Why we must dismantle racist systems.
I am tired. I really wanted to take a break, and write some fluffy fiction, then watch an episode of Supernatural while I ate my frozen cherries and coconut chunks (trust me, if you are in a hot climate, it is worth a try). I was set to just settle in and be utterly useless for an hour or two, but then? Then I noticed something that stopped me in my tracks, and got my blood pumping with anger and frustration and disappointment in the utter stupidity of people.
I am one of the lucky beta testers of a new app called Journal that allows users to save and organize anything from any site, or app, or even just out of our brains. It is pretty great, and I will certainly be mentioning it again soon, but this is not the time. I am following Shaun King and the Grassroots Law Project on every single social media platform, email address, and website that I can, and tonight on Journal I noticed that he had posted the following article on Medium:
SHAUN KING: A Private Law Enforcement Group on Facebook is Literally Plotting to Kill Mehttps://link.medium.com/O53YtVmPB7
A private group of former military, law enforcement, and NRA members are calling him anti-American and discussing how best to kill him. Yes, kill him. For what? Because in their eyes he is a “Commie”, and a “Marxist”, and is therefore un-American, anti-American, and worth “toss[ing] from a helicopter” or shooting with a “sniper”.
Before you come forward with your ‘Oh come on, it was a private group! They were just making jokes!’ please note that organizing a group who are “sharp shooters” to find where he lives, to kill a father, a husband, a person is NOT a joke. There is nothing funny about it. These are not things that a normal, decent, good person would ever, should ever think let alone say out loud or type into a group on social media.
In my outrage and anger at the initial message, I tweeted that this is systemic racism, without stopping to think that this is in fact not systemic racism – this is hate.
Systemic racism is what caused these white, gun-toting angry men and women – oh yes, according to King’s article, the initial post was by a white woman, so park your assumptions – to believe that a man of color who is calling out the system that has resulted in centuries of people in positions of power to literally and figuratively kneel on the necks of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour (BIPOC) is anti-American and in need of assassination.
Do you know who else was killed in pursuit of equal rights for BIPOC? Killed in pursuit of the very minimum of rights for humans? Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Brother Malcolm X. el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz, Emmett Till, Medgar Evers, Rev. George Lee, Lamar Smith, John Earl Reese, Willie Edwards, Jr., Mack Charles Parker, Herbert Lee, Louis Allen, Cpl. Roman Ducksworth, Jr., Johnnie Mae Chappell, Henry Hezekiah Dee, Charles Eddie Moore, James Earl Chaney, Lt. Col. Lemuel Penn, Jimmie Lee Jackson, Oneal Moore, Willie Brewster, Samuel Leamon Younge Jr., Ben Chester White, Clarence Triggs, Wharlest Jackson, Benjamin Brown, Samuel Ephesians Hammond, Jr., Delano Herman Middleton, Henry Ezekiel Smith… to name literally a few.
If we stand by and watch, and do not stand up to people who are professing evil and harm, we are professing evil and harm. We cannot stand here and quietly allow more and more black bodies to be added to a never ending list because we are too comfortable in our white heteronormative patriarchal system. We cannot allow this to continue. We cannot decide that BIPOC must do the work that protects themselves from the systems and people that are supposed to protect all people because we are tired and wanted to watch Supernatural and eat frozen fruit. We cannot decided that our comfort is worth MORE than a person or people’s lives. We simply cannot. We cannot decide that it is inconvenient to stop atrocities from being meted out upon our brethren. It is inconvenient to be dead. We are not worth more than anyone else. And do not return with ‘we are also not worth less’ – it is not about us in any way other than to fix what we have wrought, and to burn down a system that sees First Nations women go missing by the thousands and black bodies thrown from balconies like trash.
This system is killing people for white, heteronormative, patriarchal, Anglo-Christian comfort.