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By: Lisa M. Hayes
The Tennessee State Legislature taught a real-time class in Critical Race Theory for all the world to see yesterday.
The situation in Tennessee sends chills down my spine.
It scares me clear to my bones.
I didn’t think it could get worse than a legislative body choosing to expel duly elected members for standing with their constituents –
and then it did get worse when they decided only to expel the black men and left the white woman in question in place.
In case you were wondering what was really up, they put their racist and fascist agenda on display without shame.
Many black people will say that racism has always been there, and the fact that white folks aren’t trying to hide it anymore is troubling but not the central issue. I am not going to argue with the people of color who live in the racist hellscape about how deep this runs.
That said, I strongly believe that when white folks make no attempt to cover their racism, when they feel both compelled and empowered to just put it all out there, the problems we face in our own community of whiteness become more and more toxic every day. The failure of white people to hold other white people accountable is what is causing the massive and dangerous political divide in our country.
White people have never had to fight for our freedom or basic safety in the U.S. We are very good at minding our own damn business when it comes to topics ranging from racist outbursts to obvious bias.
While we really like to get up in other people’s business at the PTA meeting or in the homeowners association, we tend to miraculously pipe down, sit down, and stand down in the face of racism because we don’t like the discomfort of standing up when the stand looks unpopular in the room.
We think this ugliness doesn’t isn’t really about us – so we do and say nothing. Too many white people stay politely silent, and that silence is toxic.
Make no mistake, racism and fascism are not distant cousins. They are like evil paternal twins with the same damn agenda.
Fascism is coming for all of us, and the ONLY WAY TO STOP IT IS TO UNDERSTAND RACISM COMPROMISES THE FUTURE FOR EVERYONE.
(The caps are intentional. Yes, I am yelling)
Racism is not going to be dismantled by the oppressed.
White people, all of us, need to stop sitting politely and idly by thinking this is only happening to someone else.
“If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”