Twitter is always the place where anything can smack you in the face. Fake celebrity deaths. Political news. Racism.
You get used to it after awhile.
Interacting with friends, strangers, and strangers who become friends is a great thing.
Sometimes I learn and sometimes I educate. I primarily use my Twitter to do just that.
So for a few times this week #WhyDoBlackPeople was a trending topic.
#WhyDoBlackPeople get their nails done instead of feeding their kids?
#WhyDoBlackPeople get angry when I say nigger when they say it in their songs?
#WhyDoBlackPeople want stuff for free instead of getting a damn job? #Obamacare
Blatant racist and discriminatory tweets were filling the feed.
After reading the feed for five minutes I started creating my own tweets.
Instantly someone in my feed had a response back. They began to reply back.
Told me I didn't know what oppression was.
Told me my people "weren't oppressed" anymore.
Told me that I needed to get over racism and stop talking about it.
Told me that my history of dealing with racism and discrimination wasn't as bad as their Irish first generation immigrant grandfather's.
Oppression and racism go beyond shackles as I said in my tweet above.
Mississippi just ratified the 13 amendment in 2013.
Writing about something as painful and life altering as racism is hard. I've actually had to step back and think about and recall all of the moments where I've been discriminated against.
I've dealt with racism. From a peer and an authoritative figure. Both impacted me deeply. I've also seen racism and mental oppression affect those around me.
I think there's a problem when people are afraid to talk about race.
But there's an even bigger problem when people don't listen about race.
Everyone in life has struggles. Every single day there are people going through something that you don't know about. When I talk about racism and oppression, I'm not just talking about Black America.
I'm talking about the injustice that any minority racial or otherwise have faced culturally and systematically throughout history.
When you take someone's history and alter or erase it, you oppress them.
Native Americans. Asian Pacific Americans. African Americans. Latin Americans.
A majority of our history has been left out of the history books.
Mass killings of buffalo to decimate the Native American culture. Genocide in Africa. Medical testing on women in South America. Dropping atomic bombs on Japan.
Always written off as a regret or an incident that should have been done in a different manor.
It wasn't our problem. We didn't need to get involved. There was nothing we could do. We didn't know.
Who's at fault for people being tortured, gassed, killed, and erased from history?
I blame the people who ignore the people who are oppressed. I blame the people who refuse to listen to people when they say they're in pain. I blame the people who don't take a second to look at and acknowledge that they have a privilege of having their entire history in the textbook.
But I can't just blame the oppressors. But then I also can't blame the oppressed.
All I can do is point out that there's a problem when people don't believe that others are being oppressed because "we're in the land of the free".
Racism and oppression impact almost every part of life.
From voting to food to clothes to music. They touch everything.
Oppression is when you try to deter someone from voting by creating legislation that makes voting harder.
Oppression is when you use race tactics to sell or go against a medical product.
Oppression is when you shame someone on their culture.
Oppression is when you don't talk about the differences people have faced.
Oppression is when you build a system that will allow people to legally discriminate against someone based on their skin.
Oppression is when you stifle the voices of millions by saying that they don't deserve anything back for the problems they've faced all their lives.
Oppression is anything that attacks the lives of a group of people and makes it harder for them to live.
No one wants to be called a racist. It's getting to the point where if you talk about racism or accuse someone of racism, they think you're a nonsensical jealous person that just wants attention.
What people need to focus on isn't just racism, but race ignorant.
Racism is from hatred. Race ignorant is from lack of proper education. The key part of this is to realize that you can be race ignorant and not be racist.
However you don't want to be either one of these.
Racism can be easy to battle....just don't hate people because of their race.
Race ignorant can be hard. First thing first, check your privilege. Acknowledge that you're going to have the upperhand in a lot of situations in this country because you're privileged enough to be born on the other side of the racism/oppressed people. Kudos.
Secondly and most important of all educate yourself about other cultures. Take the time to acknowledge that you probably don't know why some things are considered racist. Ask someone to explain it to you.
Most importantly...Trust someone when they tell you that what you've done is offensive and hurtful to them and their history.
I think that's the biggest problem when people talk about race. There's no trust. There's no trust in the person's story or in their emotional attachment to another's actions.
Trust that you can be wrong. Trust that we all make mistakes. Trust that you can learn something.
Trust in change.
This is all I'm going to say about this topic for now. I honestly think that it's important to talk about this.
I would encourage everyone to take a minute or two and just think about the people who have no history due to war, genocide, and enslavement. Think about the family trees that have been cut off. Think about the violent and legal ways that people lost their identity over time. Think about how slurs have been used throughout history and if you really want to push people back to that time period just because you heard the word in a song.
- Today in Twitter Racism: 'WhyDoBlackPeople' (colorlines.com)
- NWO, The Race War Agenda: Black and White (worldnewscurator.com)
- Are we all divided by privilege? (socialistworker.co.uk)
- How not to derail the conversation on race (thenewstribune.com)
- Zimmerman verdict smashes 'post-racial' myth (pslweb.org)
- Kendrick Lamar Call Out vs. #MockObamaDay (jordanponders.wordpress.com)