Much like with the election of Barack Obama, after the Derek Chauvin conviction, America was quick to congratulate itself. The fallacy of a post-racial America turned out to be as foolish as the idea of a post-racial justice system. I can still see the self-congratulatory smiles from my white colleagues when they would walk up to me, shake my hand as if they had granted me a reprieve, and say, “congratulations on Obama.” I would remind them this is only a step, and they would respond with, how can you say that “you have a black president.” I accepted the congratulations but the usage of the word you, not we, were not lost on me.
The Chauvin trial is another in those first steps that could very quickly be enveloped by the angry base of racists who insist that the black American vote be limited. Sure, Governors like Brian Kemp and Ron DeSantis will rise up on their haunches as my great-granny use to say and accuse anyone that listens that black Americans cannot pull an ace of spades for a straight flush. They have both said limiting voting hours in black neighborhoods is not suppression. Taking away the ease of ‘souls to the polls’ which has been a long-standing tradition for older black Americans to access voting through their black church is not suppression. Making sure the hours most likely to affect voters of color was just making it fair, and not voter suppression.
I worked for a large east-coast painting and wallpapering firm in the 80s, with most of our consumers being independent contractors. For those of you who do not know, they start work very early and finish when the work says so. I was once a top salesperson for the company and eventually made store manager. We opened at 7 and closed at 5. I left sometime around 6 pm once I balanced the books, cashed out the register, and prepared the next morning’s bank deposit. Had the present-day law in the state of Georgia existed, I would have been denied the right to vote. I have voted, in person, in every local, state, and national election since I turned 18.
What allows people of color like me to be disenfranchised?
I experienced a small sense of relief when former officer Chauvin was led away in handcuffs for the murder of George Floyd, but I also remember how things were going to change after so many other senseless murders and beatings. The country keeps waiting for people of color to solve the problems of race in America. Why should people of color be made to feel guilty or responsible for someone else’s mess? “Post-racial America was replaced by blatant bigotry, open xenophobia, and constant verbal and physical race-based attacks. The Asian community is walking the streets of America on full alert. Black men and women are being struck down by those who swear to protect and serve. Jews had to watch Tiki torch-carrying “good people” proclaim in unmistakable terms that they will not replace Christian white Americans.
Yet still, although Donald Trump lost in his re-election bid, over 80 percent of card-carrying Republicans continue to support him. I heard something very wise today, “If you don’t stand for something, you fall for Trump.” The base of the party was first corrupted with the welcoming by John Boehner of the TEA Party and now the warm embrace of Trumpism—is the natural progression. So before you declare racial injustice a thing of the past, we are only a day away from the next loose cigarette sold or a missed child support payment.
Continue to Vote for Change.