CRITICAL RACIST THEORY
The United States is moving through a time of extreme and insensible change in attitudes toward race, with a significant number of citizens coming to grips with the deeply embedded historical legacy of racist structures and ideals. Avowed white supremacists have commandeered a presidential election, utilize campaign rhetoric to eliminate the remembrance of black bodies hanging from trees, bodies of black women raped to increase humans to as human surplus, and the burning of bodies throughout Europe for no other reason than belonging to a particular ethnoreligious group.
CRITICAL RACE THEORY v. CRITICAL RACIST THINKING
(CRT) has become the radical right’s path for “Critical Racist Thinking, a new tool unwilling to acknowledge our country’s racist history and how it impacts the present. We cannot move forward until we truthfully acknowledge the past, which includes the good that was the product of developing democracy and the bad, which divided black and whites and sanctioned Japanese internment camps. Education is vital for the future. However, education’s integrity is protected when it draws a nation towards liberty and justice and then preserves it throughout its struggle to maintain impartiality and principles that are humane. Education attempts to safeguard a collective maturity and freedom, which outmaneuvers tyrannical power, and it allows for changes in a country in which progressives have devoted their energy, setting a strong precedent for the future. Now is the hour to make justice a reality for all of society’s children. It would be fateful for the nation to fail to recognize the urgency of the moment, not to reach inside ourselves and grab the capacity to right the wrongs and allow everyone to take their share of freedom and give this country the ability to enable a just peace finally. Accepting the cruelties of the past swells the power that emerges from denial. Gratified acceptance of its poison only wrestles with our repressed humanity which begs to be set free, now that inequality has been integrated into the fabric of our existence.
Our victory means endangering the idol called nationalism, abetting musical mantras like “The Star-Spangled Banner ‘’ by Francis Scott Key. While Key is celebrated as the lyricist of “the land of the free and the home of the brave,” his career as a proslavery attorney for the District of Columbia under President Andrew Jackson is a blank page in American history books. In 1830 regardless of race, abolitionists ridiculed his proslavery patriotism as much as those who now seek to ignore the critical importance of history.
Racism operates through coercion and psychological techniques to control its victims and by legally excluding specific people from the full benefits of citizenship. We must seek to counter the current trend by re-evaluating the meaning of disingenuous lyrics and getting in touch with nature’s moral melody.
It isn’t a death-defying act to exercise your personal best and use your talents, whoever you are and wherever you are, in concert with as many others as possible. For people of color, learning to extend ourselves to each other and to call upon each other’s strengths is a life-saving strategy. In the best of circumstances, it requires an enormous amount of mutual support for us to be emotionally able to look right into the face of the powers positioned against us and still do the work with courage.
Isn’t it time that we close the racist gap widened by the mechanisms of the extreme right? Isn’t it finally the moment in time to weed out those who take up space in the Senate Chambers and remain tethered to bigotry, racist supremacy, or an attachment to a set of ideas that are severely flawed? Some may be irredeemably flawed, but until 2016 most did not believe that such depraved ideas could stand so boldly against virtue and make hate into a condition of action. Yet Mitch McConnell and Kevin McCarthy are doing their best. We must collectively stand against any American leadership that promotes a national system built around a political cesspool. Not because we love an ideal America, because we do, but because freedom means wrestling with the fatality of the actual one these men are trying to build.
Rise up America, make the right choice. Several corporations publicly declared their support for legislation strengthening the Voting Rights Act but donated thousands of dollars to Republicans who recently blocked the bill in the Senate. Hypocrisy is like a stench, you can spray perfume all around it, but it still stinks. Tell Microsoft Corporation, Amazon, Facebook, Intel Corporation, Cisco, and Target, and a host of others that they cannot have both harmony and apartheid.
They cannot fund the campaigns of Republicans who engender the damage done to children by engendering racial isolation in restrictedly funded and physically offensive schools that underserved the community. The goal of the Republican Senate is not to find a more effective way of developing new policies to desegregate schools. The goal is to find a more ingenious way to segregate them. You begin by taking away the voice and vote of their parents and returning Jim Crow to the Capitol after every election.
The bad, with little of the good, has made the moral crisis we see today possible. How you wish to use your power now will define the future of your children. Liberty gives communities a tremendous amount of energy, while contentment is a byproduct of its satisfaction and trust, supported by a vision brightened with hope in those carrying the torch forward,
In keeping silent about evil, burying it so far within that, there is no visible sign on the surface where time and indifference have implanted it. But, be sure it will rise again, many times over. When we neither punish nor reprimand the spiteful and inward-looking idiots, we are not simply preserving their petty egos and Scroogelike old ways; we are shredding the foundations of liberty and justice for all from beneath coming generations.
Racist rants and holocaust denials have suddenly been re-worded to cover up some of the worst crimes that the world has ever known. These were more than just a couple of events where innocent people, for some reason, were never told why the worst of humankind condemned them to live in hell on earth.
Looking back, many minorities can barely put into words the bitterness felt about the ways black lives have ceased to matter, how immigrant children have been caged like dogs, how the history of slavery is increasingly justified, and Nazi distortions are becoming acceptable types of narratives.
IN THE PRESENCE OF CRUELTY
People are more likely to submit for their own good than for doing what is good. They go along with those in power by learning how not to interrupt the evil patterns they see before them, how not to question, and how not to doubt: to adjust to the rules with reasonable regularity, kill on orders, and sleep without grief. They go on to be “docile citizens” in order to be proficient at mechanical procedures, obedient to the processes they do not understand, and subservient in the presence of cruelty and barbarism. It is not so much that they learn to be “cruel” people. Rather, it is that they learn not to desperately demand compassion in their cry for justice.
Indeed, it has been a disheartening realization that, after so many decades of struggle, this is a society disfigured by gross inequality and it causes many to wonder whether there is a real connection between the preferences and cruelties of American citizens and the kinds of assertions about fair play and freedom that we are attempting to sell to other nations. The worst of it was that so much of the cruelty is expressed in the guise of paternalism and so many of the staunchest bigots in the country convince others that they are acting and speaking out of decent feelings.
Senator Mitt Romney, with all of his so-called righteousness, did not see fit to vote for the John Lewis Voting Rights bill after insisting that “Black lives matter.” We have forgotten too soon. In December 2013, Mitt could not help but show his disdain when former MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry drew attention, on a segment of her show, to the fact that sitting on Romney’s knee was his Black-American grandchild, Kieran James, the adopted son of Mitt’s son Ben.
Harris-Perry asked a guest for a caption to go along with the family photo to which a guest responded, “One of these is not like the others. One of these things just isn’t the same.” Many have accused the host of going too far with what was said to be racist remarks, and for which Harris-Perry apologized.
Eight years later, it is Mitt that ought to be apologizing to his grandson and every other young black American that won’t be able to enjoy the voting rights that every white American will inherit as his or her natural birthright. The Republicans, by their exploits, have rejected the fact that Kieran James is the same. He is an American, like any other. Their discriminatory behavior attests to the fact that they have no concerns about voter identification laws that are a burden for many voters and target minorities. Unprecedented efforts to thwart the electoral process and disenfranchise voters, primarily in Black and brown communities, are based on lies about “voter fraud.”
Americans are longing for real solutions that ensure that each man and woman has a voice in the decisions that govern their lives. This is especially critical for Black and brown communities. People of color are powerless to change their place or to make a better one for their children. These are communities denied the most fundamental of human needs: the need for identity, for recognition as a citizen and as a human being. Here, and not in the stressful pretense of revolutionary rhetoric, is the breeding ground of aimless hostility and revenge. The oppressed youth of the ghetto is not simply protesting his condition but making a harmful attempt to assert his worth and respectability as a human being. Through his anger and desperation, he can only rely on the past to judge his future potential. History is a relentless teacher. It has an unwavering past to tell us that, though we may scorn his contribution, we must still respect the force of a struggle that will not end until there is more justice than injustice.
One of the worst lies is that white America is not prepared to acknowledge the black version of the story, to believe that it happened. In order to avoid believing that, those who embrace deceit have set up in themselves an enormous system of evasions, denials, and justifications, which cannot help disfigure their grasp of the truth, which is another way of saying their moral intelligence.
Racial justice will not be achieved without a system in which all citizens have the means to advocate for themselves and exert political power. Only if “we” accept that American history is shaped by domination and racism can we initiate democratic nation-building never yet attempted with success. There is work to do. Creation is not a complicated investigation into the mind where we constantly do nothing but try to overcome moral obstacles, but a summons to connect in the work of redemption; a calling, urging us to be involved in actively working to improve the world we were born to.