If White Supremacy and Racism Don’t Matter to You, I Question Your Empathy
Your compassion, too.
I have come to an uncomfortable truth that I avoided accepting before. White supremacy and racism are not a deal- breaker or even a concern for more Americans than I realized.
During the 2016 election, when Donald Trump called Mexicans rapists, a colleague said to me, “Oh, he’s done.” Not only was he not done, but he also became our 45th president. I remember wondering why racism was overlooked. I rationalized that people didn’t think he was serious, that he was pandering to his base.
How else could so many be so uncaring?
Repeated support of racism
Donald Trump proved how serious he was over and over again. After Charlottesville, he called people brandishing torches, screaming, “Jews will not replace us!” “fine people.” He topped that with putting Mexican and other brown children in cages. Before the debate, he put a stop to Federal racial sensitivity training calling it “anti-American.”
Still, going into the debates, some voters were undecided. According to Gallup Daily tracking averages, he even had his highest approval rating of 49% in May of this year.
During the now-infamous presidential debate between Donald Trump and Joe Biden, the president, yet again, refused to denounce racism. This time, he went to the next level by rallying the white supremacist group, Proud Boys with, “stand back and stand by.”
He also called Federal diversity training “racist,” claiming, “they were teaching people to hate our country.” According to the president, teaching understanding of people of color’s experiences is equivalent to hating America.
Instead of dialing back his racism, he’s digging in.
It didn’t make a difference in 2016. Time will tell what sort of difference it makes in 2020.
What voters care about
It’s not surprising. Many people who are not black don’t know what it’s like to be followed around in a store just for being there. White parents never have to talk with their sons about how to behave when a police officer pulls them over. They don’t have to worry about them being judged for wearing a hoodie.
People started to open their eyes during the racial unrest in the summer. They protested, blacked out their social media for an hour, and used a hashtag with the name of the latest victim of police brutality to make the news.
Systemic injustice continues
The righteous indignation was short-lived. Justice in America went back to the status quo in the case of Breonna Taylor.
A grand jury only chose to prosecute a police officer who shot into an apartment for “wanton endangerment.” Those 10 shots fired hit a wall of a neighbor’s apartment, and no one was hurt. Breonna Taylor died. Her shooting was justified even when she wasn’t even awake when the police entered her apartment.
Recently, a juror raised concern that Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron may have misrepresented the case he made to the grand jury to the public. Before that, the president commended the attorney general for “doing a fantastic job.”
One of the police officers involved in her shooting is raising funds for his retirement, already raising $45,000 of the $75,000 he asked for. He’s being rewarded for being in the wrong apartment and killing an innocent person.
If our white supremacist president and the continued systemic injustices against black people and other people of color aren’t even on your radar than I have to wonder where your humanity is.
Where is your compassion when these things happen over and over again?
The truth is white supremacy and racism doesn’t affect the majority of voters. If it doesn’t affect you, it doesn’t bother you.
Right now, as a country, most of us are focused on our survival. Even so, we have to do better. Casting a blind eye to injustice isn’t what saves us. It’s our humanity.