How To End Racism
Who remembers the science experiment we all did during elementary school or maybe junior high? The one where we mixed insoluble (non-solvent) items, such as sand into water and compared it to soluble items such as sugar, again mixed into water. It was how we learned about the terms homogenous versus heterogeneous. The point of the experiment was to teach us that not all substances are meant to mix together. Rather, some often sustain their own identity no matter how much you try to mix them together.
I couldn’t be more grateful for my encounters in Omaha, Nebraska; for one very big reason. It was the first time I felt like a minority in my adult life as if I was unwanted in certain environments. Omaha is a microcosm for many parts of the United States of America… in fact, my personal experience likely resonates with others more often, considering what has surfaced since our 45th president began his campaign for office. We are living in a time of severe segregation, so severe that some people don’t recognize it as such. Society has built blinders to ignore what’s happening right before their eyes, which isn’t surprising considering we are only 54 years removed from the Jim Crow era. People actively choose to separate themselves because “it’s not my problem since I don’t partake in racist actions.”
AMERICA IS RACIST and yes, that is OUR problem.
Segregation may not be as overt as water fountains labeled “whites only” or separate schools for children of color… now it’s called mass incarceration, the war on drugs, and poverty. According to the federal prison bureau, there are currently 65,000+ POC serving prison time. Roughly 46% of them are behind bars for drug possessions (https://www.bop.gov/about/statistics/statistics_inmate_race.jsp) meanwhile a new recreational dispensary opens in California, Oregon, Las Vegas, or Denver every few weeks.
Omaha is the best example of racism because the segregation is so apparent and mostly accepted. It is as if the city is cut with an invisible race rope and only one race is allowed within the designated areas. For example, North Omaha is predominantly black. South Omaha is predominantly Hispanic, and West Omaha is where everyone else (wypipo, a sprinkle of Asians, and a growing east Indian population) cohabitated. Now, Webster defines racism as a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race. You read that right… the color of your skin determines how “human” you are and how much you can achieve.
Racism is as simple as being followed through a beauty supply store because the owners think you’ll steal. It’s getting shot with your hands up because people instantly fear you when they see you. Its constantly having to check the white privilege comments that appear from your high school classmates on Facebook. It is finding out that those same people you valued as your peers are in fact, not supportive of peaceful protesting at a sporting event. There reason being: “symbolism” i.e. A FLAG AND THE TROOPS WHO FOUGHT/ARE FIGHTING FOR IT MATTER MORE THAN BLACK PEOPLE. It’s seeing #AllLivesMatter as a constant reminder that your life doesn’t matter.
I bet you all are wondering what that elementary science experiment has to do with all of this. What if we aren’t supposed to mix? Rather than begging the world to view people of color as equal, what if we are the sand and water that may never be soluble when mixed together. Would that change your perspective or approach when it comes to “ending racism?” Perhaps, it is not about fighting for equality but rather addressing the issue with a new approach. Acknowledging that there is a deep seeded psychological superiority/ inferiority complex built into humans. Would you continuously argue with a mentally disabled person if you know they may never be able to comprehend your experience? That’s what we look like when we argue with racists.
I challenge each of you to find ways to support black-owned businesses, not just because it’s February. Your time is better spent supporting your peers: designers, banks, grocery stores, your friends with blogs (dassss me), podcasts and everything else black owned that you can find. We don’t have to continue to survive in a white world, instead, let’s make our world black. We can sustain our own identity rather than try to mix into a society we don’t fit in.