The churning I am experiencing means that everything I have to say will not fit neatly into a single blog entry. But let me start by saying this:
It’s not about what you think it’s about. Or rather, it’s not that simple. If nothing else, remember that. There is so much going on beneath the surface.
I have so much to say and it pains me so much to say it and it is going to take me a while. But let’s start with this phrase: “Implicit Bias”.
Got a minute? Take one of these tests. Or a few of them. Then ask yourself how you came to believe the things that you believe. The things that you don’t even *know* you believe.
This mess we’re in came from somewhere. We want to believe that we woke up one day with our enlightened, post-racial selves and that we are not carrying the baggage of our nation’s history. And why can’t people just get over it?
A poem by June Jordan, called “Jim Crow: The Sequel” is haunting me these days. It was written roughly in the Clinton era, and I think I came across it in an issue of Essence magazine. Here’s an excerpt:
But for two hundred years this crazy
land the law and the bullets behind the law
continued to affirm the gospel of
God-given White supremacy.
For two hundred years the law and the
bullets behind the law, and the money and
the politics behind the bullets behind the
law affirmed the gospel of
God-given White supremacy/
God-given male-White supremacy.
And neither the Emancipation Proclamation
nor the Civil War nor one constitutional
amendment after another nor one Civil Rights
legislation after another could bring about a
yielding of the followers of that gospel
to the beauty of our human face.
I know that the phrase “white supremacy” will upset some people, but please know that I am not talking about someone with a Klan hood in their closet. In fact, I am not talking about individuals at all. And I think that before I can go further, I will need to define a few things, will need to explain why I label myself a “recovering racist”. As disorganized as my rants may be, I would be so grateful if some of you would be willing to see through that and to join me as I continue to wrestle with these issues.