This is for the [mostly white] people who say “it starts with teaching our kids…” in conversations about systemic racism. And for those who retort “well, I have a more hopeful view for the future” when I point out how entrenched and embedded white supremacy is.
This is your kid. This is the future.
I don’t know where you people are getting this hope and optimism from, but coming from a black “millennial” who grew up in fully integrated schools and has a rainbow coalition of friends and acquaintances, your vision is blurred. I understand why. You see that your kids have black and brown friends and seem to get along well. There’s an interracial couple living next door. Social interactions look to be on an upswing. And from your suburban perch, things look pretty sweet. But you don’t see the countless microaggressions your son’s little football player friends endure. You don’t notice the husband neighbor’s family never visits, because the wife gets anxious when they’re around. Those things are easier to overlook.
Because things have gotten better… on a base level. I guess black people have more access, financial ability and rights on paper than we did 40 years ago. Offices are a little more colorful. Brown folk are much more visible in the workplace, in popular culture, in magazines, on TV. And there lies the problem.
Where you see a generation of kids raised in a melting pot, I see a generation of kids experiencing a culture shock. Because most white people don’t recognize or admit and certainly don’t talk about privilege overtly. But you practice it. And you still raise your children in it. So these kids start approaching adulthood and find the perks they were promised ain’t as easy to grab as they were for their parents. I was supposed to get the cheerleader. How dare she choose this n—- over me? I was supposed to get the promotion. Who’s this uppity black bitch trying to put me in line? Mix that with the built in entitlement and reward culture of post-Me Generation youth and your melting pot becomes a fire pot. They ain’t ready. You didn’t prepare them.
We’re not taking over the country, but the historical reality of a white-dominated America is being steadily chipped away. Because we aren’t powerless. We aren’t weak. We built this shit and we’re challenging whitefolks’ totalitarian entitlement to it.
So all this shit — I mean these wack ass cops are largely young white men as well, remember that — is typical. Their entire worldview and way of life is threatened. The response to increased fear and anxiety is increased aggression and agitation. It’s a ‘coon backed into a corner, lashing out with teeth and claws bared as it feels itself running out of options.
Only now it’s the coons backing y’all in. Imagine that.
Often it’s not even about what white people consider overt bigotry and racism. You sleep soundly at night knowing racists are “bad” and you’re not “racist” so you’re good. But you’ll lecture black women in traffic because you’re just trying to be helpful. You have that right. You’ll side-eye Latino kids in a store because “they don’t look like they’re from around here.” The day to day interactions that are easy to justify. You’re not being racist. You’re just being… White.
That’s what you teach your kids. The day to day fuckery. As they say, the devil is in the details and there is no greater devil than white supremacy. But you can’t stop teaching your children until you recognize it in yourselves. Until you get informed. Until you stop being fragile. Until you stop being lazy and meek. Until you consistently recognize, confront and challenge privilege, racial bias and systemic racism on micro and macro levels, publicly. At the grocery store. At your job. In your family. Until you recognize that the entire society we live in is structured around and designed for white supremacy, by white supremacists. Until you recognize and act on the recognition that supremacy, like charity, starts at home and operates in many, many insidious ways. And that you benefit from it. Regardless of where or how you grew up, regardless of how poor you were or are. Regardless of how many black friends you have.
And more than anything, it won’t stop until y’all stop passing the buck. Not to black and brown people tasked to explain and teach ad nauseum or behave in ways that keep you comfortable. Not to your children to magically adapt and make the world a better place, which they’re showing scant sign of doing. And how dare you insinuate that I… that we… should just sit tight and wait another 30 or 40 years until your kids grow up to be treated like human beings. Your parents pulled that okeydoke about you. And now one of your kids has murdered a church full of people they pulled it on.