Over the years, I’ve heard people and the media talking about a Race War. It has popped up quite a bit over the past week, and especially on the day of the verdict in the murder of George Floyd trial. There were people who were (are) worried about a Race War starting, and others who were (are) hoping one would start.
All of these people are missing the big picture, ignoring history, and just plain haven’t been paying attention.
The Race War is going strong. It has been going strong for over 400 years, since 1619. A Race War was begun when the first kidnapped and enslaved black human was forcibly brought ashore our borders. Blacks and people of color have known this from the beginning. It has been white people who, taken as a collective, have been ignorant of this fact.
There have been many battles over the past 400 years. The Civil War may not have started over slavery, but it ended the plantation-style of slavery. For a very short time, blacks had more equality immediately following the Civil War, winning many elected offices. When the whites of the day saw this happening, they worked to figure out how to bring it to a very abrupt halt.
This was done by passing laws making it very easy to arrest blacks for just about anything. They found the loophole in the 13th Amendment that was pretty easy to manipulate. A loophole that essentially said, if a person is arrested and convicted, they could be “leased” out to farms, and eventually other businesses. As one might imagine, this loophole was mainly used against blacks, slavery was back, just with a different name.
Then we had Jim Crow laws to keep the races separate and poll taxes. If you wanted to register to vote, that is if you were black, you had to pay, and/or answer questions that most people wouldn’t be able to answer. That is, if the person could make it safely past the harassment they would have to endure just to try and register to vote.
The latest of two battle of the war are going strong.
The first is voter suppression. Republicans have been working for many years to limit people of color, especially blacks, from voting. They used to be somewhat subtle about it, but their plan now is pretty out there for us all to see. Limiting the voting rights of convicts, Voter ID requirements, purging voters in specific areas, decreasing early voting sites, eliminating voting machines in certain precincts, and of course our old tried and true friend, gerrymandering.
The second is the killing of young black men, and increasingly, young black girls with little to no provocation. Men and women, boys and girls, who have actually called the police for help, ending up dead because of doing so. Being pulled over for something a white person would almost never be pulled over for, and ending up dead. Attending a peaceful and lawful protest, and ending up maimed, scarred, or dead. As a meme I saw recently plainly stated, “Hands up, they shoot; hands down, they shoot; you walk, they shoot; you run, they shoot; you hide, they shoot; you sleep, they shoot; you comply, they shoot; so what are we supposed to do now?”
So what are we, people who happen to be white, and white people to do? We stand up, we speak out, we become woke, we ally and work to bring about change. Change that will lift us all and help us achieve the potential we have as a nation.
That is what WE must do to help our black brothers and sisters, our brown brothers and sisters, our rainbow of colors brothers and sisters. To sit back and do nothing makes us complicit in the battles, and a war in which no one really will win, but one we can abruptly end the war so we can all live better, and safer, lives.