People’s inaction fuels racism

Sunday, May 31, 2020
People’s inaction fuels racism

My friend Angel has four children, including one teenage boy who is about to get his driver’s license and another who is right behind him. Most parents think of their children getting their license and worry about speeding, texting while driving and other crashes. Angel has never expressed to me that she worries about her boys’ driving abilities. If anything, Angel teaches them to follow all rules perfectly in hopes they make it home alive.

Angel does not think about her sons being involved in a car crash as often as she worries about them being black men in America. She worries about them driving through the wrong neighborhood and being suspected of a crime simply because of how they look. She worries about them being stopped by police and being suffocated with a knee to the neck while they plead, “Officer, I cannot breathe,” while bystanders beg the cop to ease up. She worries about them going into a public park to watch birds before a white woman calls police and falsely claims she is being threatened by an “African-American.” She worries about her two athletic sons going for a jog and being gunned down by white men who live in the neighborhood while one of the men’s friends films the murder.

I am not a mother and I am not black, but I know Angel has a right to worry.

We all know racism exists and most of us would of course say racism is wrong. The problem is that too few of us — and I am referring to white individuals — are willing to stand up, openly admit there is a problem then become part of the solution. It’s OK to admit there is a serious racial imbalance in this country. Admitting there is a problem does not mean you are part of the problem. But when we who are not regularly, or ever, exposed to racism fail to say or do anything, we are in fact contributing to the problem. Neutrality does not exist. You are either for or against.

When I know Angel is crying or livid because someone who looks like her was killed because of perceptions regarding their God-given skin color, I cannot relate to her grief. I do not understand the fear she has for her two boys because most of the young boys in my life are white. They will not have to worry about being in the supposedly wrong place at the supposedly wrong time, even though those places are public streets and parks. Racist individuals are in fact found in all races, but the likelihood is low of me having my life altered because of prejudice against my white skin. It’s not enough for us to simply call rac

It’s not enough for us to simply call racism a tragedy or wrong or a tale as old as time, even though it is all those things. We have to call out the relatives and friends who are racist. We need to make it clear the racist jokes are not funny. We need to expose the racists in our workplaces. We need to demand that law enforcement agencies crack down on the white supremacists infiltrating departments. We need to call out those who hide behind racism with the excuse of, “That’s just how I was raised.”

We need to look inside ourselves to identify and address our own prejudices. We need to realize that we are allowing, through inaction, the dehumanizing of our fellow Americans. We cannot sit back and say, “That’s just the way it is.” It should not be this way, and if we allow the problems to continue, we are only causing more injustice.

We are not true Americans, true Christians, or true patriots if we continue to allow people to be mistreated because of race. Remember that by saying nothing and doing nothing, you are in fact making the statement that inequality is acceptable.