It is literally the last week in October. I don’t know about you, but I cannot wait until this election is over! I’m so tired of hearing from politicians lying about how they are going to help Americans. I’m tired of seeing the get out the vote campaign commercials. I’m just tired of all the lies. Mainly, because neither candidate represents my values. I’m literally stuck voting for the less of the evils.
It’s like the picture that Jim Carrey painted not too long ago (if you want to see the photo, check out my website). There’s a guy who is blindfolded holding two cans. One is red and labeled blatant corruption (which clearly represents Trump) and the other is blue labeled corruption lite (which represents Joe Biden). The description says, “…Red is dead. Choose Blue instead.”
Just in case you’re wondering, spoiler alert, I’m not voting for the idiot that clearly wants to be in charge of the KKK because he’s hell bent on starting a race war. Trump can’t even say the word Black without it sounding like a swear word. The sad thing is, I bet you he’s concentrating really hard to say Black instead of saying the word that he really wants to say. I’ll let you use your imagination on what that word would be…
I know I sound incredibly jaded and pessimistic but when it comes to the American justice system I am. As far as I am concerned, American justice is an oxymoron. In today’s episode, I guarantee some of you may feel uncomfortable, but I truly hope you hang in there because then you’ll learn something new.
Be sure to check out the website for more details about the stories that I’m going to share with you. My goal for today’s episode to be the CliffsNotes version about aspects of American history that are either glossed over, reimagines or simply aren’t taught in school. Instead of learning from past mistakes, as a nation, we’re content with repeating them.
One of the reasons I decided to discuss this topic is because I was watching a PBS documentary called Ball of Confusion: The 1968 Election which prompted me to think about some of the conversations I have had over the past couple of months. Chaos has been happening within our nation the past couple of years, but especially this year. I recognized so many parallels to situations taking place during 1968 that have led to the chaos that we are currently experiencing today especially in regards to racism.
While I was watching this documentary, I thought back to all the protests that took place right after George Floyd’s death. I remember a white person said to me that they believed that this was going to be a defining moment in our history and that things were going to change. My response was, “I’ll believe it when I see it.”
Guess who was right? Sadly me. You have no idea how badly I wanted to be wrong too. Here we are several months later and nothing has changed. In fact, the Karens, Beckys, Kevins, and Tanners of the world are more empowered to be bolder with their racism.
You have idiots like Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law, who actually had the audacity to insinuate that Black people don’t want to be successful. This comment is especially ironic, seeing that he was born rich, never worked a day in his life, and is literally working in a position that his idiot father-in-law, Trump gave to him. Needless to say, Kushner has never had to overcome barriers of systemic racism and ignorant comments like this indicate he won’t be a part of the solution to fight against it. By the way, Blacks and Latinos are incredibly hard workers. Many work more than one job even if they have a 9 to 5 job. The majority of us don’t have generational wealth to rely on so we learn at an early age you better diversify your income.
Another reason why we haven’t made progress is because there have been even more police shootings of unarmed Black people. I guarantee there will be even more if this idiot continues to remain in office. Trump already told the Proud Boys, a well known hate group, to “Stand back and stand by.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to decipher what he meant by that statement. If that’s not a dog whistle, I don’t know what it… In fact, there has been an increase in white supremacists groups conducting paramilitary exercises and showing up at protests causing trouble that often gets blamed on Black Lives Matter or Antifa.
One of the reasons I already knew nothing was going to change is because many white people in America truly believe that racism no longer exists. Therefore, they don’t have any incentive to work towards implementing long-lasting changes that could actually serve as an attempt to acknowledge and help repair the damage that they continue to benefit from due to the over 400-year headstart slavery and systemic racism has provided them.
What’s even crazier is that there is even a push in the education system to revamp the definition of slavery. I’m totally not joking. In some text books instead of using the word slaves they say laborers or people from Africa who came to help people do chores. The last time I checked taking people against their will, forcing them to work without pay is called slavery. Anyway, let me get back to the subject…
Let’s take the police for example. When you’re a child you’re often taught that the police are there to help protect and serve. However, when you get older it becomes incredibly apparent who the police work for in America. Spoiler alert, they do not work for anyone of color, especially Black people. Here’s the thing, this is by design. Many schools fail to teach that the police organizations you see today stem from slavery. Yep, that’s right boys and girls, slavery. The police were literally created to track down runaway slaves, prevent slave uprisings, and enforce rules to segregate freed slaves.
Now, I know that some people may be like, “Wait a minute, even if that’s true, that doesn’t apply today.” Sadly, this faulty thinking is why we are in this mess. Regardless of whether white people want to admit it, the majority of the police force is composed of people who share this same slave mentality. It’s deeply ingrained in today’s modern police departments.
The police are often assigned to “patrol” areas where they are whiter than the community and don’t even live in the areas that they are supposed to protect and serve. The police are more apt to be heavily armed and use force when they are assigned to patrol communities of color. Therefore, it shouldn’t be a shocker that there is a higher amount of police brutality incidents dealing with Black people.
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What’s even more frustrating is that the laws in place are not fairly applied to white and Black people. White people are given way more chances to avoid jail time and sometimes even choose where they want to serve their jail sentence which is not an opportunity afforded to Black people. I’ve never done drugs and believe that drug use is wrong. However, the whole war on drugs campaign during the 80’s was really another attempt to further disenfranchise Black people via mass incarceration.
The current opioid crisis is affecting more white people than Black people. The approach being used to help white people is way more compassionate and lenient than Black people who were caught with cocaine back in the 1980’s. Yet, sadly, the effects of the War on Drugs campaign can still be seen today.
For example, Black people have or continued to be put in jail for having or selling weed. Black people started to bring attention to the fact that white people were not being punished with the heavy jail time sentences and fines that Black people were receiving. This is why all of a sudden you magically saw the push to legalize marijuana. The white people who wished to use marijuana didn’t want to bring attention to the unfair application of the laws nor suffer the consequences for violating the rules.
The crazy thing is that even though marijuana is legal many Black people are still sitting in jail for something that is not illegal anymore. Even when they get out of jail, they can’t get jobs because they have a record, based on what state they are in they can’t vote, and to add insult to injury they can’t own a marijuana shop. Which by the way, is yet another industry primarily owned by white people, despite the fact this industry profited from and then incarcerated numerous Black people.
White people have also benefited from the mass incarceration of Black people because it’s literally the new modern day slave trade. When incarceration rates soared to record highs in the 1980s due to the War on Drugs campaign, corporations viewed this as a business opportunity to privatize the prison system.
Take a guess at who runs the facilities and who is stuck working for free? You guessed it. Black people are working for free yet again to help companies get rich but this time they can do it legally. Can you imagine being pulled over or thrown in jail indefinitely for a minor offense that you may or may not have committed simply because you can’t afford bail, then sentenced to jail to work for free for a large corporation? It’s in the police, prison system and many corporations best interest to keep the prison pipeline filled prisoners so they can act as modern day slaves.
This is why when you see people protesting that you may hear chants to defund the police. It’s abundantly clear that the police can’t be expected to “police” themselves. In many cities, let’s take my hometown Chicago, the majority of the budget is allocated towards the police department. Chicago raises taxes what seems to feel like every five minutes, but can’t allocate funds to West and South side schools so the Black and Latino students can receive the same education opportunities that students on the Northside of Chicago receive; yet, they somehow found $95 million to allocate for “police and fire academy training?”
Are you kidding me? Why in the world would you spend that amount of money when you could have used it for resources like after school programs, workforce initiatives, to help the community? I’m not condoning criminal activity but much of the crime you see in these neighborhoods stem from a lack of hope and resources. Sadly, it literally took a pandemic for white people to see what Black people have been talking about for years.
The police should NOT be able to get away with their behavior. Yet,regardless of how blatant the crime may be, it’s almost impossible for a police officer to be found guilty. Police officers have numerous laws like qualified immunity that prevent them from being punished for their crimes.
People love to use the analogy that there are only a couple of bad apples within the police, but this simply isn’t true. Plus, could you imagine using this analogy when you decide whether to have confidence in your pilot? Like Chris Rock said, “”Some jobs, everybody gotta be good. Like … pilots. Ya know, American Airlines can’t be like, ‘Most of our pilots like to land. We just got a few bad apples that like to crash into mountains. Please bear with us.” Some professions simply cannot afford to have ANY bad apples. We all know that if the roles were reversed there would not be any bad apples and if they were there they would be immediately punished.
In an attempt to right so many wrongs, Black people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is the only way change will occur. All throughout history a variety of barriers have been enacted to keep Black people from voting. After the civil war, years of Jim Crow laws led to violence, bloodshed, and the rise of the KKK.
In order to keep Black people from voting rules like implementing a fee to vote aka poll tax, literacy tests that even many lawyers wouldn’t be able to pass, and other laws that would prevent you from voting like not having a job, and the list goes on. Now I understand why people have been conditioned into thinking that voting is important because this is how laws get changed. This is true if you have people willing to do the right thing. I’m sad to say we don’t have this and that is by design as well.
If you take a closer look, you will notice that when it comes to voting for the President of the United States, the popular vote doesn’t matter. It’s the electoral college that elects the president, not the people. Do you know who represents your state for the electoral college? I certainly don’t and I bet you don’t either. This part of the voting process is hardly ever discussed.
In fact, I was watching a documentary called Electoral Dysfunction and this reporter exposed the electoral college system. The electoral college does NOT represent the current demographics of the U.S. This probably will not be a shocker, but the electoral college demographics are white men. Also, what I found incredibly surprising in this documentary was that there was a young white man who literally “inherited” the electoral role from his dad.
There’s no rhyme or reason why these people were chosen. I can guarantee you that if more Blacks and Latinos inquired about joining the electoral college that the rules would change. By the way, I’m so sick of people bringing up the fact that Barack Obama was able to become president. Appearances don’t bring about lasting change. Plus, if the electoral college didn’t go along with the popular vote that would have been way too obvious which would have brought too much attention to their ability to continue to run in secrecy.
However, you gotta love the irony because Trump being in office is starting to bring more attention back to the electoral college. After all this is how he was able to steal the presidency back in 2016.
By the way, once Barack was in office, the majority of the white people in the south went to work immediately and started demolishing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. This law was in place to protect everyone’s right to vote. In particular, southern states that have a history of voter suppression literally had to go to the Federal government in order to receive clearance for any changes that they wished to make that dealt with voting (poll locations). This major piece of legislation was removed back in 2013.
Ever since 2013, starting with the Southern states and slowly working up to the Northern states (especially in Wisconsin and Indiana), the number of polling places in predominantly African American and Latino communities have closed, now there’s a push for people to verify who they are with additional specific documentation that many of those communities may not possess, and there’s even some people who have been vocal about not seeing anything wrong with taking a literacy test.
In many areas around the country, but especially the south, it’s not uncommon for Blacks and Latinos to have to drive to towns far outside of their communities, only to stand in line for hours clinging to the hope that their vote will count and matter. I’m in awe of these people, especially the folks in the South. I definitely wouldn’t even bother voting if the poll was located in one of those sundown towns.
For those of you unfamiliar with the term sundown towns, these are towns located all throughout the United States that have the unspoken rule that Black people are allowed to be in these towns during the day to work or shop but you better be gone by nightfall. If you’re Black caught in one of these towns at night time, you can risk being arrested, beaten and yes there have been incidents of lynchings as well, but these towns go above and beyond to silence those stories from getting out into the media. However, those that live in the Black communities surrounding these areas make sure to warn each other.
Thank goodness for social media because I definitely don’t want to make the mistake in going to one of these towns. I belong to a couple Black travel groups which is fantastic because it’s one of the major methods we use in exchanging information. It’s a helpful shortcut that many of us use to share stories to gain information to help us determine the amount of racism we can expect to receive in whatever city or country we are thinking about visiting.
The mere fact that these sundown towns still exist is one of the main reasons why I will never go on a road trip in this country, especially in today’s racial climate. I already know that I’m on my own if something goes down so I prefer to stay in states and areas where the racism is at least less blatant. I venture to say that the majority of the folks listening to this podcast already know which states I’m referring to and it should probably go without saying that you won’t see me visiting those states anytime soon.
Do you see what’s happening here? The United States can’t move forward if people don’t learn from the past. This is what happens when there aren’t any consequences in place or haphazardly enforced. Therefore, history continues to repeat itself.
This is one of the main reasons why I love the phrase, “I work down here, but live upstairs.” If I focused on receiving justice from man, I would be one miserable person. However, I know better. We all have free will but I know that Christ is in charge.
So regardless of what new hurdles this country attempts to put in place next, I’ll sail right over them. It will be easy to do. All I have to do is look at history’s rearview mirror to anticipate what’s coming up next.
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