haven’t heard from me since the Ferguson street actions ended.
A lot has happened since 2014 but not a lot has happened to actualize
your commitment to racial justice. We still need to create the
regional transformational change called for by the Ferguson
major political and cultural shift to the right came with the
election of Donald Trump as the 45th U.S. president. We’re
coming up on the fifth anniversary of the Ferguson Uprising. This
year will mark the 400th anniversary of my people’s kidnapping
to these shores. How are we assessing our past and applying the
hard-learned lessons to our future?
White People letter
to you in 2014, you got a compressed history primer on how racism
infects all of us. I encouraged you to challenge the racist status
quo particularly as it is manifested in police and court practices. I
reminded you that the social justice movement is as much about
changing hearts and minds as it is about changing laws and policies.
incidents of white supremacy have reared their ugly heads too many
times in the last few years. And there’s been a bit of
backsliding by white folks who said they wanted to confront the
systemic evils – until it meant confronting their own implicit
biases and white privilege. All this compels me to revisit the part
about “changing hearts and minds” in my first letter.
day after the so-called election of Trump, hate crimes made a jump
and are now up 17 percent. They’ve been increasing every year
since, but these are only the reported incidents. The general public
sees the few that receive national attention like the neo-Nazi deadly
attack on non-violent protestors in Charlottesville.
president has encouraged hate and violence from the White House bully
pulpit (emphasis on bully). Anyone who is not a white, straight
Christian has a bull’s eye on their backs. People of color,
Muslims, LGBTQ community members, activists face serious,
life-threatening risks on the streets and on campuses, and at their
workplaces and places of worship.
supremacy and hate of “the other” is being normalized by
Trump, emboldening white folks who already shared his views on making
America white again. You know these people. You are related to these
mission is to courageously engage family, friends, co-workers, church
members and your other associations in civil discourse and education
around the difficult issue of racism and white privilege. Don’t
underestimate the importance of this mission.
are more comparisons of our current president and circumstances to
Hitler and Nazism than with any other president in my lifetime. This
country is at the precipice of a slippery slope towards fascism.
racist fear-mongering and scapegoating by Trump – along with
putting people and policies in place to carry out his ideological,
demonic wishes – are not new. Repressing free speech and
controlling a national narrative is not new. These are actions of
dictators who fear democracy. This should be scary.
mantra of white people waving the anti-racist banner is to work
towards a re-alignment of political power that’s fair and
inclusive. This means a rejection of policies and practices that harm
my first Dear White People letter, I assured you that what black
folks want for their families is no different from what you want for
your loved ones. That’s still true.
Lives Matter can’t just be trendy or rhetorical. It’s
easy to post a yard sign or wear a button. We’re talking
transformation here, from the micro (personal) to the macro
(societal). It means challenging the criminalization of black bodies
and black communities. It means divesting in the over-policing and
mega-incarceration of Black people and investing in black communities
and black futures.
a movement underfoot led by Rex Sinquefield, Republican billionaire,
to create a regional apartheid structure. The city-county merger will
be up for a statewide vote. Missouri voters are mainly white, and
they need to be fully informed of the measure’s consequences
for black and poor people.
date, the progress of white folks towards building an equitable
society could use a boost. Racial disparities abound in every quality
of life facet. It’s time for some meaningful breakthroughs.
a time for white allies to be bold and unflinching. Black folks got
was originally published by The St. Louis American.