Billy Joel and Glass Houses
Most of us, at some point in life, are confronted with ugly truths. This may be anything from learning your family enshrines xenophobic hate speech to maybe being unabashedly bitchy. Then some things hit us hard in our core beliefs. I have always believed the races to be equal. My ugly truth is my white silence.
We all sit in houses of prejudice. This house is built on a foundation of privilege and consistently built on the backs of people of color. How built up that house is and how comfortable we are in it speak volumes as to our true selves. I am uncomfortable in that house yet I have aided the racists who are comfortable in this theoretical neighborhood by doing and saying nothing.
The common voice of the neighbors are sometimes loud and tainted with lives unchallenged and adversity-free. I find myself assaulted on many fronts. The arguments come in many shades, “The people who lost their lives weren’t good people or they were criminals.” and “They are targeting our history.” to confused overtones, “What do they want?” Each of these arguments I plan to disassemble later. This work of ending my silence is exhausting but I will live in these houses of racism no longer.
We are creatures of habit. The old maxim is highlighted more clearly and brightly in today’s context. We are suddenly in an era of great upheaval and change. What we do now and how we respond shows our habits. Will we sink into the morass of twisted bigotry and the status quo that carries on hundreds of years of oppression or will we boost ourselves up and onwards to the future?
I know that I have allowed people to say terribly wicked things. I always dismissed them as too ignorant or the sentiment is too engrained. What bullshit we tell ourselves to quiet inner outrage. These recent months have stoked that fire within. I can no longer hide my thoughts and be polite. Being polite is not keeping silent in the face of bigotry and hate. It is crashing into it, disturbing its ability to express these heinous thoughts and actions.
We must be silent no longer. We need to make a resolution here and now, that we will use whatever stage we are given, whatever privilege with which we are imbued and whatever platform of expression we are versed in, to smash through any prejudices, dismantle them and burn them on the altar of equality, liberty and freedom. We owe it to ourselves and to each other.
This video credit belongs to author Kimberly Jones.
The common phrases we hear all contain clues to the real fear of the speaker. We all come from unique backgrounds and have unique experiences. This uniqueness is what can bias opinions or lean them closer to others.
As we see reporting of police brutality rising, so too does either outrage or complacency. The phrase “The people who lost their lives weren’t good people or they were criminals” has creeped out more than once in discussions with other whites. The acts of a person should not determine whether their MURDER was justified.
Murder should never be justified.
Every religion and philosophical belief is that murder is the most serious and heinous of crimes. This should not even be a topic. Simple research also shows the past crimes of a victim does not correlate to the “crime” they committed immediately prior to the arrest. These crimes are as simple as counterfeit money, DWI/DUI, selling cigarettes and loitering. How do these crimes justify being murdered? They just don’t.
When people of color have protested before, by marching, chanting or even taking a knee during the anthem, it was all deemed inappropriate.
How else should this be done? What methods haven’t already been exhausted in the effort for equality and justice? What happens next is rioting or looting, which seemed good enough for this country during its founding. Has everyone forgotten when patriots burned down customs halls, tax offices, governors houses and other buildings of “oppression”?
Those patriots also tarred and feathered major leaders in the colonies and made them “ride the rail.” Then, when the government escalated, billeting troops and calling for arms, full war occurred, with patriots swept by the fury of the fates into the fields. Our country was founded on bloodshed, and if we cannot end the trend of injustice, bigotry and inequality, bloodshed may be where this country is reborn once again.
Let us wander to another question:
“What do they want?” The simple answer is equal protection under the law. This may sound familiar because it is enshrined in our Constitution (Amendment XIV, Section 1).
To illustrate, imagine you are a businessman/businesswoman. You have worked hard to establish your business and it is successful. Your business is heralded as part of a community in its heyday. Everyone around you also owns a successful business. Everyone lives in a nice house. Life is pretty much almost perfect.
Except this is Tulsa, Oklahoma, the year is 1921, and you are black.
Or this is Perry, Florida and the year is 1922. Or this is Rosewood, Florida and the year is 1923. The story is not a hypothetical; all of these incidents were racially motivated massacres and total destruction of black neighborhoods. Justice for all these cases was either never served or it was severely miscarried.
These actions have all been allowed by both overt racism and shameless complacency. Both are equally terrible. We must research these narratives, these stories, these lives every day. Learn their truth and speak with their voice. The learning will never be done.
https:// upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/8/81/Billy_Joel_-_Glass_Houses .jpg
https:// www. youtube.com/watch?v=_dg86g-QlM0