White People, Resist the Ice Cream Temptation, This is about Ending the Death Culture of Racism
White people, we must resist the urge to see police giving out ice cream cones, holding BBQ parties, and playing basketball in Black communities, as a sign of progress.
We are not facing a crisis of Black communities distrusting police. We are facing an epidemic of law enforcement treating Black communities as hostile, occupied nations that need to be subjugated, put in place within structural inequality, and forever know that regardless if the violence is recorded, is all over the media, if Black people rise up in the millions, WHITE SOCIETY, ruling power, does not care.
White people we must resist the temptation, rooted in our socialization to play our various roles within white supremacy, to let “good PR” replace equal protection under the law, to let a scared Black kid hugging a white cop, replace the demand for law enforcement to stop killing Black people, to let ice cream in Summer to distract from the demand for justice in America.
What we need is hundreds and then thousands of people, throughout the criminal justice system, to make public apologies to the Black community and help further expose the enduring reality of structural racism, to make public commitments to no longer be part of this sick, life stealing, soul crushing, racist, business as usual. For law enforcement and local governments to commit themselves to working for policy changes outlined in the recent released “Vision for Black Lives”, policy changes developed and supported by over 50 organizations in the Movement for Black Lives.
What we need is white people rising up every time a Black person is murdered by the police, and saying NO MORE. Not white people saying, well, we still need to hear the whole (i.e. the police) story. White people, the whole story begins with Africans kidnapped in Africa, it’s the middle passage, it’s hundreds of years of the slave society that created this nation, it’s Jim Crow apartheid, it’s the New Crow of unequal drug laws and mass incarceration, mass voter disenfranchisement, mass policing that isn’t intended to serve, but to enforce subjugation. This is the story these murders take place in, this is the story that ice cream, BBQ parties and pickup basketball take place in.
Yes to BBQ, ice cream and basketball, after the announcement from those in power of the latest policy change, and plan for implementation. Yes to trust and community building, but on the path that acknowledges structural racism, that affirms we must work for Black Lives Matter, and acts for racial justice and implementation of the “Vision for Black Lives”.
I ain’t here to celebrate Bull Connor’s police giving out ice cream the weekend after unleashing the water cannons and dogs on Black youth. I’m here for a Black-led people’s movement that brings down the nightmare of structural racism and inequality and renews the dream of racial, social, gender, disability, economic, and environmental justice.
And I ain’t here to be told as long as I keep being a Good German and stay silent, so I can try to get mine for me and my kids, even as it hollows out my soul, robs my values of meaning, and turns my capacity to love into an engine of resentment and hate towards people of color, as I lay down my humanity to put on the Brown Shirt of everyday racism, everyday racism that teaches white people that they/we know better about what Black people need and that their/our comfort is more important than Black peoples safety.
We who are white are trained to pull the trigger and do everything we can to rationalize, justify, mystify, and erase what actually happened. We must reject the ways we have been trained to sincerely believe we are the Good White People, while being the apologists of the death culture.
Time to rise, time to get behind the “Vision for Black Lives” and time to all get free!
Chris Crass is the author of the new book Towards the “Other America”: Anti-Racist Resources for White People Taking Action for Black Lives Matter. He writes and speaks widely on anti-racist organizing, feminism for men, strategies to build visionary movements, and creating healthy culture and leadership for progressive activism. He was a founder of the anti-racist movement building center, the Catalyst Project, and helped launch the national white anti-racist network, SURJ (Showing Up For Racial Justice). Rooted in his Unitarian Universalist faith he works with congregations, seminaries, and religious and spiritual leaders to build up the Spiritual Left. He is also the author of Towards Collective Liberation: anti-racist organizing, feminist praxis, and movement building strategy. He lives in Louisville, KY with his partner and their two sons. You can learn more about his work at www.chriscrass.org.