Over a century ago, W.E.B. Dubois observed the relationship between the Black and White man.
He states, “Daily the Negro is coming more and more to look upon law and justice, not as protecting safeguards, but as sources of humiliation and oppression.
The laws are made by men who have little interest in him; they are executed by men who have absolutely no motive for treating the black people with courtesy or consideration; and, finally, the accused law-breaker is tried, not by his peers, but too often by men who would rather punish ten innocent Negroes than let one guilty one escape.”
Dubois wrote this in his observation titled, “The Souls of Black Folks,” in 1903, and today, over a century later, this same concept applies. Daily, Blacks observe institutional and systemic racism, a system that sets them back economically, socially, and politically.
Due to the new Jim Crow, which can be defined as a system that perpetuates racism by the lack of educational diversity, and the protection of White people fundamentally, institutional and systemic racism continues to unfortunately prosper producing a ubiquitously racial driven system that operates on its inherent invisibility of the problems of Black Americans today.
The paradigmatic movement of on campus Black protests began in 1969, when students from Cornell University’s Afro-American Society protested against the university’s harsh disciplining of Black students who had encouraged and advocated for the start of an African studies course and research center.
Now, over forty-six years later, the minority continues to remain competent in their argument as they protest for their right to exist on a college campus free of racial discrimination. The fact that students who protested in Borchuck Plaza recently were meet with a gorilla mask, noose, and confederate flag as they silently protested, shows how the college system continues to operate in its inherent invisibility of the problems associated with Black students.
And many of the students who took the suspect student’s side argued that Black students wish to “prohibit” others freedom of speech, and “cry racism” whenever they deem it to be appropriate. However, the idea that Black college students who ask not to be provoked with Blackface on Halloween or not to be called the N-word as they walk through campus or to be presented with professors that resemble their heritage are somehow seeking to destabilize the authority and importance of the Bill of Rights shows a poor understanding of American History. If the defense of freedom means always defending the right of White people to engage in racial irresponsibility at the expense of minorities, then perhaps to some freedom comes one race at a time.
Robin DiAngelo coined the phrase “White Fragility,” the idea that the protection of White people fundamentally will continue to perpetuate a “system that socially separates Blacks from Whites.” The idea that racism in the Black community affects those in the culture directly because the fact that it happened at a geographically remote location or to another Black person is only a coincidence and too could just as easily happen to another Black person.
For some, it is hard to comprehend the fact that Black people think in terms of “we, or us” because they live in a society where the social, economic, and political structures interact with Black people as a whole. For Whites “cultural ‘we’ or ‘us’ doesn’t exist because White’s have the privilege to interact with the social, economic, and political structures as individuals.
Racial opposition and oppression that affects them locally, doesn’t affect them regionally or nationally. Due to a system that ignores the problems of minority communities Whites then have the privilege to benefit from that system. Furthermore, the fact that when some Whites are called out for their ignorance towards racism or privilege they feel like their personal character is attacked. Without being able to make that differentiation, White people in general decide to vigorously defend their own personal non-racism, or point out that it doesn’t exist because they don’t see it – thus proving that White privilege exist.
The old Jim Crow was slavery, the use of the N-word, white water foundations and the back of the bus; that was post-reconstruction racism. However today, during the modern-day Jim Crow, racism is a cop severing the spine of an innocent young Black man.
Racism is a 12 year-old child being shot for playing with a toy gun in a state where it is legal to openly carry firearms. Racism is Black students being removed from universities because they are deemed a distraction because they are tired of fighting for their right to be treated as a human being.
Racism is the fact that White is normal and that anything else is different. Racism is our acceptance of an all-white “The Lord of the Rings” cast because of “historical accuracy,” ignoring the fact that “The Lord of the Rings” is in fact entirely fictionalized.
Even when people make stuff up, they want it to be white. That is racism. Living every single day with institutionalized racism and then having to argue its very existence, is tiring, and saddening, and angering. Yet if any Black person expresses any emotion while talking about racism they are called angry.
A key element in any racial argument in America is the angry Black person. The angry Black persona invalidates any and all opinions about racism because to some, Blacks are playing the race card. Or even worst, they are told that they are being racist. However, what the opposition doesn’t realize is that a systematically oppressed demographic cannot have the ability to oppress those in power.
Nonetheless, that’s the irony of it all, and what all “angry Black people,” and what some White’s know — the entire discussion of race in America centers around the protection of White feelings. To some White people the realism of thousands of innocent people raped, shot, imprisoned, and systematically disenfranchised are less important than the suggestion that a single White person could be racist. Because the ‘racism’ talk never happens and the existence of racism is often rejected, racism unfortunately thrives.
Black America has unswervingly provided the moral compass and blueprint for a country in which some of its White faction has consistently, more or less, asked them to leave and to sadly pay the price through old and new Jim Crow. By ignoring problems that occurs within and to the Black community, America has thus let institutional and systemic racism thrive from the depths of slavery to now.
And perhaps Blacks should leave and go back to the motherland in which they are celebrated for their Blackness instead of living in a country where they are ridiculed and murdered for something they have no will or control over. However, they can’t – America was built on the hinds and backs of Black ancestors and is a masterpiece that every race should share. Who would abandon their masterpiece? For a people denied property, privileges, rights, and the opportunity to flourish in a nation that they were brought to, this land is their home just as much as any other race.
Their deeds and receipts are written in blood that still flows out of brutality, racism, abuse, and corruption. America is a home that we all must fix and without a clear foundation we all will stink. Though, America as a proxy for Whiteness has never thought to speculate this, Black America does. And it could be that because of some White’s inability for Blackness to breathe and live is why America for some Blacks, isn’t home.