History repeats itself. As cliché as it sounds, it bears saying in this instance. In the Pacific Northwest, we learn in our classrooms that in the 60’s, the civil rights movement happened, which means that everything has been solved, and we now live in a post racial society.
To quote What a Load of Hope: The Post-Racial Mixtape by Jeremiah Chin: This ideology “reflects a belief that due to the significant racial progress that has been made, the state need not engage in race-based decision-making or adopt race-based remedies, In other words, racial justice has been made dependent on the maintenance of white privilege. Racial equality is not an absolute goal, but only merits consideration if racial remedies ‘will secure, advance, or at least not harm societal interests deemed important by middle and upper class whites.’ Thus the ‘retreat from race’ takes three forms: materially in the removal of state created racial remedies, socioculturally in redefining the meaning of racial equality and justice, and politically in delegitimizing racial political entities in pursuit of legal and social change.”
The civil rights movement was successful because African Americans and Caucasians worked side by side for the betterment of the society. As a country, we have become apathetic. We have watched murders happen across the country from Ferguson to the most recent tragedy in South Carolina. These excerpts from the “Letter in Birmingham Jail” are important to refer back to because these issues are not new. “First, I must confess that over the last few years I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in the stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Councillor or the Ku Klux Klanner but the white moderate who is more devoted to order than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a positive peace which is the presence of justice; who constantly says, ‘I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I can’t agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically feels that he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by the myth of time; and who constantly advises the Negro to wait until a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection…I am thankful, however, that some of our white brothers have grasped the meaning of this social revolution and committed themselves to it. They are still all too small in quantity, but they are big in quality. They, unlike many of their moderate brothers, have recognized the urgency of the moment and sensed the need for powerful ‘action’ antidotes to combat the disease of segregation.”
We need to recognize it is imperative we address these actions, or we are doomed to repeat the actions of yesteryear.
I’d like to leave you with these last thoughts: http://www.rollingstone.com/tv/news/watch-jon-stewarts-heartbreaking-charleston-shooting-monologue-20150619
Peace be with you all during a difficult time.
People’s Caucus of Color.