I apologize up front. I am not the person to write this. I admit to being white and somewhat privileged. While I went to public school, it was a high quality public school in a comfortable suburb. We had one token black family in my high school. Therefore, my opinions here are not from an experiential viewpoint but are from somewhere else.
I first learned about the stupidity of racism from my father. I will diary about that some other time. Right now, suffice it to say, he believed and I also agree that it was a vile and ridiculous way to look at people. It was also childish – on the order of kids in the back seat saying “He touched me” or “You got cooties.” He was, in his own way, fighting for equality way back into the 40s. It was a battle I believed we had won when we passed the civil rights laws – and these laws were a reason my dad honored Lyndon Johnson.
When I started in the workplace, there was one black director at my very large company. There was also one excellent black manager who kept being passed up for promotion and we all knew it was color. However, with the EEOC passing, and as it began to be implemented, we began seeing minorities in higher positions. Seeing a minority at work was no longer a rarity.
I rejoiced when we elected a black president not only because I believe in the man, but I believed that was the final hurdle. However, with his election, we have seen the reemergence of racism – or perhaps as a white woman of privilege and a woman fighting for my own equality I was blind.
First we have seen an attempt to strip the black person of the right to vote. We have not only seen it in the south, where changes in voting process are restricted by law, but in the north where there was not supposed to be a need for those restrictions. Then we have seen the stripping of the right to walk where one chooses, and to dress as one chooses if one is black. Trevor Martin was guilty of walking around while black. That was sufficient to make it ok to kill him. Now we see the city of Detroit being placed into bankruptcy. This was pursuant to new laws targeting cities having problems in Michigan, which happen to be the pockets where the population is black. Detroit is just the most recent of the takeovers of black communities throughout that state. In each case, the receivers have the right to do as they choose to the cities’ elected officials (so your vote doesn’t count, Mr. Black Man … we are taking over). They have the right to sell off the assets to pay back – oh, this is prime – they can sell the assets at fire sale prices to pay debts to the wealthy who hold the debt. The receiver gets paid fine sums for doing this. They cut back on education for the children who live there “to save money.” So essentially, they will turn these towns into shanty towns.
Of all the national evolution that has taken place in my lifetime, the way we had grown in how we treat minorities was the most important. It is all being rolled back. It is being rolled back to the 1870s. And it is worse than that. While officially there will be no slavery still, in practice there will. In the prewar south, it was illegal to educate slaves. Now it is “too expensive,” and the funding legislation has the same affect. While the laws don’t specify a race, they specify a location that is clearly targeting race. As a result, there will be no good paying jobs, so the people there will have to submit to working for a pittance. They will be financial slaves. And if the Stand your Ground crap is allowed to stay and spread, there will be a right to shoot any minority who a white person chooses to see as suspicious. I really am afraid that we will have fought the War Between the States in vain, and the deaths of all those who died will be wasted.
I am sorry if this diary is offensive to many of you, but it is how I am feeling right now. I am afraid that all the progress we have made since the founding of this country is being rolled back in a short decade. I just wonder if I am alone in feeling this way?