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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

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BG24 Newscast
September 29, 2023

Racism prevalent today with all ethnicities, important to recognize in everyday scenerios

When I first saw the newsreels and reports of the shooting death of Mike Brown, I felt much the same way as I had when Trayvon Martin was killed.

As before, I was disgusted with the situation, but what happened two years ago on that fateful night in Florida was not some freak occurrence as so many of us would like to believe it was.

And by “us,” I mean “white people.”

Now believe me, I cringed while writing those last words as much as many of you will after reading them. Perhaps you will scoff or just get mad and indignantly flip the page, and while that bothers me, this needs to be said: white privilege is real.

I know we’d much rather sit back and relax in our pajamas and watch Dr. Who and tell ourselves the lie that we live in a post-racial society, because that’s what we’re used to. Because that’s what makes us feel no shame in watching footage of Mike Brown allegedly robbing a convenience store to collectively ease our hearts.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but in my high school, racism was taught as something of the past. They never came out and said it, but that was the message.

We talked about the March on Washington and read about the Birmingham bombings, and listened to the “I have a Dream” speech, but what does that mean to a classroom full of mostly pale faces, honestly?

We could study the historical context, talk about the horrific lynchings in the south, and we could appreciate Dr. King’s poetry, but we had no cultural roots, no personal experience, nothing with which to truly grasp his message.

We didn’t understand. We couldn’t have.

Though progress has been made, the reality is that America has yet to come full circle about the things we’ve tried to sweep under the rug of history. We’ve yet to be honest with ourselves about many things, but the most obvious one is racism, and it is something whose existence we must acknowledge and, more importantly, discuss.

Yes, you and I are racist, and lest I be accused of being the clichéd, self-flagellating liberal that I may well be anyway, this applies to all races. This is not a black problem or a white problem, but an American problem.

This conversation about race is one that must transcend our egos, our prejudices, and our pride. It is one we must have if we ever hope to be able to look at something like the killing of Mike Brown with any measure of objectivity or honesty.

We don’t know at this point whether or not Darren Wilson himself is a racist, or that his killing of Mike Brown was racially motivated, but we all know what we saw in the media.

They showed him allegedly robbing a convenience store; they showed us pictures to try to portray him as a “thug” [but we all know what is really meant by that word, don’t we?]

Are some of us so insecure in our whiteness that we have to assassinate and dehumanize the character of a victim just so we can push the possibility of a racial motive a little further from our minds?

At the end of the day, I hope justice will be done for Mike Brown and all others involved, but just as with Trayvon Martin, the picture is always bigger.

Strange as it might seem, it doesn’t matter so much whether these killings were racially motivated. What matters more is that interracial violence causes us to draw lines in the sand before any of the facts come out.

There were many voices of reason in Ferguson, but many more numerous were the voices within ourselves that told us that it would be better to stay silent.

No longer.

If we want an America worthy of the next generation, we must end the silence and speak frankly to one another, so that if and when a similar tragedy ever occurs, we won’t look to tribalism and fear for answers, but to justice and truth. Even if the truth is one we might not want to hear.

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