We have no problem talking about racism and prejudice in America. In actuality, the problem we have is that the majority defines what is or isn't racist or prejudice.
This is inherently problematic because it doesn't eradicate oppression. Rather, it merely allows the oppressors to dictate how much oppression they are comfortable with.
Ultimately America has never shed the philosophical belief that the White Christian male is the ultimate pinnacle of authority. Every single freedom that minorities in America have achieved have come from having to erode the immoral excuses used to balance the ethical conscience of the White male authority. Freedoms have never come because of an ethical awakening. Rather, they have come about at times when the majority could no longer mitigate the excuses that necessitated a particular fallacious hierarchal structure.
There is no better evidence for the lack of equality in America than the sheer annoyance by White America at the suggestion that inequality exists. This permeates every aspect of American culture. If one expresses discontent in the lack of Black actors nominated for film awards the majority cries out it isn't racism it is simply the effect of a lack of Black actors in Hollywood. Or when one says, "I do not hate that there is a Black president, I just hate THAT Black president. Therefore, that doesn't make me racist."
What this fails to acknowledge or even recognize is that the fact there is a limited few number of Black actors or that there has only been one Black president is the exact crux of the problem and fundamental complaint minorities are trying to express.
White America loves to say that they should not be made to feel white guilt because of slavery. True, no contemporary person alive has ever owned a slave and I would say that 99% agree slavery represents a complete degradation of humanity and moral virtue. Yet, White America has no problem enjoying the modern advantages that are remnants of the days of slavery. Not necessarily, by willing choice, rather by convenient ignorance.
Over the years people tried to condone oppressiveness by pseudo-scientific perversion and the suggestion that biological anomalies sanctioned subjugation. Clearly, that had to be the reason. Since all men were created equal was a foundational belief of the American existence, inequality must be because others were less than men... less than human.
Slowly, but surely, disproportionate valuation of human life has been chipped away, however, every single notch was won under the precedent that social evolution comes by the sword and not by the heart.
Indeed, as a people, we are better than we were 241 years ago. However, there is no clearer evidence that inequality still exists than the fact that if a person or group says they desire equality they are admonished and demonized as being a crypto-oppressor. It is said that their equality they desire is actually to take from others. It is said that the equality minorities seek are actually handouts or welfare.
Now, even if that was true, that means that the underlying truth, in-prisoned in the American subconscious, never to be acknowledged is that the hand that feeds controls the food.
In reality, equality has never and will never come from handouts. To accept a handout is an acknowledgment of inferiority. It is to accept that you always be fed by another hand, and never control the food yourself. Additionally, it is a willingness to take on a degree of voluntary oppression with a smile on your face. Because you do not bite the hand that feeds you.
The suggestion that the equality means a handout or means to take something from one person and give to another, is simply another type of fallacious excuse used to justify inaction.
Equality means just that. Equal parts opportunity and freedom. It means that given a level playing field, all parties involved, have equally proportional chances for success.
In truth, Americans have no problem celebrating the belief of freedom. However, we have very little understanding of what freedom actually is.
To some degree, this originates from the initial establishment of the United States. One has to wonder why there was such a dystonic state of incompatible beliefs in America's formation. With one hand they wrote that all men were created equal and had an inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Then with the other hand, they clasp shackles around the wrist of brown bodies. From the very beginning freedom and equality was defined by an exclusionary clause that meant not everyone was supposed to be free.
The cold hard reality is that true freedom is a mythological fantasy under the current framework we exist in. We fly the banner of democracy as if it was our manifest destiny to be the leader of the free world. Yet, in reality, the only democracy we have is an elective establishment based on forced choice solutions.
"Come bask in the glory of having free will over your governance by choosing one of these two selections we have prepared for you."
David would have no better chance of being President, much less King, in America today than I would. The only comparable attribute David would enjoy is that indeed, it would be a poor farmer and shepherd's son in the field fighting the battles.
This is one of the most significant reasons why 99% of the majority dismisses the protests by minorities in America. They say there is no White privilege because in their own lives they too feel the bitter taste of misfortune. The sad reality is this is indeed true. 99% of the majority feels the weight of a different kind of oppression. However, this weight has existed for so long it has become a growth that is simply assumed to be a part of the body.
99% of us exist under a glass ceiling, only for some the ceiling is higher than it for others. For the majority, the vaulted glass ceiling has existed for so long and is just high enough, that we believe we can reach the sky.
Of course, the staggering of elevation in people's ability to achieve success is absolutely by design.
Consider for a moment that you have a pack of dogs. Some of your pack are inside dogs and some of your pack stays outside. The inside dogs enjoy the perks of temperate climate so that you, the owner, can enjoy the virtues of their existence. They give you comfort whenever you so desire it and they keep the inside safe and free from intruders.
The outside dogs provide you the same sanctity of security for the exterior of your home. Additionally, they're part of your pack. Sure you picked some of them up as puppies and in hindsight maybe you really shouldn't have brought them home. But it seemed like a great idea at the time. You don't want to just kill them now, however, you're not so inclined to bring them inside the house either.
Now, the inside dogs also serve another invaluable purpose. Should the outside dogs ever get the wild idea they are sick of eating dog food, the inside dogs put them in their place.
"What?!?! Look how great you've got it! You could be homeless on the streets! You should be thankful you don't have to hunt for your food! You know there are a whole lot of dogs out there that don't even have a yard to roam around in! If you don't like it why don't you just leave!"
At the end of the day, the dog food inside and outside is exactly that... dog food. The heaping of Ole Roy is just more palatable for the inside dogs because they enjoy it without any threat rain on their heads and thus the drum major instinct survives.
Ultimately, it's still dog food. No one in the pack, inside or outside, has any control over what kind, when, or how much they will be fed.
Is this bleak reality merely just that? Reality. No... or at least it doesn't have to be.
In order to ever have meaningful and legitimate freedom and equality, a new majority must emerge. This majority must be inclusive of all of the 99% eating dog food. So long as we bark, growl, and fight with each other we simply keep greasing the wheels that move the machine we have now.
The lines of racial majority and minority must be eradicated to for this new majority to exist. Of course, this is far more easy said than done. Hence, why this is exactly how most assume racial equality actually happens.
"We're all color blind now! Hallelujah racism is dead!" Sorry friends that merely goes back to paragraph one where the racial majority determines what is or isn't racism.
Instead, we have to make the conscious decision to enter a relationship with each other as people.
Just like every successful relationship, we must enter it with intent to have respect for each other. The cornerstone of respect is that we must be willing to listen to each other.
Listening to each other by no way means we will always agree nor will be all like everything we hear. Again, we have to enter a relationship with each other, not become like one with each other.
Assuredly, we all have been in relationships were we loved another person, yet didn’t agree or like everything about them. Hell, my five-year-old son loves playing Minecraft, while I could care less about what appears to me to be a nonsensical and endless game. However, I still love my son to the point that I would die for him.
Amazingly, this unconditional affection for our fellow man we also inherently share. Countless men and women have fought and even died in the armed forces of America. Not a single one of them did so under the precedent they were only defending one racial or ethnic. They wouldn’t even have that option if they wanted to, because from an exterior view we already are all under one umbrella of subsistence.
North Korean leader, Kim Jong isn’t threatening to nuke all the White people in the U.S. No… he seems content on being a fair and impartial disseminator of death and destruction across all racial lines.
So we don’t have to always agree or even like everything about each other, but we do have to respect each other for this relationship to exist. Respect each other to listen to each other. When an element in the relationship has a concern we need to listen to that concern. We cannot continue to fall into the trap of dismissing under the assumption that concerns bear no merit. Rather, that is exactly the processes in which we have crept along ensuring the continued permeation of racial inequality.
Does listening to another’s concerns automatically mean their concerns are correct? No, it doesn’t. Rather, it means you respect them. Again, this is a relationship. No concern has ever been solved in any of our personal relationships by ignoring or dismissing our partner’s concerns. If we counter one’s concerns with a concern of our own, that merely is the beginnings of a full blown fight, where now no one cares anything about the initial concern, rather they care only about winning the battle through bloody verbal combat if need be.
When you listen to someone’s trepidations the respect you put forth is then responded in kind. Thus creating a relationship of mutual respect. In mutually respectful relationships, obstacles, hardships, concerns, and even past indiscretions can be worked out, in order to find meaningful solutions.
Do we have any incentive to formulate relationships of mutual respect with our fellow persons?
Yep… sure do. Two big ones.
What is the single thing that causes two people to stay in a dysfunctional relationship? The children. Let’s stay together for the kids.
However, in our relationship we don’t HAVE to stay together for the kids. Rather, we should want to stay together for the kids. Your kids; my kids; all of our kids; our children.
We should desire to see our children live in a world that is better than the one they were born into.
What is the other incentive? Freedom… real freedom. Legitimate freedom for everyone. The kind of freedom in which large financial corporations are not consider to be themselves a singular sentient body of existence who’s needs and desires are of the upmost importance. The kind of freedom in which a kid in the inner-city of Detroit, the suburbs of Dallas, or the lofty high-rises of Manhattan, success is only stifled by their desire to dream and willingness to achieve.
At the end of the day, I’m not saying every kid will grow up to be an astronaut. However, I am saying that right now every kid doesn’t believe they could ever be an astronaut no matter how hard they try.
The founding fathers can be hypocrites when they said they believed all people were created equal. However, that doesn’t mean that they ever wrote that for themselves. Instead, they very easily could be hypocritical prophets. Writing the words of our destiny. In the end, that choice is up to us. Or we can keep enjoying dog food and slowly evolve to survive.