In 1956, President Kennedy said of America, “our role (is) as "volunteer fire department" for the world. Whenever and wherever fire breaks out – in Indo-China, in the Middle East, in Guatemala, in Cyprus, in the Formosan Straits – our firemen rush in, wheeling up all their heavy equipment, and resorting to every known method of containing and extinguishing the blaze. The crowd gathers – the usually successful efforts of our able volunteers are heartily applauded – and then the firemen rush off to the next conflagration, leaving the grateful but still stunned inhabitants to clean up the rubble, pick up the pieces and rebuild their homes with whatever resources are available (Kennedy, 1956).”
Since 1865, the American government has failed the black community by not offering the means for repair that it pours by the billions of dollars into other nations devastated by its presence. It has left black Americans, “grateful but still stunned.” The open conversation, far-reaching legislation, equitable reparation, and extensive education needed to correct the wrongs of the past has never been a part of the American government’s agenda. Today, we see some results of this continued negligence in protests, riots, and worse, the misappropriation of blame.
Racism is a fire burning ablaze scorching the earth of the American Republic. It is an inferno long-ago kindled by the American government’s failure to douse the resistance and succession of the Confederate south from the Union states. After the Civil War ended in 1865, states lost their right to enslave black Americans. The Confederacy continued to resist and oppress the freedoms of its former slaves. They enacted racist policies like the Black Codes designed to re-enslave their newly freed slaves and deny them equal rights under the law. Then, they formed a domestic terror organization known as the Ku Klux Klan with the sole purpose of maintaining white supremacy by any means and “without compromise (Kloran, 2020).” Today, remnants of the old south can be seen displayed on bumper stickers, in window storefronts, through the flying of Confederate flags, and police-protected municipality-permitted KKK marches.
As of 2019, there were 113 known white supremacist groups scattered across America and 940 hate groups (In 2019, We Tracked 940 Hate Groups Across the U.S., 2020) (White Nationalist, 2020). Longings for the old south can still be heard blaring from the mouths of those who still hold those times of legalized slavery near and dear to their hearts. Protests erupted across the world in favor of black lives after a civilian video was released of American police kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nine consecutive minutes causing his death. George Floyd’s death came after a string of over 413 recorded police-executed deaths of unarmed black men (Kirby, 2020). Yet, some Americans find it appropriate to blame George Floyd for his death. Some Americans blame the protesters and regard them as criminals.
The pervasive, explicit, and subliminal effects of racism have echoed over numerous generations snowballing into an avalanche of division amongst American peoples. Today, racism has infiltrated every facet of American culture. Its ugly countenance shows face in public health disparities, fair housing discrimination, unequal employment opportunities, legal injustices, banking resources differentiation, social inequities, and many, many other aspects of American society. For ALL black Americans, racism today affects their right to engage in otherwise normal activity without fearing that someone will take their lives for no other reason than the color of their skin. Making matters worse, racism provides for and encourages such bloodthirsty, barbaric, and savage activity by the lack of subsequent prosecution of its perpetrators. The heinous and brutal effects of racism are accepted, even rewarded by the system that is supposed to offer protection to ALL Americans against such persecution.
Racism is a clear and present danger to the peaceful fabric of American life. It is a siren that has been blaring since the first slave ship departed the Ivory Coast around 1619. Tensions have been boiling for 400+ years. In today’s political and social climate, there can only be two outcomes: (1) America acknowledges and corrects the negative effects that racism has had on the black community and we all move forward in unity as one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all, or (2) the nation witnesses the bloodiest, most wide-spread war on American soil to ever take place since its founding and we all find ourselves spiraling out of control in a land where no one is safe, everyone is enslaved by fear, and chaos orders the day. Is the risk of such anarchy worth continuing to deny that racism exists in America today and continues to be a major problem? Is the lust for the opportunity to oppress, rape, flog, whip, lynch, and slay black people across the globe so deeply ingrained that it is worth risking the reception of the same torture? To deny that racism exists in America today and is a major problem is a resounding answer of, yes. That denial is not a personal truth, it is a personal choice.
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In 2019, We Tracked 940 Hate Groups Across the U.S. (2020). Retrieved from Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/hate-map
Kennedy, J. F. (1956, June 1). JFK Library. Retrieved from John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum: https://www.jfklibrary.org/archives/other-resources/john-f-kennedy-speeches/vietnam-conference-washington-dc-19560601
Kirby, J. (2020, 06 12). Retrieved from Vox: https://www.vox.com/2020/6/12/21285244/black-lives-matter-global-protests-george-floyd-uk-belgium
Kloran. (2020, 07 01). Retrieved from University of Wisconsin-Madison: http://images.library.wisc.edu/WI/EFacs/WiscKKK/RiverFalls/KlanEphem/reference/wi.klanephem.i0004.pdf
Oxford. (2020, June 26). English and Spanish Dictionary, Thesaurus, and Spanish to English Translator. Retrieved from Lexico.com: https://www.lexico.com/en/definition/racism
White Nationalist. (2020). Retrieved from Southern Poverty Law Center: https://www.splcenter.org/fighting-hate/extremist-files/ideology/white-nationalist