The conversation on race has certainly started around here, though much of it is rehashing old “memes”. Recent reactions by some of the white population to peaceful, well planned and executed protests taking place in various areas of the St. Louis Metro area have been eerily reminiscent of films from the late 1950’s and early ’60’s. These reactions have been “in your face” racism of the most hateful kind. Even the Ku Klux Klan has been leafleting high end neighborhoods and promising to come to town in force should no indictment be returned to “protect the white race from mongrels”. Ugh!
Unfortunately, those of us who are “melanin deficient”, have been hearing and reading this for months now in the comments/editorials sections of local newspapers, TV stations and our own WP, FB, Twitter, etc. There seems to be some sort of assumption that, simply because we resemble those commenting etc., we would be in agreement with the comments. Hm, sounds a bit like…..painting all people of ____ with the same brush?
The incident in Ferguson sparked a pile of tinder laid down over the last 150 years by societal and systemic racism in the St. Louis region. It should have come as no surprise that the black population finally snapped. What is the surprise, to me, is the fact that the “hidden racism” has now become so very visible. It’s as if the protests in the area somehow gave “permission” to racists to come out of the trash heap of history.
From the Darren Wilson “fan club” and fundraisers that outstripped the Michael Brown funeral fundraiser, police wearing “I ❤ Darren Wilson” bracelets, T-shirts and such with the same sentiment to students of St. Louis University (a private Jesuit University) dropping a banner from the top of the Catherdral stating “We Are Darren Wilson”. It’s just as ugly now as it was in Mississippi, or Alabama or Florida and on and on. Some of us have turned our faces away from it for a time but we do return to take up the fight against it eventually.
For myself, it is painful to watch those that look like me act like someone from the Deep South rejecting school desegregation or integration of stores, hotels etc. But, it only inspires me to dive back into the fray because that sort of thing belongs in history, not in today’s society in America.