The justice possible with knowing we (white people) do not know as much as we think we do.
We know Roy Moore is a monster, a total embarrassment
to our state. But in the eyes of black voters, what makes
him more of a monster than the parade of sleazy politicians
who have stood against black interests for generations?
So yes, I’m voting for Doug Jones but only because it’s
a vote against Roy Moore. And that’s not good enough to
rally a base of voters who are already stricken with apathy.
We’re more than civil rights. We’re bigger than fish fries.
And we want to be heard.
I am a white woman raised in the South. I do not want a person who believes our country was at its best during slavery to be elected to the U.S. Senate. I do not want a man in the Senate who has a history of harmful sexual behavior with teenage girls – a man in adamant denial of this history in the face of incontrovertable evidence.
What I do want is for white people privileged enough to run for office and/or to vote to get it that WE DO NOT KNOW as much as we think we do. We have lived our whole lives in a society designed to perpetuate itself through us. In that, we simply do not know what it means to be a person of color in this country.
I’m talking to you. Progressives/Democrats. It’s time to actually listen. To be surprised at how little we understand.
I sincerely hope that Doug Jones wins the election later this week in Alabama – the election to fill that state’s vacant seat in the U.S. Senate, but I am somewhere between smh and horrified by the tone deafness of his campaign’s choices.
In the words of Birmingham, Ala citizen, Edward Bowser, “I appreciate what Doug Jones did in prosecuting KKK members in the deaths of four innocent girls. But when that’s the one and only message of black interest coming from your campaign, it shows an extreme disconnect.”
As MIchael Harriot of The Root, writes, “On the rare occasions when the Democratic Party does address black voters, it only talks about the “black issues”: policing, mass incarceration, civil rights, etc. For the party leadership, black people aren’t whole people who have the same concerns about taxes, job creation, education initiatives, international policy and economics as other voters. They are simply bodies collected in the coffers of the party’s ineffective longing for power.”
Read those two paragraphs again. Think about what these two people are saying.
Listen. Think. Stay out of reflexive defensiveness (e.g., “but, I’m not racist”). Listen!!
Then act – with humility, in full collaboration, listening all the time and learning in the way that can only come with giving up the know-it-all stance white people have been schooled to take (usually unconsciously). Don’t get paralyzed in guilt (that too, a privilege). Keep strong in the trajectory of justice – the real justice beyond all ideas and great words. No one may notice, but you will know.