Updated: Dec 11, 2022
"Have you heard any of these statements?” Every time a black person's feelings are hurt, they scream RACISM." I don't see color when I see minorities, especially those that work with you… as long as THEY do their jobs, I don't have any issues." These statements and other similar sentiments are communications exchanged in previous work environments that I have witnessed and heard. The United States Attorney General William Barr 2020 offered some intriguing statements months before the 2020 presidential elections and months after the George Floyd murder (by a Minneapolis police officer and several other police at the scene of the crime). Barr stated, "I think there are some situations where statistics would suggest that they [Blacks] are treated differently, but I don't think that's necessarily racism.” Then what the heck do you call discrimination or prejudice. When further pressed on separate judicial and justice systems, Barr stated, "No, I don't think there are two justice systems," [but] "I think the narrative that the police are on some epidemic of shooting unarmed Black men is simply a false narrative, and also the narrative that that's based on race." So, the highest-ranking law enforcement person in the nation basically denied any racial problems exist whereby covering his tracks of any inaction by his federal justice system. Despite an abundance of evidential statistics to the contrary: "Such broad statistics mask the racial disparity that pervades the U.S. criminal justice system, and for African Americans in particular. African Americans are more likely than white Americans to be arrested; once arrested, they are more likely to be convicted; and once convicted, they are more likely to experience lengthy prison sentences. African-American adults are 5.9 times as likely to be incarcerated than whites, and Hispanics are 3.1 times as possible. (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, Prisoners in 2016, 8 tbl.6 (Jan. 2018) "As of 2001, one of every three black boys born in that year could expect to go to prison in his lifetime, as could one of every six Latinos—compared to one of every seventeen white boys." Marc Mauer, Addressing Racial Disparities in Incarceration, 91 supp. 3 The Prison Journal 87S, 88S (Sept. 2011). "Racial and ethnic disparities among women are less substantial than among men but remain prevalent." (Id.)
I wanted to write this article because of the prevalent existence of continued racism that walks, lives, and exists among the tree trunks of delusion in the forest of purposeful ignorance. Social media platforms obfuscate truth buried in half-truths and outright conspiracy theories. On FB last week, comments provided overwhelming examples of alternative social media opinions in responses such as "Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah…", "more left-wing…", "Here we go again with the Democratic lies and pushing victim mentality!" [voting rights]. Opinions are just that, whether you agree or disagree.
My stance is to attack issues, not people, because honestly, more often than not, people know not what they say or why they do. So, that brings me to this blog and this week. However, several racist-tainted events or incidents have occurred. Racist incidents can occur daily; however, people who consume a majority of ALT-Right and Right-wing media news may not acknowledge this fundamental truth. Still, it does not make it any less the fact that systemic racism and practices exist. Racism touches all minorities, religions, creeds, sexual orientations, and of color.
For example, David Dietrich, Republican elections official in Virginia, is accused of using racially charged language toward Black people. He created social media posts calling for "public lynchings" and "to pull us [white people] back…". The Virginia GOP Governor tweeted condemning the vile racist language. Think about the implications of a state elections official harboring this kind of personal racist venom towards a population of voting block citizens - wow! He supervised other election office personnel presumably, so his sphere of influence is arguably dangerous against the backdrop of the "stop the steal" election frauds cry from the Right. The Republican official targeted, in his hate speech, a former military General, Mr. Lloyd Austin, whom President Biden selected as the country's first Black secretary of defense. He also targeted another military veteran and retired Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré. Army Lt. Gen. Russel Honoré reviewed the U.S. Capitol's security after the Jan. 6 insurrection.
Under the law enforcement category, i.e., AG Barr's former arena, a Black police officer, Mark Miles, working for the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, sued, alleging various hostile workplace violations against his shift supervisor and team. "The case centers on really egregious racist comments, homophobic comments, misogynistic comments, in these chat rooms and text messages that supervisors have created," said Jay Holland, one of Miles's lawyers. "For example, the lawsuit alleges supervisor told [black officer} that other officers in the squad were "worried they couldn't trust" him because of his race. Harvey told Miles that she'd informed the other officers that he was "half white and half Black," (Daily Record) The Maryland Park police have addressed allegations and are handling situation via established disciplinary process. Another law enforcement officer was "outed" and discovered for using and posting inflammatory racial language. Illinois police officer Aaron Paul Nichols, 46, resigned over a host of racist and white supremacist social media messages. "ACC, the group of researchers that tracks down white supremacists and neo-Nazis identified him." (HuffPost) The state legislature wrote a letter of condemnation and investigation; "It would be disturbing enough to know someone with these views was living in your community," the letter said. "But to learn that such a person is exercising authority over the very people he declares his hatred for is terrifying." (HuffPost). The officer used not only racial slurs toward black people. He used them against Jewish people as well. Some people in our communities and at all levels of government do not realize this type of unacknowledged behavior, understood or believed. The ignorance only shows not only there is systemic racism in our country, but there is an existential racial threat to our nation's way of life. Dangerous misinformation and willful ignorance cover these incidents and paint an isolated view of racists rather than collectively showcasing the representation of racism within our rank and file in law enforcement, government, and public service. Yes, racism exists. Yes, systemic racism exists. Yes, it's only complaining if it is not your lived experience, and it's ignorance to think it's only "them" and not me.
Our beautiful "melting pot" nation has a rich diversity of people to recognize social ills and injustice and correct them or at the very least overcome them; obstacles can become stepping stones and provide energy. But, perhaps, it will be future generations that may suffer the shame of racism and exclusion of a different sort. Racists may use something else. There are other equally subjective categories, such as the poor, sick, and elderly, that many willfully ignorant and racist people may use. These categories provide targeting opportunities once the scapegoating of minorities has withered and gone away. Humanity demands an acknowledgment that each individual is first a human being and not property or a thing or less. Slavery dehumanized Black Americans and stamped us as somehow subservient from before birth, even with an election of an African American president. The institution of racism works persistently and diligently to ensure racism exists as invisible shackles to limit any ascension of black people. Seemingly, great strides and lists of "firsts" mark barriers overcame; but think how much greater we could be without these obstacles and walls as a nation. Acknowledge we are all different and humanely proceed accordingly. You find many differences become blurred in us all since we all pursue the same thing - health, prosperity, security, and freedom.