Monday, June 22, 2015

What Part of Racism Don't You Get?

I abandoned this blog quite sometime ago in pursuit of more artistic outlets. However the need to express myself in complete sentences and paragraphs occasionally returns, so today I find myself compelled to write this. Here is why:

I can't take it any more. The squabbling, the pontificating the moralizing, the patent bullshit that the massacre in Charleston, South Carolina was about anything other than racism. Everyone has hopped aboard the train to exploit this tragedy to promote there own personal agenda for what they think is wrong with society. One poorly cited article from "Psychology Today" ironically proclaims the death of intellectualism as being the reason behind the Charleston massacre. Another article in that same publication explains how the the problem is narcissism. Right-wing publications have expressed an astonishing and heretofore unexplored concern for "mental health". It's drugs, it's this, it's that it's a gazillion other things other than what it is. What is it? It is racism. All this other stuff may contribute to what this young man did, but at the stinking, rotten, vile core of his act is racism.

Everyone decrying this as "unthinkable" or "unfathomable" has not been paying one little bit of attention to what is going on in this country. Unless you are living in a cave somewhere you should be aware of the vast mountain of racist crap flying around the internet, polluting the airwaves, and filling the bookshelves that feeds into and legitimizes racist ideology. Scroll down to the comments section on virtually any news article and you will more times than not be greeted with the most vile racist verbiage regarding virtually any subject matter. This act in Charleston should come as a no surprise to anybody. The shooter was fulled and fed by a racist support system that isn't very hard to find. I don't think you have to be a grand intellectual to understand that racism is wrong. It doesn't take an Mensa candidate to understand that it is wrong to shoot and kill a group of unarmed African-Americans at a Bible study. MOST people understand this. Calling this act of violence, this need to excuse it as something other than what it is, is racist in and of itself. It is a thinly veiled example of white privilege.

The United States has an ugly chapter in our history. That chapter is racism. We all know it.To fail accept that slavery, Jim Crow, the KKK, and the resulting terrorism employed to systematically  oppress African-Americans and to deny them their full rights as citizens which continues to this day is reprehensible. To act like it didn't happen, to reduce the nature of that suffering by negating the soul-crushing misery inflicted upon a race of Americans in this country for hundreds of years is a glaring example of white privilege. To behave as if the fallout from this history is behind us and racism is no longer with us is also the purview of white privilege.

The belief that the Confederate battle flag displayed in South Carolina is a part of this peculiar belief system. The idea that the Civil War was fought over something other than slavery diminishes the sacrifice made by thousands of people who preserved the very best parts of this nation. That this soul-crushing symbol of a rightly defeated government is allowed to fly over state public buildings in the state of South Carolina is wrong. It needs to come down.The Confederate flag long a symbol of a lost cause, has now become the symbol of white unwillingness to understand that this symbol is offensive to a portion of our citizenry who suffered under what it represents. Maybe some white people don't see it as such, however a significant portion of our population perceives it as a sign of the worst sort of oppression. That African-Americans should have to walk past this symbol every time they enter a public building in South Carolina is not what I want to be about as an American or a Southerner. To the rest of the nation, it makes Southerners look like something I know that most of them are not. Please let's honor those killed in Charleston by putting an end to this flag's use on public buildings.