According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, racism is the belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.
This past week we have all seen the extremely disturbing video of a Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the back and neck of George Floyd, a black suspect in a nonviolent crime while he and others pleaded for his life. He died.
We also saw a white woman in New York’s Central Park call 911 and claim that she was being threatened by an African-American man when he only asked her to put her dog on a leash. I doubt that this woman thought she was racist before this incident.
Both incidents were captured on video. If not for videos being shared on social media, these incidents would not have even made the news.
So we have to wonder how many other incidents of racism occur every day in this country that we don’t know about. If you, like me (and the majority of the population in Park County) are white, we have no idea what it’s like to be systematically discriminated against. We have white privilege.
I am sickened by what I saw this week and so too should everyone else be. If you’re not affected by it then you are very likely a racist.
There is a meme on social media that shows the picture of the police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd next to a picture of Colin Kaepernick kneeling for civil rights during the playing of the National Anthem. The text along with it asks, “Which one bothers you more?” I have heard people say that Colin was disrespecting the flag.
I don’t understand that logic. Kneeling is more respectful than standing, and shows concern and even vulnerability. Kaepernick was protesting peacefully and respectfully, at great personal cost. If peaceful protesting doesn’t work, violence will follow as it is now, all across the country.
Here is a statement from Elijah Dimon-Ainscough, a high school student from Bailey:
“These past few days have been extremely disheartening. However, I’m not shocked by these events. I am a fifteen- year-old black, Latino, Native-American kid. I fear for my life every day. Not because of protests and riots, but because of racists and police and those who would harm me, and there are those people. I am devastated by the lack of support from the government. We’ve been protesting for centuries, and it hasn’t worked. What we’re doing is no different than the events leading to the American Revolution. To promote violence against these protesters is evil, they are not rioting, that is a different group. So please, don’t yell at us, don’t tell us we’re disrespecting America. We’re fighting for our civil liberties just as you do. We’re are trying to live.”
If you don’t think that you’re a racist, but you voted for President Donald Trump I am asking you to search your conscience and think very hard about who you will vote for this November.
President Trump ran on a message of fear and hatred, and sadly it appealed to many people. He has promoted racism by hiring people like Stephen Miller and Steve Bannon, he has refused to condemn white supremacists, and he called Haiti, El Salvador and an assortment of African nations “sh*thole countries.”
His message has empowered racists and supremacists in America. By voting for President Trump you are promoting hatred and racism.
This country has an ugly history of racism that did not go away with the abolishment of slavery and the civil rights movement. It is still here and fueled by President Trump and his supporters.
If you are not a racist you need to stand with people fighting for the rights of African Americans and all marginalized people in America. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Your vote is your voice. To contact the Park County DemocraticParty, go to www.ParkDems.org.