Current race relations in America (a potentially unpopular view)
I don’t subscribe to the views of most black people. In fact, I may be the only black person who thinks the way I think and feels the way I feel about race relations in this country. Nevertheless, I’m a black woman living in America and I will say what I feel. My opinion is just as valid as anyone else’s.
The most recent incident of racism is the shooting in Charleston. Anyone who claims that it is not racism in any way is a flipping idiot. A white man walked into a black church, sat down with the people for an hour, and then proceeded to kill as many of them as he could. It doesn’t matter what he allegedly said. It doesn’t matter what his Facebook profile (that has since been taken down) said. It doesn’t matter what all his relatives say about his burgeoning interest in white supremacy. The facts clearly tell us that a white man, who was not a congregant of the black church, walked in and deliberately stole the lives of 9 innocent people.
But I don’t believe his actions are representative of the majority of white people. Most white people in America are not “white supremacists” and stand in solidarity with black people against injustice. While America has moved beyond government-sanctioned racism, it doesn’t mean that racism in American no longer exists.
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you know that I have always struggled to fit in with the black community. I don’t harbor views that make me leery of every white person I come across. In fact, I embrace many white people who enter my life. They have accepted me and made me feel like a person instead of a woman with a dark skin color. All of my bridesmaids (save my maid of honor) were white. My husband is white. The majority of my friends are white. I have many white acquaintances. I have rarely felt racially threatened by a white person. When I dislike someone, the color of their skin usually doesn’t factor into it. It often stems from the fact that I think they are idiots, ignorant, or inconsiderate.
Racism in America has escalated to a high level because of the media constantly shoving supposedly race-related incidents down our throats. Not every incident against a black person is directly race-related. (Notice I used the word “directly.)
Recently (within the past year or so), we’ve had a lot of incidents involving white police and black victims. A white policeman does something stupid and a black person usually suffers at the hands of the cop. As a friend (who is white) mentioned, there may be a subconscious element of racism. In America, we engineered to be leery of black people because they are often seen as “criminals” or untrustworthy. For me, it’s all about dress. If a dude (white or black) is dressed with a bandana over his head, has a baggy T-shirt on, and his pants are sagging down so you can see his Calvin Kleins, I will cross the street to avoid him. Again if a dude (white or black), is dressed professionally or even in a casual manner that appears non-threatening, I will remain on the same sidewalk. Appearance does matter.
Getting back to the white police versus black victims, I think a lot of these situations are the result of a majority of white men being cops who police predominantly black communities. As a result, there are often clashes between the two, so when a fatality occurs, it’s automatically branded as a race-related incident. I don’t believe these white cops wake up in the morning thinking, “I’m gonna kill a [insert N-word here] today.” No. These cops wake up willing to perform their duties, and when an incident occurs in area that is in or close to the inner city, some cops (again who tend to be white) act rashly, leading to the unfortunate deaths of black people.
I don’t believe the murder of many of these black victims is premeditated. But I do think we have a lot cops who are complete morons and should never have been allowed to serve.
Throughout American history, mostly in the 20th and 21st centuries, clashes between black people and white policemen have been common. Before, it was government sanctioned or government allowed. While these kinds of incidents are not as common as they used to be, there are still far too many problems occurring.
Does racism against black people in America still exist? Yes, absolutely. Are there cops who are racist? Yes, absolutely. But I think we need to do better as a country to improving race relations. White cops need to bridge the divide and reach out to black communities. Get to know them so that when an incident occurs, the first cry isn’t racism. The first cry is “most white cops aren’t like this in our community.”
Black people need to reach across the aisle too. Approaching a cop is always scary. But again, if a police officer appears non-threatening, simply smile or make a comment about his willingness to protect the community. The police are people too. They are under a lot of stress—far more than most people can imagine. A bright spot in their day can make a difference in how they respond to situations. Often when someone is in military uniform, people thank them for their willingness to serve and protect our country. Why can’t we begin to do the same for a police officer in uniform too?
Easing tension between blacks and police is a 2-way street. Maybe my ideas for bridging the gap aren’t the best. But we’ve got to start thinking of ways to improve race relations in this country instead of implementing self-segregation. White people are NOT the enemy. And if we embrace the ones who embrace us, we can begin to weed out the ones who want to harm us.