The fact that a black boy in a hoodie got killed by a creepy security guard wannabe who then gets to walk doesn’t bode well for the stature if the African-American in the US today. But, in my view, there are far worse examples of the state of race relations.
Twenty six white children get killed in Newtown and it sparks a national conversation on gun control. But how often do twenty six black kids get killed? And how often do we take to the streets in protest of this tragedy? What if, every time a black kid got caught in the crossfire, throngs of white folks would descend upon the black neighborhoods and march alongside the black preachers, youth workers and neighbors who mourn their loss? What if we made it a “big fucking deal!” every time it happened? What if we were to show our fellow citizens that we really cared and that we were willing to act on it? What if we gathered outside the known gang hangouts and yelled, at the top of our lungs, that this was not acceptable? Would this make a difference?
The pre-clearance clause in the Voting Rights Act gets struck down by the Supreme Court. Mere hours after this happens, Texas moves to limit the ability of black folks to vote. And how do they propose to do this? By requiring an ID at the voting booth? An ID! White kids in college have a veritable industry producing fake ID’s to buy booze, yet the lack of one is seen as a viable way to prevent an entire class of people from exercising the most basic right in a democracy. That is mass disenfranchisement at its most hideous. We’ve got to get these people ID’s. I’m actually less disturbed by their inability to vote than I am about their lack of ID. In today’s world, if we have people walking around without the basic means of participating in this electronic society, then we are not looking out for our brothers.
I worked in human services for years and I was very aware of the fact that most of my clients were people of color and most of my co-workers were white. One needs to tread lightly and not try to be the great white hope or something. But we can do a better job of trying to work alongside the people of color who are working in the neighborhoods and give them support and numbers. We are still a segregated society but we need to overcome our fears and get out into the streets and do the work of God and man.