First is to state, in simplest terms, solidarity with all those who are threatened by white nationalists.
And to state in the simple, decent and humane phrase, Black. Lives. Matter.
It should be utterly uncontroversial to say so. That people manage to take offense to it, shows how successful and pervasive white supremacy continues to be. The young men with their Tiki torches in Charlottesville didn’t look “marginal”; and they’re not, any more than the Klansmen who wore clownish costumes and went back to normal lives after committing horrific violence, were marginal.
And now, they have an ally in the most powerful office in the world. We knew who Trump was, who he’s always been: An unrepentant, raw racists. That was the very core of his appeal to the GOP base — the thing that separated him from the GOP pack. That so many fellow Americans voted for him continues to be a shock that I can’t live down. A gut-punch, every single day.
I will somewhat awkwardly — but, I think, appropriately — bring this back home to Massachusetts. We also live in a white supremacist-ordered society. It is impossible to deny. If you were a torch-wielding Nazi, you would:
- Demand that African-Americans/people of color be segregated from whites in housing. You would keep them away even in homeownership, and certainly try to zone them out of your neighborhood.
- Infiltrate law enforcement so that policing reflects your vicious agenda. (More … etc.)
- You would make your hostility clear through vandalism.
- You would use the prison system to keep people vulnerable and poor, for generations. While they’re there you’d charge them outrageous rates for using the phone, and make them drink unsafe water.
- You would demand that even doctors treat people of color worse than whites. You might try to take away their health care altogether.
- And yeah, you might shout some epithets at a Red Sox game, or on the street.
(Yes, I’ve referred back to this post, a bitter list of particulars.)
I’d like to suggest that we use this moment to envision “positive peace, which is the presence of justice“. There are substantial steps we could take, right now, this year, to start to degrade this setup. For example, we could pass a raft of criminal justice reforms: Sentencing, diversion from prison, eliminating de facto “debtor’s prison”, etc (all here, many thanks to ProgressiveMass). These bills are in this legislative session; and in context of the whole, it would be a very modest start indeed.
What would a non-white-supremacist Massachusetts look like? live like?