In the eddy of time, some events rise to the surface and stay there.
In 1832, in Paris, the June Rebellion ended and Victor Hugo took away indelible images that fueled a novel and one of the most successful musical theatre productions in history: Les Misérables.
In 1944, on the beach at Normandy, 24,000 American British, and Canadian troops landed and established the foothold in Operation Neptune, now commonly referred to as D-Day. The “largest seaborne operation in history” would eventually end World War II. Estimates stand between 4,000 and 9,000 German and at least 10,000 allied dead.
In 1968, just after midnight June 5th, Pacific time, in the corridors near the kitchen of The Ambassador Hotel, Robert F. Kennedy suffered three gunshots at point blank range. Roughly 26 hours later, June 6th, he was declared dead.
Although the June Rebellion was ultimately a failure, only one step towards French democracy, the background history is a cautionary tale for those who preach Revolution: There will likely be many more dead before we are done, and finish we must.
We know what happened in Europe because history tells us we were successful in putting down the Nazi movement. Just as history tells us the Confederate Army lost the war here, and we told ourselves after 1968 that racism was dead, when nothing could be further from the truth.
People today are still promoting the false notion that we are all the same inside. That’s true, as platitudes go, but it belies a greater truth, that we ignore at the peril of our siblings of color: Judgment based on race continues to be the cause of bloodshed, wrongful imprisonment, poverty, and anger. Denying this truth, that race is fiction but racism is absolutely real, is what puts people who look like me in the white hot spotlight of racism.
You do nobody favors if you boost the signal that we are all human. It’s true: Color shouldn’t matter. But it absolutely DOES matter. So does diversity. If you want to be a true ally, be angry on behalf of those people who remain unheard until someone takes a deliberate knee on a helpless neck and suffocates the life out of a human in wanton disregard for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness for every one of us.
Here are five articles you need to read and share.
Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC): White supremacists’ favorite myths about black crime rates take another hit from BJS study
The Good Men Project: White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard to Talk to White People About Racism
Teaching Tolerance: Colorblindness: the New Racism?
Get with the program. Learn new language. Stop boosting a signal that’s harmful to people who don’t look like you.