I was born in the north in 1975. My family moved to the south in 1976. So I was raised in the south. I saw racism when I was a child, but that isn’t how I was raised. My mother taught me that ever person is an individual, and every individual should be treated as an equal unless they give you a reason to treat them differently. In all honesty, this has caused me a lot of problems in my life. Bosses don’t like to be treated as an equal, they like to be treated as a superior. When someone demands to be treated as my superior without proving to me first how they are better then me, I quickly begin to consider them inferior. This mindset of mine has always remained on an individual basis. I have never taken my opinion of one person and spread it to their entire religious, ethnic, or racial group. I don’t believe Al Sharpton represents all blacks any more then I believe the Pope represents all Catholics. Everyone is an individual, and every individual is responsible for their own place in the world.
As I grew up, I saw racism. The town I lived in had an annual KKK parade down Main Street. I never actually went to one, but from what I was told the majority of the people their were their to protest it. There were racial tensions in my high school. One time the cops had to be called to the school because it looked like the rednecks and the blacks were going to get into it. I was a headbanger, so my group just sat back and watched. Should we headbangers have tried to diffuse the situation? Probably. Did we? No. Why? Because their were a lot more blacks, and a lot more rednecks then there where headbangers. In the locker room one day after gym class a black student asked me “Do you worship the devil?” I replied no. He then asked me “Then why do you have long hair?” I responded “Do you sell crack?” he said no. To which I responded “Then why are you black?” This upset him. Was my respond wrong? Yes. Why? Because it was my choice to look and dress the way I did. He didn’t choose to be black. However, I still stand by the point that I was trying to make. Judging someone by the way they look is always wrong.
As I grew up, I started to feel more and more judged by mainstream people for the way that I looked and that helped me identify with the black community. However , despite that, I felt that race relations in America were improving. Not only had Aerosmith collaborated with Run DMC, but Anthrax had done a song with Public Enemy. By the time I was in college, I had black friends that would go on camping trips with KKK members. (I heard them say HE was a cool black guy, but the rest of them…) It seemed peoples minds were being changed. One “cool black guy” at a time. The music scene also started to promote a cultural unity. Groups like Cyprus Hill took hip hop from a “black thing” to a “Stoner thing” emphasizing the similarities between cultures and not the differences. Let’s face it, suburban white kids can identify with “Mr. Green Thumb” far better then they can identify with “Straight outta Compton”
After college, I moved to Los Angeles (speaking of Compton). I was unprepared for the culture shock. One day while on break at work, I overheard a Mexican guy talking about “the white man does this”, and “The white man does that”. I said to him “What are you talking about? You’re white.” He furiously proclaimed “I’m not white, I’m Brown!” I had never heard such a thing! Growing up in the south, I thought I knew racism. But even the unapologetic racists I knew in the south never considered Hispanic people a different race. After all, they were descendent from people from Spain, and Spain was a part of Europe. Latin America is a combination of Latin and America. Latin is the language of Rome, and the Language of the Catholic Church. Both of these things are European, so Latin Americans were Europeans also. It seemed to me that the only reason Mexican people were being treated differently, was because they were proclaiming that they were different.
This wasn’t the only shocking racial divide I saw living in Los Angeles. Los Angeles is a very segregated city. Los Angeles has black neighborhoods, and Mexican neighborhoods, and China town, and Korea Town, and Tai Town, and Little Armenia. Almost any ethnic group you can think of has it’s own neighborhood in LA. And all of them are clearly marked so people know to stay in their place. Los Angeles, this bastion of progressive enlightenment, was the most racist place I had ever seen.
It did seem to get better. By the year 2000 I felt like the Los Angeles was catching up. The “Us vs Them” was still there, but it began to be about the elite vs the rest of us. The poor and middle class, regardless of skin color, religion, or ethnic background, began to feel like we were all being given the short end of the stick, and WE had to stand together to fight for our rights. The protest at the 2000 Democratic National Convention in Los Angeles was a shining example. Racism had faded. This was about the elite vs the rest of us.
Then came September 11th, 2001. As horrible as the events of that day were, they seemed to have (if only for a short time) unified us even more. For the first time in my memory, race was irrelevant. We were all Americans. Racism was dead. Sure, there were still racists out there. But they were either in the closet about it, or living in some demented little racist colonies out in the middle of nowhere. Most of the rascists that were left were nothing more then sad losers who couldn’t take any personal responsibility for their own lives and instead had to focus on an outside group to blame for their own poor decisions. On the other side of the spectrum was the race baiters. Much like the racists, the much more openly bigoted race baiters still looked to blame racisim for any perceived injustice against their group of choice. Both of these groups were generally considered jokes by anyone other then their own bigoted followers.
In 2008 America elected its first black president. At the time I truly believed this was the final nail in racisms coffin. To me, this proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that the majority of Americans judged a person by their own actions, and not their race. Although America may have still been divided political ideologies, it was no longer divided by race.
Americans were unified. The struggle between the haves and the have nots was still going strong, but the have nots were no longer divided by race.
In the wake of the financial collapse the Have nots began to organize and the Tea Party became a prominent movement. Started as a group to protest the governments bailouts of banks deemed “to big to fail” using taxpayer money as well as crony capitalism and the elite. The mainstream media (who is owned by the entities that the Tea Party was protesting) quickly decided to diffuse the situation by using the political divides in the country. Casting the Tea Party as bunch of right wing extremists and racists turned out to be a quick way to divide Americas opinion of the group. Soon, another group began to arrive with the same agenda. Occupy Wall Street tried to avoid the tactics of the mainstream media by not having a “leader” that could be painted as one or the other political group. This didn’t work, and Occupy Wall Street was soon painted as a bunch of left wing extremists, and communists. Even though both Fox news, and President Obama initially claimed the groups were the same, they quickly became polar opposites in the media, and were thus largely rendered insignificant.
Divide and Conquer worked. The elite quickly figured out that they could lower taxes on themselves claiming to be lowering taxes on small business (pretending to be conservatives), and they could raise taxes on the middle class claiming to be raising taxes on the rich (pretending to be liberals). By keeping America divided, the elitists could get away with whatever they wanted. They played both sides of the isle.
With all the false claims of helping small business, or helping the poor the wage gap was still growing. The economic recovery was a joke as new job creation looked good in number of jobs, but wages were decreasing. The Elite were still getting richer and more powerful, and the rest of us were still struggling. Knowing that people would eventually catch on, the elite needed something to draw peoples attention away from their plan.
As luck would have it, the war economy, and crony capitalism had created a surplus of military equipment. In order to keep up production of military equipment, (and keep money flowing into the pockets of those that control military equipment production) something needed to be done with the surplus. The equipment was given to local law enforcement agencies creating an uptick in the militarization of our nations police force. The elite considered this a good idea because in addition to keeping military equipment production levels high, it also gave them a strong force to fight any possible future protests by the fed up masses. The Posse Comitatus Act prevented the federal government from using the US military against US Citizens, so the next logical step would be to turn local law enforcement into the military… and then federalize them. These would be easy to do since a law passed after hurricane Katrina gave the president the authority to suspend Posse Comitatus in the event of a natural disaster, or any other event the president deems prevents local governments from being able to enforce the law.
Along with the increased militarization of local law enforcement came an increase in police brutality. Although police brutality affects all races, the elite controlled mainstream media has turned the issue into a racial dividing line by promoting the “racist cop” narrative where it does not exist, and elevating the views of the same race baiters who so recently were considered sad jokes. This allows them to paint anyone who doesn’t follow the racist narrative as racists themselves further dividing the nation.
It seems very sad to me that less then a decade after the election of Americas first black President, (an event that many of us saw as a unifying event that would be the end of racism in America) racial tensions in America are the highest they have been in over 30 years.