These thoughts have been swimming in my head for a few days now, so I finally found time to put them down, and to open my thoughts up for discourse as well, on the topics of Tomi Lahren, Jesse Williams, and yes, that big fat elephant in the room of race.
Now, unless you've been living under a rock, or in some sort of media blackout, you've heard about the speech delivered by actor Jesse Williams at the BET Awards. If you haven't heard it yet, take a few moments and listen:
Now, let me start by saying that I don't watch BET, and I don't watch the BET Awards. However, it only took a few hours for me to hear about this speech, and to see the backlash in social media.
I had to stick my nose in to see what was up. I'm always intrigued by people who are making waves when it concerns social justice issues. I watched it and formed my own opinions on that, but I'll get to that in a moment. What brought me around to really thinking about this speech, and the surrounding issues is when a friend posted the following on Facebook:
"I cannot stand ppl that keep reminding us about color and who is to blame for their lot in life. Work hard, pay dues and stop complaining. Otherwise, you're offending your parents. Hate promotes hate. Education, surprisingly, eliminates ignorance. Stay in school kids."
Video courtesy of: World State Hip Hop Youtube
So my first thought when I read the post was,
"Well excuse me for making your serene life uncomfortable by reminding you that black people are still catching hell in the United States in 2016."
What I hear when I read that is someone who wants black people to sit and remain quiet with their lot in life.
People who don't want to be reminded about color, I would argue, are obviously a big part of the problem in America. Those are the same people who will tell you that racism doesn't exist anymore...usually following that up with a quick "We have a black president!"
Oh yes...Barack Obama was elected president and racism simply evaporated into the ether never to be encountered again. I wish that were the case. I wish that were the America we lived in. But it isn't. And to think that it is is the worst kind of ignorance...the willful kind.
That headline says it all for me. That headline is not unique to Chicago. That headline is from 2016. I'm pretty sure that the same finding was found when the Justice Dept. went in and investigated the Ferguson Police Department
That headline is from 2015.
So when you don't want to be reminded of color, you're actually saying that you want people to continue to be doormats, and to be victimized by those people who should actually be protecting them. Right? If there's hate being promoted in these situations, I would argue it's stemming from the actions of the people that Tomi Lahren accuses Jesse Williams of bashing. But what do I know, I'm not a windbag getting paid to pontificate on a 2nd string news network for an exorbitant amount of money.
To anyone who's been paying attention for years, the idea that the Chicago Police Department is plagued by systemic racism is a secret to no one. Whenever this topic, and perhaps debate on the topic, comes up, I only have 1 name to offer:
If you're not familiar with Jon Burge, allow me to offer you a quick mini-doc on the dirtbag:
Video courtesy of: Gretchen Hasse Youtube
A brief synopsis:
From 1972 to 1991, Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, along with officers and detectives working under his command, tortured over 100 African American suspects into giving false confessions.
The piece of shit did less than four years in prison, and walked away still receiving his pension.
Can you imagine someone, anyone, doing less than 4 years for torturing 100 White suspects and forcing them into false confessions?
Yet I digress...this all brings us back to Jesse Williams' speech at the BET Awards. I will say that I don't agree with everything he said, as I don't agree with everything that comes from the Black Lives Matter movement. However, I think he spoke a lot of truth. Yes, his words made a lot of people uncomfortable.
That's what activists do. That's what needs to be done to see real change come. If you're comfortable, then you're ok with the status quo, and the status quo in America right now sucks. If you don't see that, you're the dumb one, not me.
And finally, that brings me to Tomi Lahren. What can I say about this sad little lady? She obviously doesn't like black people, and I'm willing to bet if I met her, she'd quickly retort about having black friends. Yeah, that definitely means you're not racist...I feel ya...
I think Jesse Williams very accurately encapsulated exactly what I would say to Ms. Lahren, as well as my "friend" who posted the above quote:
"The burden of the brutalized is not to comfort the bystander. That's not our job...If you have no interest in equal rights for black people, then do not make suggestions to those who do."
The job of black people who want to see a greater sense of equity for black people in America aren't responsible with making you feel comfortable with your "whiteness." Don't be ashamed of it. Rather, use it to be an ally to the struggles of those who aren't as fortunate as you. What's wrong with that?
I know that this post has so many thoughts, and yes, I have so many more thoughts I could share, but I'm just gonna leave on this note:
"I cannot stand people who deny that racism still exists in 2016. Rather than criticizing, you should be working with those who are still suffering in 2016 so that they can find themselves on equal footing with you. Otherwise, you're hopefully offending your parents, but perhaps the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree. Blissful ignorance simply leaves you ignorant. Perhaps you need more education...or a new one. Educating yourself about the world as it is, outside of your home and your pretty little head, will help eliminate the ignorance that creates the problems we see in our society. I would encourage kids to stay in school, but up to this point it hasn't helped you much, so maybe it is for suckers."
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