas. I think most people understand the cultured difference in music, arts, fashion, food, and other creative mediums. I think the black experience without art to help communicate it, is filled with frustration and overthinking more than the constant state of madness and sadness. Because we’re operating by a set of rules that set us behind, those rules or regulations are a lie to black people telling them to do this or that they will obtain what they want. When you know you’re the scapegoat for all adverse situations that happen, you must maneuver cleverly. Anybody observing society can see it from jail sentences, the way we can protests, what’s in specific neighborhoods to school systems. The system isn’t made for us to win, and we know that. So, anyone wanting to understand systemic racism, especially a white ally, should unlearn what the system truly means and what it rewards. Taking a deep dive into systemic oppression or racism isn’t going to feel like taking a class in African-American studies but, more like participating in a Jane Elliot experiment if you’re a white ally.
The reason statues, monuments, and Confederate flags have been going down because they are reminders of the past. For the black citizens, those monuments were markers just as much as reminders. When you see them, you know how the people there feel about you. That’s when people realize it’s two Americas. The historical figures, symbols, phrases, and some of the institutions taught in school have roles in systemic oppression. Over time we have touched on Christoper Columbus, confederate flags, police (to some extent), and monuments dedicated to slave owners or people who don’t like some of our citizens now, but there are more symbols than those. The American Flag, not by itself, and the “American Dream” are two more. I didn’t know the American Flag represented anything profound, or people were attached to it until the Colin Kaepernick situation. Even the Karen joke, has tragic historical backing. The infamous Carolyn Bryant is the reason for the Emmett Till story.
Karens are the reason why black fathers and others in the community tell people to watch out for white women. Sometimes I think people genuinely don’t understand what we are talking about when say systemic. A system is in place to keep black people and other minorities at a disadvantage. It’s more than polices, its lawyers, prosecutors, neighborhoods, school systems. Shit, the NFL had to make the Rooney Rule. The Rooney rule and affirmative action prove a point that there were/are systems quietly doing that. My point is anyone wanting to dig deep into why black people have been mad is going to have to loosen their attachments on what America has preached to them.
My skepticism isn’t on people wanting to “know more,” but why is this the tipping point? You don’t have to be that old to have plenty of examples of racism going on in America. Why wasn’t Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner the tipping point or Rodney King, the bombing of 16th Street Baptist Church or I don’t know Dylann Roof? If something happens repeatedly but a person never notices or seems to care, then what makes a specific moment a turning point? It’s understandable to want the knowledge to help in a more nuanced way, but if this is a human rights issue, than shouldn’t people trying to be better people the simple answer. It’s a complicated issue but in some ways a basic one too. How much does a person need to know about someone’s history of pain before at least giving a hand?
This isn’t secret knowledge held by the wokest of black people, sure, it’s not taught but, there have been books, documentaries, and much more made available throughout time. Or hear me out, people could listen to what black people were telling them or connected the dots. From slavery to Jim crow to the civil rights movement but no lingering effects, no institutions that would find a way to keep us unequal…okay. If a black person says something or someone is racist, it’s like when women say someone is a creep. We have to notice that for our safety. We are not saying that we’ll always be right, but do your due diligence. Maybe, it’s just me. It’s not wrong to want to know more, but it is unwelcomed to play dumb.