The H3O/Art of Life Blog
Racism: Uprooting the Evil That Dwells Inside and Among Us
Updated: Aug 10, 2020
By Reverend Denise Tracy
Presented by Omni-University
Our country was founded on the idea of freedom. But there was a defect, a flaw, a fault, an inequity at the heart of this country’s formation. On Aug 20th 1619, 401 years ago, twenty slaves (sic) were brought to Jamestown, America. From that day on, our nation had a worm in its heart. Because 401 years ago, no one said, “Hey, this is the land of the free. Slavery is not allowed.” Because no one said "no", inequity after inequity was accepted. The acceptance of slavery meant that the labor of an entire group of people was used to build this nation’s economy. Because their labor was free, the slave owners gained monetary advantage that they felt was their due.
As the nation was forming, there were choice points when the few brave voices that dared to question the existence of slavery, were hushed. Backroom deals were made to say that owning people was an acceptable practice. In the musical Hamilton, one of the famous numbers is, “In the room where it happened.” From that backroom, the 3/5ths clause was created, so the South would be on an equal footing with the North in counting population. If someone is 3/5th of a [man], they can be counted, but they cannot vote.
One would think that fighting the Civil War to end slavery (sic) would have erased the inequality. But, Jim Crow kept people [of color] in place. In the modern years, many who served in the armed services did not receive the benefits of the GI bill or the lowered interest rates of GI home loans. "Red lining"* kept people of color from buying property . "White flight" often resulted if a family of color did manage to buy a house in a good neighborhood and their property lost value. I cite these things because all of us were born into a racist society.
How can a whole society be based on the idea that some people are worth less and, therefore, expendable? People of color have been telling us for decades that they have been harassed by police. Since this is not the experience of most white folks, people of color have not been believed. Phone cameras have proven what they have been experiencing. There may not be more police harassment of people of color but, with cell phone cameras, we now now have proof [that it exists]!
The marchers are coalescing, filling our streets and plazas. I hope that a new world is being born. The present unrest in our world is a crisis. Racism lives in us. We have to change ourselves as a first step. However, if we want a world of equity and equality, more is required. Here are some things we can do: 1. Find out whether your city’s Police Department has body cameras. If not,advocate for them. Create rules that require them to be used whenever officers [interact] with the public.
2. Does your city’s PD do de-escalation training? Make it standard and yearly. The same thing must be done with implicit bias training.
3. The Federal Law currently asks if a shooting: Is reasonable. Almost any shooting can be "reasoned". This question must be changed to: Was it necessary? Was there a verbal warning?
4. Advocate against" Mandatory Minimum Sentencing" on both state and local levels because sentencing is biased and racist.
5. Support State and Federal Criminal Justice Reform. Our prisons are filled with people of color. The United States contains 5% of the earth's population yet, we have 23% of the earth’s imprisoned people. African Americans are incarcerated five (5) times more often than Caucasian Americans. Facts do not lie.
6. [Identify] and don’t buy from companies that use prison labor. This is just another form of slavery.
7. When you see a post or an ad documenting racism, call the company. Complain. Be upset.
8. Make sure your home, school, and church have books with people of color as protagonists
9. Study and learn Black, Native American, And Asian History. Read Michelle Alexander’s "The New Jim Crow"; NiKole-Hannah Jones "The 1619 Project; Ta-Nehisi Coates, "The Case for Reparations", or "Between the World and Me";Howard Zinn’s "A People’s History of the United States.",etc.
10. Listen to the stories of discrimination of people of color. .
11. Donate to Charities that work against racism.
12. Join or start a "White Space" group, A Daughters of Abraham Book Group "or SURJ "Showing Up For Justice Group."
13. Monitor and change your own implicit biases.
14. Cultivate a multi cultural support group of friends, associates and colleagues. Build lives that are deliberately diverse. The Chinese calligraphy for crisis is made up of two figures--- danger and possibility. George Floyd’s death was horrifying. People had been stuck in our houses for 12 weeks thinking of the quality of our lives. Watching a man be murdered for $20 was a crisis that sparked a movement that has been 401 years in the making. I do not rejoice that it took so long or that it took such a horrible death of an innocent person to push us to action. However, the crisis of George Floyd’s senseless death has given birth to new possibilities. The Marches and civil unrest are giving way to a unified perspective. The young people and the woke people of the world are not going to let racism prevail. May we find that the current growing and widespread unrest leads to justice. May each of us grasp the possibilities of the current world and create our lives working to end the horror of racism. Whether we begin with ourselves and work outwards, or begin in activism and work inwards, matters not. We must be part of the end to the evil of racism.