Confronting the Denial of American White Racism (Part 3 of 4)

The Protests will NOT Stop!

On Tuesday evening, I joined the distressed voices of many freedom fighters protesting the brutal murder of Stephon Clark by the Sacramento Police Department. We converged upon city hall to confront SacPD, the mayor, and the city council, letting them know, in a way that we (the people) deemed necessary, we will no longer stand for the intimidation, violation, brutalization, and killing of our neighbors, especially those of color. As has been well documented, America has a history of oppressing communities of color through city, county and state police units. The citizens of Sacramento, CA want to make it abundantly clear: NO ON OUR STREETS! This ain’t Alabama; this ain’t Mississippi, or any of those other good ole’ boy, backwoods, country, down home states; this is California, and we will act by any means necessary before we allow state executions in our streets—any means necessary!

“If someone puts their hands on you make sure they never put their hands on anybody else again.” – Malcolm X

One thing said in the council meeting stuck out to me: “…this is NOT a civil rights issue; this is a human rights issue”, said one open-forum commenter and mother of a murdered teen. It made me think about the history of this country and its hostility toward people of color protesting human/civil injustice. In 1963, 60% of Americans (and 70% of whites) said that civil rights demonstrations were a hindrance to the advancement of colored people (Gallup, 1963). Author, Tim Wise, says, “In effect this means that most white people believed they knew black folks’ needs better than actual black people did (Wise, 2018).” In sociological scholarship, this is often called: ‘white paternalism’. It has its foundation in 15th – 19th century American, plantation race relations. White slave owners, families, and staff, saw black slaves as children that needed boundaries, needed to be watched over, have limited freedom, be policed, scolded, constantly taught, civilized, controlled, and punished even. You will often see the descendants of white paternalists employ their learned rhetoric on social media. Just go and look at the comments on Facebook and Twitter of some of these news agencies reporting on the protests throughout this country—it’s sick, paternalistic, and often racist!

“It seems the only way to gain attention today is to organize a march and protest something.” – Rev. Dr. Billy Graham

In 1964, three in four Americans (including non-whites), said blacks should stop protesting for their rights (Gallup, 1964). (Tim Wise suggests that well over 80% of whites agreed.) So, history shows us that white racism deniers believed that the best way to handle human/civil injustice was to do nothing…? Black people were denied basic human/civil rights and we are being told, by even non-whites, that the best thing to do is nothing—just passively endure it. This is, yet another, clear example of how most whites in America have historically sided with white supremacy, even convincing some people of color that their best defense is little to no defense at all (the colonizer attempting to disempower the colonized).

“In the same way that Occupy Wall Street forever elevated that concept of income inequality, the Black Lives Matter protesters have elevated the idea of inequity in policing as it relates to minority communities.” – Charles M. Blow, American Journalist

According to a Lou Harris polling group, in 1966, 85% of whites felt that civil/human rights demonstrations did more harm than good, and even went as far as to suggest that if they were in the position of black people, they would not think it justified to protest (Wise, 2018). These are the same people that one year later said that Dr. King’s efforts were actually harming the black community’s cause and that black people would be better off “taking advantage of the opportunities they have already been given” instead of protesting. (This coming from the descendants of the Boston Tea Party, 1773.) Essentially, take what we (white supremacists) give you, lace up your bootstraps, and shut up—this is the mind of white denial, white racism, white paternalism, and white supremacy; the mind of the colonizer. White denial wants you to pretend that there is no issue, nothing to fight for or against; it wants you to put down your guard and accept your plight in life; it’s not concerned with equality, and this mindset is certainly not concerned with social equity; it’s more so concerned with maintaining the status quo—white supremacy and control. Moreover, it wants to normalize racial and social oppression in effort to fly under the radar as it continues to build the white economy and white power socio-political structures. These are the effects of the white ethics of control, the denial of white racism, and white paternalism. And these are all conscious/subconscious reasons white deniers have historically wanted human/civil rights protests to stop. These protests raise awareness; they shift the tide; disrupt the system; alter the narrative; loosen social-control; organize communities; empower people; tear down hegemony, and give voice to marginalized groups.

“Black boys became criminalized. I was in constant dread for their lives, because they were targets everywhere. They still are.” – Tony Morrison

White denial wants us to stop the protest; it wants us to simply sit back, accept our lot in life, say ‘it is what it is’, and just move on, business as usual. Well, we can’t do that any longer. It’s now time out across this nation for these passive mentalities in the face of public executions and police brutality—we are fighting back! The woman in the chamber on Tuesday was right: this is not about civil rights as much as it is about human rights, and right now, America is devolving deeper into an abyss of dehumanization. We will not stand for it! We will fight for human freedom; human dignity, and human life! We are not convinced by white deniers, nor white paternalists; we definitely have something worth fighting for.

“White folks have always wished black people would stop fighting for their rights, no matter how truncated those rights were at the time.” – Tim Wise

The protests will NOT stop! Say his name: Stephon Clark!

T.K.E.G. (Think – Know – Experience – Grow)
~My 2 Cents~

Read Part 1 here.
Read Part 2 here.
Read Part 4 here.

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