Take A Bite: Charlottesville and Facing Racism In The U.S.
Take A Bite is a series here on Invoking Joy where I share links from around the web that relate to the most recent article. However, today is different. Today I want to use this space to share information about what happened this weekend.
The events that played out this weekend are exactly what so many feared during elections.
White supremacists and neo-nazis are marching with tiki torches with no repercussions while BLM protesters were met by Swat teams for their peaceful protests. Do not forget that. This isn't a coincidence.
Hatred is boiling to the surface. And I'll be the first to admit how naive and unaware the extent of racism ran in our country. But I took the time to listen and learn and I hope you do too. When we allow racist jokes and micro-aggressions to take place it makes room for larger ones to build and build. Saying nothing in these situations is as good as saying that it is okay. And it is NOT.
These people are rallying because of the removal of a statue. A statue of a man who is an icon of oppression and violence.
They see how they benefit from the tipping of the scales. They feel that equality means they will become oppressed too, that they will lose power, that they will lose footing on their social standing.
And that is scary. It's scary that they need to bring others so low to hold themselves up. It's scary how invested they are in these feelings of being, and staying, "superior". It's scary how little they feel towards another human being. It's scary how threatened they feel by others just wanting basic human rights.
It's easy to not see this when we live in predominantly white communities, surrounded by our predominantly white friends, family, and coworkers, and consume media reflecting back predominantly white stories and experiences.
But once you learn our country's history oppressing others, our history of keeping people of color down in any way we humanely can, our history of profiting off of the very backs of people of color... and continue to this day. You'll see how not so much has changed over the years. You'll see just how much the scales are tipped in our favor. You'll see how much we target these empowerment movements and strategically cut them down by taking out their leaders, thought-leaders who just wanted to care for their communities.
So please start speaking up when someone makes a joke and sharing these stories so they stay at the top of everyone's mind. Donate your time and money when you can... and where it's wanted.
Racism isn't just a part of our past it's very much a part of our current lives and awareness of that is critical.
Please read and watch what I've shared below. Take time to process and think critically about them. Recognize that this is only one small sampling of information. There is so much more to learn, this is just a starting point.
Links on Facing Racism
While there were undoubtedly more white men at the “Unite the Right” rally, which was organized by neo-Nazi Richard Spencer, it is essential that we recognize that white women have always benefitted from white supremacy, and therefore played an integral role in upholding it.
White supremacy is indeed rooted in racism and misogyny ― but white women have historically enabled racism even if it came with the cost of misogyny, and on Saturday in Charlottesville, many yet again chose to maintain their white privilege by choosing subordination to white men over solidarity with people of color.
While fewer people may consider themselves racist, racism itself persists in our schools, offices, court system, police departments, and elsewhere. Think about it: when white people occupy most positions of decision-making power, people of color have a difficult time getting a fair shake, let alone getting ahead. Bottom line: we have a lot of work to do.
“Imprisonment makes the disadvantaged literally invisible,” writes Harvard sociologist Bruce Western in his book, "Punishment and Inequality in America." Western was among the first scholars to argue that America has locked up so many people it needs to rethink how it measures the economy.
Over the past 40 years, the prison population has quintupled. As a consequence of disparities in arrests and sentencing, this eruption has disproportionately affected black communities. Black men are imprisoned at six times the rate of white men. In 2003, the Bureau of Justice Statistics estimated that black men have a 1 in 3 chance of going to federal or state prison in their lifetimes.