Most things in America are solved by either common sense, solemnity, or time. The one exception is race. Historically both the Democratic and Republican party has used race as a means of power and control. Although the Federalist Party is long dead, the current Republicans are fighting, legislating, and restoring a form of voter-suppressing Jim Crow with a Federalist’s foundation. Like the Federalist party, but with a newly formed ambiguous stance on the power of state government, the GOP favors big business, big banks, and big military. Currently, the GOP has a member who is stalking a Democratic counterpart and supported calls for a bullet to the head of Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The GOP is welcoming excuse-making for conspirators, white supremacists, insurrectionists, and the believers in lies writ large.
The basis for the current efforts to rid the electorate of “urban liberal” voters is obviously race. Any laws that would deny water to people standing in lines, especially in hot southern states, is hiding the evil right under one’s nose. Using the excuse of stopping electioneering or advocation for a candidate while you pass out water is as transparently specious as counting jelly beans in a jar. How about the 70-year-old man or woman standing in hours-long lines, is that not a detriment to their health and humanity? I am not sure that the part of America not confronted by the color of their skin when trying to hail a cab or waiting at a jewelry counter or getting second looks from a police officer resonates with the proper amount of outrage—outside communities of color. The daily emotional hurts that come with living in a skin you cannot and do not want to escape is not the failure of the person of color but is the fault of intrinsic systemic racism.
I get infuriated listening to the debates about my rights and humanity, I can only imagine the internal fury my grandparents had to swallow because they could not eat or drink in places that decided on their worthiness. I am old enough to remember having my skin compared to the hue of a brown paper bag to pass an intra-race acceptance test. Those sort of brainwashing self-hating practices have evolved from skin color, hair texture, and patterns of speech, to confusing messages surrounding cultural appropriation. As a child, I spent so much of my time trying to figure out my place in life. Maybe had I read more comic books it would have relieved some of my childhood anxiety. I was a big sports fan and would ask my parents how can baseball records mean anything when a part of the population was prohibited from participating. Was any record from the inception of professional baseball in 1869 until April of 1947 valid? If my skin and puffy lips are so bad why do white Americans flock to beaches to get brown or inflate their lips with fillers?
A lot of the mind-numbing adaptations stem from slavery when a concerted effort was made to strip everything from the enslaved Africans who were thrown into the holes of disease-infested ships and forced to build the infrastructure of an alien land. Religion, languages, and family were taken away. Voting was the first tangible change after Emancipation but that was quickly followed by violence to deny those newfound rights. Reconstruction was followed by the stripping of voting rights. Throughout history rights for minorities have always been marked by a violent reaction. This time it was an insurrection; is Burr/Hamilton far behind or is speaking through a mail slot just the middle?
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