Jonathan Moore | Politically Erect
Actually, everything is about race
Published: Thursday, February 6, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 6, 2014 09:02
As Valentine’s Day will soon come flying around the corner, I wish I could tell you that this week’s column is about being a hopeless romantic in a social media-dominated world, or something snuggly and soft like reflections on broken hearts and how I got back up again. Sadly, this is not that column, my dear friends. This is “Politically Erect” and thus, there is nothing flaccid about the conversations here. However, if you’d like to talk about my love life some other time, feel free to chat me up when you see me next.
Instead, as we ring in Black History Month, I’m going to talk about race and, more importantly, the permeation of white supremacy in American culture and why, as a human being, I think you should care about it. Frankly, it may leave you feeling a bit off-kilter, unexpectedly vulnerable and unsure of what to do next; if that’s the case, then I’ve done my job well. Since this discussion could be had in so many different ways and approached from such a wide variety of angles, I’ve decided to make a list of five reasons why everything is about race and why we need to learn to accept it. I hope you enjoy it — after all, there’s nothing I love more on a Thursday morning then walking on sunshine ... and waking up to white supremacy!
No. 1: Our nation was founded on the back of native extermination, developed through racial slavery and established as a white supremacist colonial power. Whether or not you believed the melting pot or tossed salad arguments in high school, the modern reality is that some carrots don’t want some beets and croutons in the salad at all. We find ourselves presupposing that race has no place in every discussion about the present and future of the United States, despite it being at the core of its entire past.
No. 2: Racism affects all aspect of life for millions of Americans every day. White supremacy is more than just pictures of the KKK burning crosses in black families’ yards “back in the day” — it’s a set of underpinning legal, economic, military, cultural and educational institutions that ensure the maintenance of wealth and power for a select few.
No. 3: Wealth inequality is intrinsically related to race and economic opportunity, educational disparities and the incarceration of minorities. If we’re serious about changing the socioeconomic status quo for poor whites, blacks, Latinos and other minority groups, the President needs to mention race in his State of the Union address, instead of pandering to patriotic sentiments by listing off our identities and announcing we’re all the same. Our opportunities are not, are education is not, our safety is not, our futures are not — and this is all irrevocably tied to race.
No. 4: Acknowledging white supremacy, white privilege and the role of race in our cultural discourse is not racist; rather, denial and inaction are the crux of racial injustice. Thus, acknowledging injustice isn’t enough — pushing back against privilege is taking root in the white activist community, but more needs to be done.
No. 5: Imagine a culture that consistently tells you that, not only does your race make you not beautiful or intelligent, but also that your body is disposable and your existence is insignificant. Would this be on your mind?
So, next time you or someone you know asks why it’s “always about race with *insert non-white identity* people,” just be reminded: how could it not be?
Jonathan Moore is a freshman who is majoring in political science and American studies. He can be reached at Jonathan.Moore@tufts.edu.