…ith past actions and movements, this one is entirely diverse. A recent Monmouth poll has shown that 76% of Americans now believe that racism is a big problem in the U.S. as compared with just 51% in 2018. These changes are happening and the shifts both in policy and personal responsibility are unfolding …
Yes, yes and yes. BUT, Just like the polls that showed a majority of Americans believed in ETs after plenty of television programs, the question, which you put forth, is that is this awareness going to lead to anything other than Black squares and emojis?
Those previous movements didn’t have the easy out of “hey, we’re with you” which can be translated to a tenth of a second that it takes to tap a computer key.
We do not, as a current society, have the slightest idea what endurance is. White America moves on things it cares passionately about (as in, when do I get my goddamned haircut?) as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them. I am making a very broad statement here, but here’s the thing. Only when enough of WHITE America isn’t safe, feels oppressed (even more than it is today, and it is, by the upper 1%, as is everyone), only when WHITE American feels the yoke of poverty and food deserts and shit healthcare and all there rest, will there be any lengthy commitment.
Pain, inconvenience and frustration, which the Black community has shouldered all this time, are still new bedfellows for White America. And it’s going to get one hell of a lot worse as Covid continues to take its toll, leave vast numbers unemployed, and dump even more Black and Brown families on the streets from evictions, long with a shitload of White folks who are new to the feeling. Many of those White folks never stood in line at a food center. Well then. Welcome to reality for millions of Americans for whom a Whole Foods store is a distant ideal. When fresh organic produce costs three to four times what it does at the Piggly Wiggly? Please. Just…please.
I agree completely with you, but the challenge I see is that we hang onto an issue for about three weeks (#MeToo, Covid, and I fear BLM) and then we’re bored as a society. Those who are deeply affected and invested, as in this case the Black and Brown communities, are committed. Because they have to be. Because there is no other choice. There is no other option. The endurance is born of centuries of practice, as you point out. Much of America is trained to see an issue get resolved within a hour long television show, or at worse, a miniseries. Then if we don’t have a neat wrap, winner takes all, everyone is smiling and happy, then we get irritated. The Pablum of happily ever after.
I hope I’m wrong, Danielle. I really do. But my observation is, at this point, that when America reaches the mid-century, if we don’t implode first as a country, birth rates alone will force the issue. I suspect that reality is one reason we’re seeing the kind of backlash, hate and ugliness- there is a tsunami of change coming like it or not. The simple reality of numbers will ensure that change.
I hope I’m alive to see it. I’ll be interested to see how Whites handle being a minority.
In the meantime, I suspect that a great many White folks will be finding out what it feels like to be underemployed, on the bread line, sleeping in cars, and cast aside like flotsam. Frankly, and if Covid does nothing else for us (after taking so many from us) other than to force us to reckon with the grotesqueness of our economy, the viciousness with which we treat people of color and those in dire need, then perhaps this awful experience served a purpose.
Social change costs. Some don’t get out alive. Either as leaders of movements or as individuals who end up sacrificed but whose lives become rallying points. In the last few years issues like #MeToo and Covid and BLM have acted like bitch slaps. Maybe enough of them in succession will be enough to create real momentum, for they are all interconnected at the tap root.
There is a terrible order to things here. Great social evolution requires terrible times to force change. America and the world are in transition. Whether we have the moral courage to face our shit, to walk the long walk and remake ourselves and rewrite who we are, I don’t know. To my mind, BLM is the tip of an iceberg. America has been in decline for years, her promises to her people to be able to pursue happiness built on an economy of slavery, who didn’t have an equal shot at said happiness. So was South Africa. I could go on.
I see a start. But whether or not we can tolerate the long haul, I have no idea. Right now most Americans have got the attention span of a gnat fart in a hurricane.
This human hurricane requires a touch more than that.