Election year is here and how sad that many in our country seem to be determined to do anything to ensure that we “get rid of that black man in office.” Even here in “progressive” Portland, OR, I hear people holding up President Obama as an end to institutionalized racism.
Allow me to introduce the definition of Racism and I say emphatically that the words Racism, Prejudice, and Bigot are not interchangeable.
Racism: “A system of advantage based on race” (David Wellman). I also have to give a nod to Beverly Tatum here for introducing me to Wellman. Racism contains prejudice, but its implications are far more dangerous. Racism has the element of institutional and systematic power. While many white people are not active racists on an individual level, white people certainly benefit from institutionalized racism. Even today, if one looks at access to schools, resources, jobs, housing, and healthcare, we are looking at a sad imbalance and pathetic distribution of power.
The disproportionality of African-Americans in the criminal system (or what I like to refer to as the Injustice System) is not a coincidence. The laws we have were created by white people to sustain a white power structure–is it really that difficult to grasp this? Look at Alabama and the newly constructed laws against the Latino population.
Let us revisit the current election year. Newt Gingrich seems to believe he knows what is best for black people, if they would just get a job and get off welfare–I think Newt and Donald Trump are drinking from the same pot of tea. Then we have multi-millionaire Mitt “It is so nice to see so many white faces here” Romney who is okay with black folk now because the Mormon church said it was okay in 1978. Ron (Do you like my white hood) Paul, who said:
Boy, it sure burns me to have a national holiday for Martin Luther King. I voted against this outrage time and time again as a Congressman. What an infamy that Ronald Reagan approved it! We can thank him for our annual Hate Whitey Day.
And do I really need to even say anything about Rick (the P is silent) Santorum?
I would love to see a point in history when we don’t need a Black History Month, Women’s History, or an LGBT History Month, but I don’t see that happening until we have a level playing field, which would require eradicating racism, misogyny, and homophobia. This also means we see accurate representation in history books of Blacks, Women, and LGBT folk. Today I celebrate the beginning of Black History Month.