How Did We Get Here? It Began with President Obama

Hate didn’t just manifest last week in America. It’s been a growing problem here, ask any sane rational Person of Color. An uptick in…

How Did We Get Here? It Began with President Obama
“I want to take a look one more time. I’m not going to see this again.” — As he leaves the platform and enters the U.S. Capitol for the inaugural luncheon following the inaugural swearing-in ceremony on 21 January 2013, United States President Barack Obama pauses to look back at the crowd attending his second inauguration. Source: Wikipedia Commons- White House/Lawrence Jackson

Hate didn’t just manifest last week in America. It’s been a growing problem here, ask any sane rational Person of Color. An uptick in racism began shortly after 9/11, but the real explosion of Southern fried style hate was triggered the day Obama became the President.

White Supremacists couldn’t take a Black man in their White House.

Hate in this country got worse after Obama was elected in November 2008. I can recall Mitch McConnell saying he was going to oppose this President at every step making him a one term president, as if a Black man was tainting their White House. You know the White House that old, rich, White privileged men have managed to hold onto sacredly for centuries. The White House that’s supposed to be spoon for the melting pot.

So much for that theory.

Mitch McConnell gave one of the many dog whistles to White men that Black people know oh so well the night Obama was elected. We Black folks girded our loins. We knew what was getting ready to happen. Scary, racist White people are as reliable as air in all their ways, just like their non-White allies.

The Republican Party, the Tea Party, individuals believing in White Supremacy and Superiority, and White nationalist groups spewed overt and covert threats, slights to not only intimidate President Obama, but other innocent People of Color. Obama’s wife and daughters endured racist insults online, via mail, and at rallies. Old White Supremacy was making his intentions known, once more. America treated Obama and his disrespect like business as usual for People of Color living under duress.

Obama’s election showed Americans and the world the undying spirit of White Supremacy.

White Supremacy was offended by a Black man who had the audacity to hope, the fortitude to try, and the ability to beat White politicians at their own games. White Supremacists were super offended White people would offer to help him win.

And so, White Supremacy comeuppance plans went into effect.

It has been hell to pay for People of Color since 2008. But privileged White folks have walked around America going about life in your “Only White Lives Matter” cloak of invisibility in carefree mode. Your lives aren’t usually in danger, and most days you’re not too concerned about anyone else's life.

We tried to tell you this day was coming. Now, we’re here.

The Warning

When White people were being warned about the growing domestic terrorism back in 2009 by the first Black President of all people, no one believed him. Republicans were angry about being accused of being called terrorists. Even on Obama’s way out of office, he gave us all another courtesy warning about the growing threats of domestic terrorism from our own intelligence sources, and many Americans either ignored it or refused to believe it.

Supremacists lied about their intentions to do more harm to us, as they always do, and the privileged kept their heads stuck up their asses.

But last week happened.

Suddenly the blind can see now, and racists can’t hide their motives any longer. White Supremacy is out of the bag, and it ain’t going back in without a fight.

The Hate Complacency Cultivated

For some reason, last week’s domestic terror was significant to some of us. Bombs being sent to several Congressional Representatives, two former Presidents, and a few wealthy Jewish Democratic donors wasn’t quite enough for some complacent White people. Two Black people being shot in the back of their heads in a Kentucky Kroger’s grocery store wasn’t a wake-up call for some naive White people thinking America is not a racist nation. (Which still has not been labeled a hate crime by the way, even though the suspect tried to enter a Black church like Dylan Roof)

I guess the Jewish Synagogue shooting that killed 11 people in Pittsburgh was enough death in one week for the slow and disengaged in America to finally pay attention. I just don’t get it. It like there is a tale of Two Americas. One for the White and the privileged, and the other one for the rest of us.

We cried out to America, but she didn’t listen.

It’s too late now. Complacency and inaction are green lights for Supremacists. This could have been avoided if we could have honest dialogues about race, institutional racism, inequality, and America’s racist, revisionist history.

We Need to Talk?

Communication is the key to any healthy relationship. Just like in a marriage, when couples stop communicating, the marriage begins to die. People in the relationship find outside activities to distract them from the misery at home, leading to more destruction. Sometimes, the couple walks around living in a fantasy land pretending nothing is wrong, smiling on the outside while crying on the inside.

America is combination of all sorts of married couples who can’t communicate openly and honestly about race and its impact on us daily.

We walk around unable to trust our partners. The people who should have our backs!

Just like in a marriage, some folks care while others may not. Those who don’t care are living in a bubble right now, and they are happy just the way things are. Then there’s that couple dealing with domestic violence. The husband beats and emotionally abuses the wife and kids, withholds finances from the family, and manipulates them with his hate. The abuser is a narcissist and a sociopath. We Americans are a combination of all these different relationships, but we don’t have to be.

America is in trouble, and it won’t get better until we learn to communicate, openly, honestly, and without fear. It won’t be easy. It will be painful to begin these dialogues, but it must be done in order to set the relationship on the right course. It’s long over due too. There are too many shallow lies overshadowing painful truths. Let’s pull the band-aids from this nation’s deepest wounds and get the healing process started.

It Takes Two

Communication about this hate tied to racism as well as what we perceive as racism is a two-way street. Good communication requires not only talking, but it also requires being an active listener and changes on the parts of both parties to make the relationship better.

We are better than this America. History tells us so.

When peaceful, hard-working People of Color tell you there is something wrong when it comes to race relations and our lives being in jeopardy…don’t talk, just listen. Then follow the instructions of Sam McKenzie Jr. and begin allocating resources to combat the nation’s racism problem.

Inaction and complacency comes with deadly price tags.

White Supremacy and White privilege is woven deeply into the foundational fabrics of America. It’s time we repair some of the frayed fabric. We need fresh threads. We need good, strong threads of different shades and colors woven into America’s foundation. Those threads will make all of us, the fabric that is America, much stronger. Good communication will strengthen us.

Darkness flees light.

Where Do We Go From Here?

If we fail to change, or if we continue to bow to the pressures of bigotry, supremacy, division, hate, and outright lies…We will not just stay here in this bad place we find ourselves in right now, we are digging ourselves into a hole that only another full outright civil war can get us out of.

If another civil war is what you want, then keep ignoring what you see, what you hear, and continue to do nothing. The frayed fringes of America are leading us right now, whether we want them to or not. We’re here now, but we don’t have to stay here.

We can move backwards (#MAGA), or we can move forward.

I hope you make the right choice, and I pray the rest of us can survive should you decide to make the wrong one.

Marley K., 2018