Isolate the Racists by Defeating their False Arguments
Racists and just ignorant people use a few common ridiculous arguments that might include: the idea that racism is “largely” over or dying out over time; saying people of color are always talking about race as if it doesn’t matter; alleging that any discussion of discrimination and institutional racism in itself racist and divisive, or racism in reverse; claiming that talking or protesting against white supremacy is “playing the race card,” while claiming that civil rights is a crutch for those who lack worth and are lazy; supposedly if we can address class inequality racial inequity will disappear; racism will always be with us so it’s a waste of time to talk about it, so if we would just stop talking about racism it would disappear. All of these arguments are in the tool box of racists that they use to confuse and recruit people.
A criminal justice professor once told me that the three-fifths clause in the United States Constitution was not about slavery but was only to provide a balance in the U.S. Congress. He never wanted to mention that it was a way for the slave owning states to maintain their slave owning interests in the national government. One guy even had the nerve to say that blacks needed to stop calling themselves “African Americans” because we are all “Americans” and using these terms “divides the country.” I asked him what his ancestry was and he responded, “I am Swedish and we don’t go around calling ourselves Swedish Americans.” My response was, “You should, so that you would not have to lose your ethnic identity and become white.” He kept on and so I finally told him what Malcolm X would have said, “Being in America does not make you an American unless you have enjoyed the fruits of America, and I never heard of thousands of Swedes being hanged or choked to death.”
Statue of Christopher Columbus is prepared for transport in San Antonio after being taken down, Photo: espnsa
Another argument used by racists is claiming that taking down racist symbols is erasing history. These symbols are in themselves an erasure of history that make the false claim that the symbol in question glorified some hero when the symbol represents atrocities committed. Recently, the statue of Christopher Columbus was removed from downtown San Antonio. Columbus was perhaps one of the greatest killers of Native People. What we are witnessing is the destruction of white supremacy and they are crying like babies about it. Another argument claims we are looking at the past with our understanding of racism today. This argument is called “Presentism.” This argument tries to erase the historical record and pretend that there were no people fighting against racism long ago. There were millions! This is a false narrative, and according to one historical scholar, “. . . We must fully comprehend the pastness of the past, there is no just way in which the past can be quarantined from the present. Past and present inform each other, each implies the other . . . each co-exists with the other.”
Black lives never mattered and white lives always mattered, so when someone screams and hollers like a stuck pig that, “All lives matter” in opposition, we can surely guess that they do not want to recognize the horrors of this white supremacist society that captured the educational system and the institutions of power. Isolate the racists by defeating their false arguments with truth and continue the struggle against white supremacy. Through all of the blood and all of the pain our struggle will be like a cleansing rain, for generations to come this Spirit will never die, and we will not give up the fight against racism, in this our land, in the day or in the night.