Part 1. Why Do I Have to Explain This?
*this post was originally written in response to the 2017 protests in Charlottesville, VA.
I am screaming on the inside.
Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse, Tuesday's press conference, featuring a stand out performance by Donnie, left me screaming at a higher decibel level.
While listening to Podcasts and reading the transcript of what 45 actually said, I chose to go back and forth on a Facebook thread with someone about Donald Trump and the issues of this week. I got the normal "if-black-people-cared-about-their-community-they-would-start-in-chicago" schtick along with the "that's not the right way to protest" bullshit. I had to explain why having schools named after confederate soldiers is offensive and how this person has no business telling any community what they can and cannot be offended by. The kicker was this was someone I went to high school with. I'm sitting here thinking about this conversation like "how did we go to the same school and not get the same education?"
I decided to make this a blog post but as I was writing I got completely overwhelmed with how much information I have to give/ how much I have to say so I decided to spilt this up into two sections.
Part 1. Why do I have to explain this?
Part 2. Dear White People..
Let's jump right on in.
I would love to spend the time to write out in full disclosure the way I feel about Donald Trump. I could write about the week long depression I slipped into after he won the election and the fear that I felt driving into rural parts of Minnesota that I had never felt before. But today I am going to touch on the things that he has said recently that have fueled the fire behind a lot of racist commentary I've seen online. To add a little special touch, I'm going to directly pull quotes from the conversations I've had with people I've gone to high school with and dissect why what they have said is wrong/racist. Wee!!!
"Can someone tell me why it's even a problem now after being up [the statues] for so many years? it's a problem because the news is telling you it's a problem. Where was the outburst when they were put up? Guess what there are several military bases that are named after Confederate soldiers, are we going to rip all those down to? Hey let's take George Washington off the dollar bill he was a slave owner." - Uninformed racist comment via High School Classmate
Trump making comparisons between Thomas Jefferson / George Washington to Robert E Lee is a deliberate effort to rob historical context and manipulate it into a conveniant narrative. *Genius*
Fact: Robert E Lee spent a vast majority of his military career trying to break up the United States. As a matter of fact, Lee quit the army to join the Confederates. In other words, he quit the US army to join the army that was attacking the US. The men that created the Confederate army were men that wanted to preserve an economic and social system premised on the belief in white supremacy and slavery.
Fact: George Washington and Thomas Jefferson helped to create and assisted in laying the ground work for the foundation of this country. Without them there might not be a United States of America.
Fact: People do and have had an issue with our founding fathers holding titles as slave owners. There are movements to take Andrew Jackson off the $20 bill. There are schools and parks being renamed because their previous titles belonged to racists/confederate army supporters. I mean people tried to erase any trace of Sally Hemings from history books. ( For those of you who don't know, Hemings was Thomas Jeffersons slave, who was repeatedly raped and gave birth to at least six of his children.) This isn't a "new thing". It's only now being brought to your attention because of what happened over the weekend. Do you see how your privilege allows you to be uninvolved because it doesn't directly effect you?
So the idea that removing these statues "erases history" is bogus. We don't need statues to remind us of historical figures impact on the country. We don't need statues of Hitler or Genghis Kahn to be reminded of the fuck shit they did. When we are demanding that the statues be removed, we aren't asking you to erase history - we're asking you to acknowledge it.
"I feel like Trump could have said he hate's nazi's and that the KKK is the scum of the earth and they [the media] would have spun it some how. My point was where was the condemnation of BLM and radical black power organizations that fueld the hate for the police?" - Uninformed racist comment via High School Classmate
For the last fucking time, Black Lives Matter is NOT a hate group. I don't know if I have the energy to explain this again, so please take the time to check out the linked article.
This person that I was speaking to pulled youtube videos of protesters chanting kill cops and referenced the BLM Philly's twitter page and tried to tell me that they (BLM) said white's aren't allowed. For the record the twitter page didn't say anything close to that. It said "If you identify as a person of the African Diaspora You can attend our meetings and become a member. If not you can support us in other ways." That's not the same as "no whites allowed".
The KKK is a group of people who's beliefs are passionate about white supremacy. They have a history of terrorizing communities, lynching and murdering innocent people because of their skin color. Black Lives Matter is a group founded in the passionate belief of equality. So the videos this person shared with me of people at a BLM protest is really disheartening to me. But I'm also intelligent enough to know that person(s) in that video don't represent the entire group and what it stands for. And I also know that this doesn't happen at every protest. Where as the KKK consistently chant about exterminating Jews, blacks and PoC. One might say that the killings of PoC is an exact ideal of what Neo-Nazi's stand for. Bottom line: The mission statement that reflects the beliefs of what Black Lives Matter stands for is on the complete opposite end of the spectrum in comparison to what the KKK stands for.
So I mean, that's why there shouldn't be any condemnation of BLM.
*Also side bar: DJT said that there were good people on both sides. What good people do you know that hang with Klansmen?
"They should really just let Antifa/BLM fight it out with the Nazi groups. They are all shit bags. Just open up a football stadium and make it like a gladiator fight"
"BLM is not the modem [modern] day civil rights movement. Martin Luther King Jr would be ashamed ha.""
"As far as protesting to make change... That's not really how it works." -Uninformed racist comment via High School Classmate
Hmm..."they should really just fight it out with the nazi groups".....So! This actually already happened! In history we refer to it as the Civil Rights Movement. And guess what?! It actually was a series of non violent protests that eventually led to legislation change and federal laws! It was protests on bridges and athletes making a stand during sports events! So even if you in your igonrant ways don't believe that protesting makes a difference, history tells us otherwise! Yay!
"No one is hurt by the statues let's get real lol... It's like renaming lake Calhoun... Totally irrelevant nonsense."
"If people get that hurt by statues.. we cleary have too many first world problems lol. Especially when the statues are about the individual and not glorifying slavery. " - Uninformed racist comment viaHigh School Classmate
Let me keep this one really short and cute and say that just because something does not effect you directly does not mean that other people cannot be offended or hurt by it. You, no matter who you are, your race/sexual orientation/gender identity etc, do not get to minimize anyone's hurt or opression because it doesn't apply to you. Boop!
"Sacrifices... Pain... Anguish.. what ever you want to call it. Slavery isn't the worst thing a man could do to another to be honest. A history of evil people show us that. My point is it's incorrect to assume people can't rationalize something because they don't fit w.e identity politics is being played." -Uninformed racist comment via High School Classmate
First things first, this person really reduced slavery to a sacrifice. Let that sit with you.
It's confusing to me why, as American's, the Nazi flag is taken as more of an extreme symbol of terrorism than the Confederate flag. Maybe because in this country, it has been instilled in our brains not to take slavery as serious as it was. As a matter of fact, there's a great article that quotes Ta-Nehisi Coates enlightening people on why we shouldn't compare Nazi Germany to the Southern Confederacy.
People, understand this, the effects of slavery are still alive and well.
Without getting into colorisim, the history and origins of police in the USA, and mass incarceration, slavery and it's effects have been minimized and trickled down into tiny things that happen in ordinary life that you may not even realize. Telling someone they have "good hair" stems from slavery. Telling someone that they "don't act like a normal black person" stems from slavery. Are the wheels turning yet? You may not have thought about it that way, but I promise you that your black friends have. And it's hurtful.
I can't believe I actually have to explain how awful slavery was but considering history books are reducing it to free labor workers...It wasn't just working all day at a shit job and sleeping in shitty cramped rooms - that right there just describes your average twenty something New Yorker. Slavery was working against ones will in cotton fields in southern heat, being whipped for not working fast enough or not answering a question correctly. It was being raped day after day sometimes in-front of your family, if you were lucky enough to have your family around. Many slaves were separated from their family and auctioned off with barn animals holding more value than them. If you're still having a hard time understanding and find yourself questioning how horrible it was, I encourage you to read a book called, "When I was a Slave Memoirs from the Slave Narrative Collection". I had to tap out when I read about the whipping of a newborn.
I know that what this person said about slavery was extremely ignorant but the truth is people really do feel like this. I've been told more than once in the last few days that people need to "get over it" and "stop crying about it" but if you can do one thing for me it's this; don't let anyone ever reduce the pain of slavery and the effects that it had on this country and the people living in it.
Also, this person being unable to validate the horrors of African American slavery is exactly why it is NOT incorrect to assume that some "people can't rationalize something because they don't fit whatever identity politics is being played". You said slavery was a sacrifice bruh. You very clearly don't get it.
I really could go on and on with more excerpts from our conversation but I am going to end with this last quote.
"Trump is not responsible for the actions of someone else" -Uninformed racist comment via High School Classmate
This one right here...
The actions that led to the events in Charlottesville are a direct result of Donald Trump taking office. However, make no mistake, the feelings and beliefs of these supremacists have been around long before Donnie was elected. From the beginning of his campaign trail, he has been specific about his word choices and phrasing; leaving things that should not be left for interpretation up in the foggy air. The slogan "Make America Great Again" is the perfect example. Seeing those red hats in the sea of rioters and protesters from this weekend proved that the phrase fit the exact ideals and morals of these supremacist and terrorists. The mother of the man who drove his car into a crowd of people told reporters that she thought her son was going to a Trump rally. During his rallies and events, Trump advocated for violence against protesters several times. While the coward will never come out and directly define the difference between right and wrong, as the president of the United States part of your job is to be the moral compass for the country. DJT's moral compass reflects those of white supremacists and racists and that is why we witnessed what happened this weekend. More than enough people at the U-VA protests were doing so in the name of Donnie. Douchebag David Duke has spoken up about his interpretation of 45's words and felt empowered by our president. If you truly believe that Trump is not responsible for the actions of these riots you are sadly misinformed and buddy, you are sitting on the wrong side of history.
I'm sorry that this was so long but as you can see I had a lot of ground to cover. I will wrap this up by saying that if you have stayed with me and reached the bottom of this page thank you! And also you have the obligation to correct uninformed/misinformed ignorance. I have added links to multiple points that I have made throughout this post so really - there is absolutely no reason to allow this stupidity to continue on. Please educate each other. It is vital and extremely necessary in today's world and I promise you it is one step closer to making a change.
Next...Part 2. Dear White People…