Michael Eric Dyson – The New York Times:
This bigotocracy overlooks fundamental facts about slavery in this country: that blacks were stolen from their African homeland to toil for no wages in American dirt. When black folk and others point that out, white bigots are aggrieved. They are especially offended when it is argued that slavery changed clothes during Reconstruction and got dressed up as freedom, only to keep menacing black folk as it did during Jim Crow. The bigotocracy is angry that slavery is seen as this nation’s original sin. And yet they remain depressingly and purposefully ignorant of what slavery was, how it happened, what it did to us, how it shaped race and the air and space between white and black folk, and the life and arc of white and black cultures.
Now is the time for every decent white American to prove he or she loves this country by actively speaking out against the scourge this bigotocracy represents. If such heinous behavior is met by white silence, it will only cement the perception that as long as most white folk are not immediately at risk, then all is relatively well. Yet nothing could be further from the truth, and nothing could more clearly declare the moral bankruptcy of our country.
Americans have been content to let their sons and daughters fight the good fights on foreign waters and soil for hundreds of years. Race is indeed our nation’s original sin; it is our home-grown fight. Its battles happen here, in the 1860s, in the Jim Crow era, in the 1960s dawn of the civil rights era. They happen in 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia, where armed clowns with Walmart tiki torches, enabled by the triangulated politics of our current president, brought a violence to the white community reminiscent of that in American black communities everywhere, since forever.
But for a brief decade in the 1960s, the white majority has managed to avoid the question of race in America. There’s always been an excuse. This time it’s “paid protesters” and the “alt-left.” There is no alt-left. There’s a fantasy of conservative citizens, hopeful of throwing a “but-what-about” on liberal politics to cover the shame of their own failed disaster of a movement.
There is no avoiding it, not among a decent, humane people. No avoiding it among the non-white citizenry, ever. Blood has been spilled and there will be more, because we have by omission and commission avoided racial truth in America for too long. If you consider yourself a decent and humane citizen of any political stripe, it is time to raise your voice.