By: Marvin DeBose
For all of the people who are on the whole "it’s not about race" and "Well, looting is wrong too" campaign in regards to the death of Mike Brown, I'm going to challenge you.
I challenge you to look at things from outside of your own perspective. Maybe to you this isn't about race because you've never really HAD to analyze racism... Or maybe you didn't WANT to.
Yet, for Black people in America, especially those from lower-income areas such as Ferguson, Mo. and parts of the St. Louis area, racism is omnipresent. It's in the schools, in the courtrooms, in housing and and even jobs. So when people talk about the role of race in the Mike Brown situation, whether they are right or wrong, they're not "jumping to conclusions", "playing the race card" (Whatever that means) or trying to generalize a whole group of people. They are speaking from AN EXPERIENCE; they are speaking from a history of inequality.
And although some think of racism as something that only exists in extremes (hate groups), or that "Reverse racism" is the problem, or that it isn't possible for racism to be a big problem in today's America, I'm sad to say that these assumptions are largely incorrect.
I'm not arguing with anybody, I'm not debating anyone. Because honestly, I'm tired of explaining my experiences to people... and frankly, I don't HAVE to, but I do it because it is necessary.
I don't just talk about racism for the sake of debating. I don’t just talk about race because it’s a “hot topic” in the media. I talk about these things because they are a part of my life. When you're a "person of color" in America, you'd BETTER start talking about/understanding how racism works... Because it may save your life.
Even, when I make a post on social media where I jokingly talk about race, there's pain behind that.
So when people are so quick to shout “stop making it about race” or "it's not about race" to people who have repeatedly dealt with racism, it's actually kind of condescending, and pretty insensitive & dismissive of the lived experience of millions of people.
Let's make one thing clear: AMERICA itself is "about race". The social construct of race is one of the things which built this nation. It shaped our history, and influences our present. Racism is so deeply ingrained in our social fabric that to say that something like this "has absolutely NOTHING to do with Race" is almost disingenuous.
The concept of race, despite it being a social construct, has directed influenced the lives that we live today. Period. Everybody knows that... The problem is that not everybody is ready to admit that.
No, I'm not saying "let's blame everything on racism".
I'm just saying let’s not act like the concept of race is so foreign to our problems in America. The situation in Ferguson, Mo. is the product of a racism which America bred. Read about the history of race relations in the St. Louis, Missouri area and tell me otherwise.
So, when you hear people talking about the role of race in a situation and you don't understand why, or you're angered by it, I challenge you to just LISTEN to them.
Don't debate them, don't try to diffuse their anger, don't try to tell them what's racism and what's not.
Just LISTEN to them… You might learn something.