Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Has Columbus Just Discovered Injustice, Too?

Yes, it could be that I've spent too much time discussing global capitalism's reliance on racism and the oppression and exploitation of people of color. Organizations and people who advocate for people of color and the poor, like ACORN, have been dismantled, disparaged, and dismissed. The Rev. Jesse Jackson led a march on Wall St as early as December 2007. (Boy, has it catch on!)

But now that the shit has hit the fan, and white unemployment is as high now, during this economic crisis, as black unemployment was low in 2007, you see fit to organize and Occupy Wall St. Now that even you, average white American, can be knocked around - but not shot and killed while handcuffed - by the police, you want to protest police brutality.

Great. Fine. Good. Finally!

But I really, really hope you're not just finding out that people in power can both break the law and use the law against you, are you? Is "today really... the most vivid expression seen in quite some time of the two-tiered justice system . . .; the real criminals are not only shielded from the law’s mandates, but affirmatively use it as an instrument to entrench themselves in power and protect their ill-gotten gains" (emphasis mine)? I guess I can cut Gllen Greenwald some slack. After all, he did qualify his statement with "in quite some time." And he is a civil rights attorney. And since he was talking specifically of NYC . . . well, I guess I can see how people blinded by their own privilege need things spelled out for them.

On the other hand, though, I hope "quite some time" doesn't mean "since the 60s." Cause black folks see a million different variations of this expression everyday. White America will jump through all sort of hoops - some on fire, others electrified - to maintain their privilege. Be it economic, political (as with the new crusade for voter IDs), or simply social. I'm sorry. Maybe I've been spending too much time thinking of the way America's wealth was created by the still unpaid labor of African slaves, but I can't believe the audacity of white America. Or even how so many want to go back to life as it was in the 50s, what with the government underwriting the expansion of the white middle class even as de jure and de facto racism keeps people of color "kettled." All that government assistance, the VA loans, the GI bill scholarships, the USDA loans to farmers - all of that was okay until the dreads 60s, when people of color would be able to get their fair piece of the pie.

It's like nothing really exists, no problem in wealth and income distribution, no problem with police actions, no problem with the status quo being protected even with violence, least of all not major hindrances based on race - none of that is a problem until it happens to a white person. And it's just incredibly frustrating to be vividly ignored.

I mean, once the economic calms down, and white unemployment goes back under 5%, will the Occupiers return to their lives while those of us who've been historically occupied remain to suffer?

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This isn't too complicated. If you disagree with me, I'm more than happy to have an honest discussion. I'm quite open to learning new facts and ideas. I'm dying for a conservative to explain their ideas in a sensible way.

But, I do have rules, and they also apply to those who agree with me. They just get the benefit of my already knowing the fact they'll be referring to.

So, here're the comment thread rules:

1 - Use facts.
2 - Refer to policy.
3 - Don't rely on theories and conjectures. Show me how, for example, a public health insurance option will lead to "rationing" of health care.
4 - No unfounded attacks on any entity.

If you break those rules, I will edit your comment to my own whimsical satisfaction.

Lastly, perhaps most importantly, I'm not going to entertain too much pro-white/racism-denying discussion. I want this to be a space to discuss strategies to fight racism, not space where I have to fight racism. I want anti-racists to be able to come here for a mental respite. If what you're interested in doing is attempting to demonstrate the fallacy of anti-racism by repeating the same ole comments and questions and accusations we hear all the time, please do that somewhere else.

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But Don't Jack My Genuis