We’re Sick of Racism

On November 6th, I published a post encouraging readers to suggest topics for my blog. Through this and other mediums, the most common request I received was for more posts about cultural differences, race-relations, and my experiences as a West Indian in America.

So, when I came across the trending topic “We’re So Sick of Racism” on Twitter, and the racist filth that sprang from it, I knew there was a post in the making. Here’s what happened — and why it’s important to consider what it means, and what we can do about it.

The Liberal Cause

On November 12th, “We’re sick of racism” made it to my trending topics feed. Apparently, liberals first started the topic to discuss the whirlwind of racism storming through America, which has successfully attacked one ethnicity after another.

From “terrorists versus the mentally ill” in the news, to building walls, to police brutality, to imprisonment, to the war on drugs — race plays a large role in American life, especially for minorities.

With this in mind, one liberal tweeted:

Another pointed out:

And yet another recently re-shared:

What I noted while reading through most of the comments from liberals is that they were focused on the topic of race-relations. Very few, if any, called out conservatives or referred in any way to a political party.

It wasn’t even a hashtag. It was the phrase that had begun to trend, which implies it began purely by coincidence.

But it would not last.

Conservative Propaganda

Once the conservatives got on-board, the conversation completely changed. It was no longer about discussing racial tensions in America. The conversation focused on:

  • Pointing fingers at political members of the democratic party
  • Calling Obama racist, and blaming him for racism in America
  • Belittling liberals
  • Reminding African-Americans that the republicans freed the slaves and granted civil rights
  • Discrediting that any racism exists in America; labelling it a liberal agenda
  • Putting forward that Whites are the ones facing racism every day, pushing the hashtag: #ItsOkayToBeWhite

https://twitter.com/AFausnett/status/929699471914565632

https://twitter.com/ItIsOkay2BWhite/status/929728668468903936

By the time they were done — even if you check the trending topic now — there were hardly any liberals tweeting about racism, but plenty of conservatives spreading their own political agenda. In short, they turned a trending topic about racial tensions into republican propaganda.

Who Freed the Slaves?

Of everything they said, I found the bit about freeing the slaves the most intriguing. Is it not an obvious regret of the republican party? I have never seen a liberal waving a confederate flag. Have you?

To boot, the Confederate South, who fought to keep slavery, now votes overwhelmingly republican. Meanwhile, The Union in the north and west of the United States, who fought to end slavery, now votes overwhelmingly Democrat.

When rational people vote, they don’t vote for a name. They vote for ideology. There was a time when the liberals identified with the republican party, and the conservatives voted democrat.

Those days are long gone.

Conservatives claiming credit for what liberals originally accomplished under the republican name is like giving Columbus credit for discovering the Americas. The Natives, the Muslim Africans, and then the Vikingswere here hundreds of years before he was even born.

Race? Where??

Back on Twitter, what I found most interesting (and worrying) was how very low race and race relations fell on the conservative list of priorities, in a country that is very obviously racially segregated.

For some, I suppose it’s easier to forget, or sweep under the rug, that racial segregation mandated by law, was alive and well in the U.S. all the way until 1964. It’s not some distant horror, the way it’s often painted. To better put that into perspective, anyone over the age of 53 today, was alive during Jim Crow Laws.

So are there really Americans who believe that one generation later, racism is magically cured? That a political system set up from the very beginning to subjugate non-Whites — from stealing land from the Native Americans, to putting Japanese in internment camps, to enslaving Blacks — just automatically rights itself?

Drawing Parallels

Does a country that has cured racism have what is steadily becoming regular Neo-Nazi marches, with no repercussions?

The Nazi could never show its face in 2017 Germany and live to tell the tale. But in America, Neo-Nazis are very fine people. And since they’re exercising their constitutional right, mayors can only look into their legal options from the safety of Twitter.

After the racist marches that rocked Charlottesville, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, did not fail to draw her line in the sand and pick a side; namely, the left. “It is racist, far-right violence, and clear, forceful action must be taken against it, regardless of where in the world it happens,” she said.

Political writer, Sarah Wildman, further commented on the incidents, noting a parallel in how Germans deal with an ideology that originated in their country, and how Americans deal with its offspring:

She might have added that such a thing wouldn’t have happened in today’s Germany — because it’s illegal.

While America protects the right of neo-Nazis, white supremacists, the Ku Klux Klan, and other hate groups… Germany has strict laws banning Nazi symbols and what’s called Volksverhetzung — incitement of the people, or hate speech. Like more than a dozen European countries, Germany also has a law criminalizing Holocaust denial.

And while Confederate statues can be found in many American cities south of the Mason-Dixon Line, there are no statues of Adolf Hitler or Joseph Goebbels gracing public squares in Berlin, let alone Nazi flags or other Nazi art. 

How’s that for perspective?

The Danger of Group-think

The more I thought about those tweets, the news, the marches… the more I realised that these were all great reminders of what happens when a culture treats race, religion, and politics as taboo and impolite topics. This tends to create a situation where people are only comfortable discussing real issues with those they are sure will agree with them.

If more people stepped outside their bubble, and truly tried to understand other narratives and perspectives from varying backgrounds, inside and outside of the United States, we would make leaps and bounds towards the cure of the “us versus them mentality” that runs rampant in the States.

Instead, people smile and talk about the weather. Never deserting the superficial words, until they can whip out their smartphones to air their demons online, march through Charlottesville, or just casually mow down a few people with cars.

Group-thinking is a dangerous habit to develop, and shying away from conversations about real issues affecting everyone (for better, or worse!) is an excellent way to get it.

Liberals are not immune to this either. I’ve had a few run-ins with racially and culturally ignorant liberals living in Luminescent-White-Bubbles, though they are usually well-meaning.

Disagree Peacefully

What gives me a sense of hope, however, is the community I like to think I share with my readers, on my blog. This has been one of those safe havens, where people have been free to ask questions, no matter how sensitive, and receive honest answers in response.

What gives me even more hope is that of all the people who clamoured for more cultural and racial posts on my blog, almost every last one was White. It’s a good reminder that many people do want to better understand. All they need are the right opportunities to do so.

That said, the fact that so many more people are not asking the right questions, or asking any questions at all, still remains. And November 12th on Twitter was a perfect example of that.

The fact that a trending topic entitled “We’re Sick of Racism” became overrun with conservatives making light of racism and fun of liberals, says a lot about their priorities, and what side of the fence they stand on.

If you’re a conservative, and reading this and nodding, and thinking, “But I’m not like that. I actually agree with you,” the fact remains that you hold ranks with a group that gives a pass to racism, even when it does not condone it, by not taking a stand.

As my grandmother often told me as a child, growing up in Jamaica:

Show me your friends, and I’ll tell you who you are.

And in the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr.

The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. 

In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.

Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.

What are your thoughts on the trending topic, and the turn it took? Is racism another liberal myth in America? Or is it an issue that requires all parties to acknowledge and resolve, in order to move forward? I look forward to hearing your perspectives via the comments below.

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57 thoughts on “We’re Sick of Racism

  1. I totally applaud these words, “If more people stepped outside their bubble, and truly tried to understand other narratives and perspectives from varying backgrounds, inside and outside of the United States, we would make leaps and bounds towards the cure of the “us versus them mentality”” Great post. Well expressed.

  2. Winners and dominant people will fabricate history and truth.
    And,they will do propaganda with bribes.
    We have to continue to say the truth.
    On the other hand, it is more meaningful to stop associating with bad racyism ,and interacting with such us who can understand.

    1. Thank you, Nasuko. It is very important to interact with people outside of our usual circles so we can better understand where everyone is coming from with an issue that affects ALL of us. Thank you for taking the time to read and comment 😊

  3. Don’t even know where to start. Been central issue is my life for 55 years out of 70. Racism runs like a poison river right through the heart of America. Still does. Paving over it doesn’t make it disappear. I guess people of color, once not considered people, then considered 4/5 of a person are supposed to be grateful for getting to be counted as a whole person.

    1. Those are such powerful words, Elizabeth. I couldn’t have said it better myself. You make a wonderful point about the expected gratefulness we’re supposed to have.

      The same goes for immigrants here, of any colour. We should never voice our issues in America, because we should be grateful to be here. Of course lol.

      I’m not sure if you ever saw Trevor Noah’s video on that after the Vegas shooting. If not, I’ll try to find it for you.

  4. i like this post.
    there is evidence the Chinese visited the East coast of north america long before the vikings.
    i see current race relations issue as a possible back lash by those who identify as white. it seems that societies have, over the years, promoted those of a race other than white, to be proud of who they are and where their “people” have come from. but for the “white” people, to be ashamed of who they are. thus, if one is “white” instead of saying white, they have identified with a region or country, ie. France, England, Germany, etc. if a white person says anything about being proud as white, then they are labeled as racist or as a white supremacist.
    a severe double standard exists, if not world wide, but at least here in the USA, where racism is alive and spreading under the disguise of politics.
    the only race we should concern our selves is the human race.
    we should be proud of our cultural backgrounds. they have not been perfect, and im not sure it is so much about the culture, as it is us being human. at least being human, we have the ability to change our behavior.

    1. I wasn’t aware of the Chinese voyages to the New World. That’s news to me. In college, I learned that the oldest evidence was of the Muslim Africans here. There were both physical and cultural evidence to support that. Vikings came next, and then Columbus. Do you know what time period the Chinese arrived, by chance?

      As for everything else you said, I agree and disagree.

      I do believe that everyone should be proud of their heritage. However, with heritage comes a legacy, and the White legacy has been one of exploitation of everyone else: subjugation, murder, genocide, trickery, Nazism. I’m not sure those are things good people espouse as core values. Only the Italians were nice to the Africans, and even that treatment of non-Whites did not last. Christopher Columbus is, after all, Italian. He wiped out our entire population of natives in Jamaica.

      In any case, in Jamaica, we are all proud to be whatever we are. Racial pride is supported in Jamaica, regardless of the roots. Did you know 25% of our island identifies as Irish? This is the second largest ethnicity after Blacks at home.

      This racial freedom stems from our focus on inclusion for all, and we would certainly never march with racial motives to prove it. America does not have this. In Jamaica, for example, we don’t have African-Jamaicans, or White-Jamaicans separate from “regular Jamaicans”. We have only Jamaicans. Nothing else. And if for any reason, we need to point out the specific race of someone, the title Jamaican, comes first. eg. Jamaican-Chinese, as opposed to Americans saying Asian-American. We don’t even have racial slurs on the island. There is literally no offensive term to call anyone of any race in Jamaica.

      However, in America, when I mention I am proud of my Irish heritage, Whites look at me askance, as if I have no right to say such a thing. Never mind that I can trace my line all the way back to the 1800s, and no “Irish” American White I have asked has been able to do the same. Meanwhile, we must accept it when Whites claim they are 3% Native American on their great-grand aunty’s side, or Jewish in spite of stereotypical White features. So I’m not sure I would agree to a double-standard on that one.

      Minorities never got the chance to be proud of their race until 1964 on US soil, and even now, it is met with opposition. Did you know it is legal not to hire someone in the US because they have dreads? That’s how Black Pride is treated in the legal system.

      It is also well to note that minorities are not put off by White Pride in America without good reason. White Pride in the history of America was built on the platform of the plantocracy in slavery, then segregation and then the KKK. Naturally, any offshoots will conjure that stigma those Whites brought on themselves. It’s going to be difficult for White Pride to move away from that, and they have no one but the extremist in their ranks to blame for that. That’s not something that started with non-Blacks.

      Our Whites in Jamaica do not have this stigma, giving them full freedom to parade their White heritage around with no opposition from the rest of us. In fact, I grew up in German Town (Seaford Town, Jamaica). I was a part of the Black/Mixed minority and we had zero racial tension.

      Racism is alive and well on American soil, but I’m not even sure how you guys can fix it beyond trying to learn from each other. Jamaica ended slavery long before America. Our leaders are mostly Black, and our minorities are equally represented in government and business. We never had segregation, or Jim Crow. And we have not, for a very long time, had Whites push a system that subjugates us in any way. Coming from a background with as little racial tension as that, maybe you can see why racism is so appalling to me, here. Double standards, or no.

      1. i read a couple of books some years ago that were on the trail of evidence, physical and cultural, showing the Chinese had visited the Nova Scotia area before the Vikings. The Mic Mac tribe had stories about other people visiting and , if i remember the books, the Mic Mac have words and writing that is very similar to Chinese. also there had been artifacts found.. why did this interest me, a white guy? i have been told my great grand mother was a full blood Mic Mac. the book also felt the Chinese traveled far as they brought back items (animals??) from Africa. i guess the thought the junks were not sea worthy for long trips.

        as for the other thoughts you presented, i only really have scattered knowledge. but, i seem to remember reading that humans used other humans as slaves for a very long time. that does not make it right. just a fact, as far as i know.

        i like how your Jamaican culture/society have come to be blended and i also like the fact they call mixed “Jamaican-(other race), instead of the other way around as we do here in the USA.

        i can see your point in all the rest and agree. unfortunately this medium does not make a conversation on this subject easy.

        how are we to fix racism in the USA? im not sure, but it will not happen in my life time

        thank you for your insightful response. i learned much.

        i know you know little to nothing about me, but i was brought up to be color blind. i have had friends, lovers and significant others from many other races and cultures. and i will continue to do so. it does not matter to me what your race, creed, color or sexual orientation may be. it is who you are and no what you are that will have me like you or not.

        we, as the human race have a long road still ahead of us.

      2. That’s interesting. I don’t remember that ever coming up in my history classes in college.

        I don’t subscribe to the colour blind theory. I want my ethnicity to be appreciated, not swept under a rug. The fact is we are not all the same and we are all different, and we experience different things in life based on those variations. I want those differences to be aired and acknowledged, not ignored. That is what makes race and colour and religion and all our other differences taboo topics in America, in my opinion.

        Jamaicans are not colour blind. And as you said, we’ve become quite blended and have a solid appreciation for our differences. Our national motto is “Out of Many, One People”. That is an approach that has worked. Colour blind theory in America, has not.

        As far as slavery, there is no justification in bringing someone halfway around the world to use them, then free them as second class citizens, and make them unwelcome as if they asked to be displaced. If Whites want to chant White Pride with “what about when those people did it” as an excuse, I wish them and their conscience good luck.

      3. by color blind, i meant it to be to see people as people and not just by the color of their skin. yes, to ethnic differences and to blending. i do not ignore those differences.

        i agree with your slavery stament.

  5. Alexis, this is a good post, but I’d like to add to it if I may.

    History: Yes, the relatively new Republic Party of Lincoln emancipated slaves and gave them voting rights. The Democrats became the opposition. As late as WWI, the Democrats were led by a racist, Woodrow Wilson. But that changed.
    WWII saw integration in the military out of necessity, and the rise of heroes like the Tuskeegee Airmen and Navaho codetalkers. FDR (somewhat reluctantly), Eleanor Roosevelt (quite avidly), and Harry Truman (quite avidly) became advocates for civil rights. That created a huge tension between the Southern and Northern wings of the Democratic Party.
    The tension came to a head in 1964 with the passage of the Civil Rights Act. It was Kennedy legislation that Lyndon Johnson pushed through after JFK’s death. The Northern GOP supported the act (Sen. Everett Dirkson, the GOP leader from Illinois, helped pass it), but the southern wing of both parties revolted. Southern Democrats like Stom Thurmond and George Wallace switched en masse to the GOP. States that had never voted for a Republican from 1866 to 1964, never voted for a Democrat after that.

    Put simply, the leading minds of the GOP back in the day wouldn’t touch what the party has become. Lincoln was an advocate for abolition and equality (at least in the context of his time) and of necessity for a strong Federal government. Theodore Roosevelt felt that big business shouldn’t be allowed to meddle in politics or make political contributions. If you have a chance to visit TR’s memorial in Washington, its quite an educational experience. Without doubt, he was the most brilliant man ever elected to that office — scientist, scholar, advocate for wildlife, fluent in 11 languages . . . . Those are the two GOPers on Mt. Rushmore, and really the only two worth remembering.

    The other part of history worth knowing is the No-Nothing Party of the mid 1800s. These were lower income, uneducated people who blamed this misfortunes on Catholics, Jews and immigrants (sound familiar?). One quarter of the US is made up of people — largely white — who have no education beyond high school, lousy income, and no future. These are seeing the life they do have eroding, seeing the pool of jobs dry up, and feel they are being victimized (instead of accepting responsibility for bad decisions). In the US, they’re the core of Trump’s support; in Russia, they are Putin’s base. They don’t care about ideology and would give away everything American stands for in return for a steady supply of beer.

    If that sounds harsh and judgmental, it is, but it’s also reality.

    The equally harsh reality is that the state that is most strongly pro-GOP and anti-Federal government is almost completely dependent on Federal money — Mississippi. Most of the economy and the state government budget is based on Federal subsidies and Federal program spending. Alabama is almost as bad. The people in those states define hypocracy.

    1. Thank you for adding to this, Vic. Much of what you said is completely new to me, and helps to reinforce what was said in the article. I hope my readers get the chance to scroll down to your comment.

      One of the strangest things to me in the US is that “liberal” is viewed as political, rather than an independent ideology, which is how conservatives get to thinking they freed the slaves.

      Liberal ideology began with the French revolution, if I had to make a guess. They were the first nation set on pushing egalitarian values, which directly led to the Haitian revolution where the slaves essentially freed themselves. Many Americans forget, but the French is even how they won independence.

      Liberal ideology is what frees slaves, grants rights, and creates social equality. It is independent of politics. Back in the days, liberals made up the republican party, under Lincoln. But as you pointed out, there was a radical change in the years that followed.

      Thanks so much for sharing your insights!

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