Confrontation

I’ve sat on these thoughts for weeks (if we’re being honest, I’ve done some form of sitting on them for months or years), knowing full well that my silence is the foundation of the same problem that currently boils my blood. I suppose I could blame my inaction on weariness of the problem or simply wanting to provide the right answers, answers I’m unsure how to provide. But those aren’t luxuries I get.


This morning, just weeks after the news of the murders of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor, years after the murders of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, Michael Brown, Walter Scott, Tamir Rice, and more names than I can ever remember, I woke to read the news of yet another African American who died senselessly, unnecessarily, and violently in the United States of America.


You've all heard the story or watched the video or, if you somehow haven’t, it shouldn’t take you long to get up to date. His name was George Floyd, and like many other people of color in the United States of America, he was murdered. He was unarmed, he was restrained by handcuffs and forcefully lying on the ground, and he was clearly in medical distress. The police officers involved have been fired, but it remains what will come of this case going forward, as it does for so many other stories just like this one. The one thing we know is that George Floyd and every other victim will never see their families again.


These recent deaths are the latest sad and horrific example of how privilege, aggression, and white supremacy continue to run deep in the veins of the United States of America. It is the reason white men feel safe brandishing military weapons in public, acting out their free speech with belligerence, and serving as their own police force while people of color continue to be in danger during everyday activities or if, for whatever reason, they have an encounter with law enforcement. It is the continued result of systemic injustice and a culture that all too often upholds the disregard for our fellow human as a virtue.


We live in two Americas. The statistics comparing the lived white and black experiences are staggering and undeniable, whether it be housing, education, medical care, or the frequency and nature of law enforcement encounters. White and black Americans use drugs at almost exactly the same rates, yet the law falls most heavily on the bodies of people of color. Pollution, struggling schools, and housing disparities all fall with more impact on African Americans. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to attack communities of color more than white communities. The existence of those two communities as separate entities is itself a result of white supremacy.


The existence of white supremacy is not up for debate. It’s a matter of numbers. And, to quote Patterson Hood:


you don't see too many white kids lying bleeding on the street


The roots of white supremacy in America go deep into history, but the numbers prove that they continue to have impact today. It is on us to act. Today.


We can't confront a thing when we can't even acknowledge it exists. If you find yourself pushing back on these ideas, because you don’t believe it is a problem, because you believe you’re “one of the good ones”, then I urge you to further educate yourself. No one gets a pass for their political affiliation. Nobody is free of responsibility by simply rejecting racist ideas within themselves. We must act against them in our culture and institutions. We have much work to do, white America.


Don’t take my word for it. I urge you to seek out these resources and get to know the history and impact of race in America and explore ways you can act:


(NOTE: This list is hardly comprehensive. I'll do my best to add to it as I explore and educate myself)


Podcasts:

Scene on Radio: Seeing White

A fourteen part audio series on what “whiteness” means. I thought I was pretty well educated on the history of race in America, but this series opened my eyes to a lot of new information.

https://www.sceneonradio.org/seeing-white/


NPR: CodeSwitch

An ongoing series about race and identity (not to mention some really hot playlists).

https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/


The Appeal: Justice In America

Broken into seasons, a podcast featuring experts and advocates on the criminal justice system in America.

https://theappeal.org/topics/justice-in-america/


The 1619 Project Podcast- The New York Times Magazine

An ongoing series looking at the history and consequences of slavery on the 400th anniversary of its beginning in America.

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/23/podcasts/1619-podcast.html


Reading:

The New Jim Crow- Michelle Alexander

A hard look at the system of mass incarceration in America.

https://newjimcrow.com/


How To Be An Antiracist- Ibram X. Kendi

I actually just picked this up to read as I considered my actions in the wake of the murder of Ahmaud Arbery. It reframes much of the language we use in discussions of racism.

https://www.ibramxkendi.com/how-to-be-an-antiracist-1


On Being White And Other Lies- James Baldwin

I’ve not read as much Baldwin as I should. This is an essay that was published in an issue of Essence magazine in 1984, but it should be easily found as a PDF with a Google search.


The 1619 Project- The New York Times Magazine

An ongoing series looking at the history and consequences of slavery on the 400th anniversary of its beginning in America.

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/08/14/magazine/1619-america-slavery.html


Video/TV/Movies:

The Next Question

A video series by Austin Channing Brown featuring discussions between the hosts and important figures in the discussion of race in America.

https://www.tnqshow.com/


Dear White People

A wonderful and funny fictional television show that follows racial tensions at a fictitious Ivy League college.

https://www.netflix.com/title/80095698


13th

A documentary analyzing the criminalization of African Americans and mass incarceration.

https://www.netflix.com/title/80091741


Other Resources:

Showing Up For Racial Justice: https://www.showingupforracialjustice.org/

From Privilege To Progress: https://www.instagram.com/privtoprog

10 Simple Ways White People Can Step Up to Fight Everyday Racism: https://www.mic.com/articles/97900/10-simple-rules-for-being-a-non-racist-white-person

Me and White Supremacy Workbook: https://www.meandwhitesupremacybook.com


Resources Shared To Me By Others:

75 Things White People Can Do for Racial Justice: https://medium.com/equality-includes-you/what-white-people-can-do-for-racial-justice-f2d18b0e0234


Anti-Racism Resources: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1BRlF2_zhNe86SGgHa6-VlBO-QgirITwCTugSfKie5Fs/preview?pru=AAABcnprO2s*do1UbMWH2qzghuFbRJXqKA#


A crowdsourced Twitter feed of resources: https://twitter.com/WilliamMatt22/status/1265753498735357952


We must stand against white supremacy.




©2020 by Red Chuck Productions.