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THE WHITE RACISM EPIDEMIC:

“This is America”

 

Why are black mothers and babies in the United Sates dying at more than double the rate of white mothers and babies?  The answer has everything to do with the lived experience of being a black woman in America” (Linda Villarosa, April 11, 2018).

 

According to University of Michigan Professor Arline T. Geronimus, Black mothers suffer from weathering “…which posits that Blacks experience early health deterioration as a consequence of the cumulative impact of repeated experience with social or economic adversity and political marginalization.  …The stress inherent in living in a race-conscious society that stigmatizes and disadvantages Blacks may cause disproportionate physiological deterioration, such that a Black individual may show the morbidity and mortality typical of a White individual who is significantly older…”  (See Geronimus, Arline T; May 2006).

In their May 14, 2014 scholarly article, Monnica T. Williams and others indicated, “...Racism-related traumatic experiences can range from frequent ambiguous microaggressions to blatant hate crimes and physical assault. …These may be brief remarks, vague insults, or non-verbal exchanges …When experiencing microaggressions, African Americans lose vital mental energy attempting to pinpoint the intention of one who commits the microaggression …The more severe race-based stressors, such as physical assault, may be life-threatening, directly causing PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

White Racism is so powerful that “…Black boys raised in America, even in the wealthiest families and living in some of the most well-to-do neighborhoods, still earn less in adulthood than white boys with similar backgrounds   …Even when children grow up next to each other with parents who earn similar incomes, black boys fare worse than white boys in 99 percent of America. And the gaps only worsen in the kind of neighborhoods that promise low poverty and good schools...”  Bottom of Form

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/19/upshot/race-class-white-and-black-men.html

The current plethora of White Racist micro and macroaggressions underscore the fact that we are in the midst of a long-rooted epidemic, one worthy of being deemed a public health crisis.  As in the case of bacteria mutating in order to become resistant to antibiotics, we observe unending mutations of “driving while Black.”  Consider the following examples.

·        Barbecuing While Black: White woman calls police who respond because an Oakland California family was barbecuing in a public park where barbecue pits exist;

·        Waiting to Order Coffee While Black:  Six police officers arrest 2 Black men while waiting to order Coffee at Starbucks;

·        Being in Your Back Yard While Black:  “…Stephon Clark was shot at 20 times and hit 8 times mainly in the back by police officers in Sacramento, based on the assumption that he was the culprit responsible for breaking into cars;”  https://www.naacp.org/latest/naacp-statement-starbucks-growing-climate-racism-intolerance/

·        Napping in a Yale Dorm Lobby While Black:  White Yale student calls police after observing a Black Yale student sleeping in the dormitory lounge;

·        Not Staying in Your Lane While Black:  65 year-old Black grandmother dragged from her car by Georgia police officer when she refused to sign for her ticket for drifting out of her lane;

·        Moving into Your Apartment While Black:  While moving in, a former Barack Obama staffer is confronted by 6 police officers after a neighbor reported a burglary in process;

·        Flying While Black: A Black woman was questioned by police regarding a possible assault after a White passenger complained that their arms touched during a flight.  https://www.yahoo.com/lifestyle/woman-says-american-airlines-called-police-flying-fat-black-204749310.html ; and

·        Failing to Wave While Black:  3 Black women, including Bob Marley’s granddaughter, are confronted by police after a White woman called them because the Black women failed to wave at her as they were leaving their Airbnb in Rialto, California.

The foregoing situations are ones for which it would have taken very little for the Black victims to have lost their lives, as in the cases of Sandra Bland, Philando Castile, Freddie Gray, Trayvon Martin, Walter Scott,  Alton Sterling, and many others. 

White Racism and other interconnected forms of inhumanity are so endemic to American society that as Renée and Richard Goldman Dean of the University of Pittsburgh School of Education wrote in her May, 2018 article (“Commitment and Danger, Black Life and Black Love: Toward Radical Possibilities”), “…We have no other choice but to act because, as Audre Lorde (1984) reminds us, our lives, all of our lives, depend on us taking and engaging in action, now. We. Have. No. Choice.”   

Kinloch expanded by urging us “To stand ‘at the precipice of pandemonium’—to stand, tall and bravely, in the face and at the edge of chaos, disruption, harm. To stand for justice for Black people and other people of color who have been murdered by police officers. …To stand in rejection of the ongoing hate crimes against Muslims and their Mosques across the world, and especially under the administration of the 45th president of the United States. To interrogate whiteness as well as the norms and expectations of monolingualism and monoculturalism…”

Herein, it is recommended that we stand against White Racism by doing the following types of things:

  •         Call White Racism by its True Name, i.e., Don’t Hide Behind Terms Such as Bigotry, Intolerance, or Injustice;
  •         Have the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services Declare White Racism a Public Health Emergency;
  •         Corporations, Higher Education, Police Departments, Public Schools, and all other Public Entities Should Develop Zero Tolerance Polices Pertaining to White Racism;
  •         Provide Governmental and Private Support Research for Studies Regarding the Possibility of Racial Discrimination by Corporations Such as Uber, LYFT, and Airbnb;
  •         Never “Go Along” with White Racism to “Get Along” with the “Powers That Be;”
  •         Take a Knee to Protest White Racism When the Alma Mater is Sung at Racist Higher Education Institutions;
  •         Join Bernice King’s Effort to Have an Organized Boycott Against Waffle House;
  •         Refuse to Purchase Any Product Associated with Kanye West;
  •         In an Ongoing Fashion, Develop the Minds, Bodies, and Spirits of Black Children in Ways that Will Enable Them to Cope in and Play Their Roles in Changing a White Racist Society;
  •         Support the NAACP’s April 16, 2018 Position that “Racism and biases that make simply breathing while Black so dangerous will not just go away without our society committing more resources to discussion, education and training on implicit bias and racism. If we refuse to, we’ll continue to face the consequences of our failure to do so.”; and
  •        Do Everything Possible to Get White Racists to Understand and Proactively Address Their Racist Behaviors.

Lest we do the above type things and more, it will be left to Childish Gambino (aka Donald Glover) to shatter our senses with “This is America,” a video that gained over 100 million views in 9 days and depicts racist-induced gun violence; children immune to violence; police brutality; and suicide; as well as other horrors that emanate from the underbelly of the White Racism Epidemic.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VYOjWnS4cMY

 

Jack L. Daniel

Co-Founder, Freed Panther Society

Pittsburgh Urban Media Contributor

May 15, 2018

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