Evan F. Moore: There is no ‘both sides’ when it comes to racism, prejudice
I grew up in a family of police officers, teachers, activists and social workers. Some of them were members of unions, the Nation of Islam or the Black Panther Party.
I heard a lot of intense conversations about black life in America.
When I hear of “both sides” talk regarding recent events in Charlottesville, Virginia, I think of the time when, as a student at Hampton University, the National Organization for European-American Rights set up shop down the street from our campus. NOFEAR is affiliated with well-known white supremacist and Trump supporter David Duke. Hampton University in Virginia is the home of The Emancipation Oak — the tree that the black community gathered under to hear the first Southern reading of President Abraham Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation in 1863. Clearly NOFEAR was trolling us by waving Confederate flags and such.
Duke, NOFEAR, President Trump and the folks in Charlottesville who chanted “blood and soil” don’t care about “sides.” If they aren’t worried about it, why should I be?
I’m not going to hug it out with people who want to kill black people, or anyone else, for that matter.
Many white people, no matter their political leanings, often struggle when it comes to race. Many of them seem to think that racism is just about slurs. When that happens, it is easy to regard it as a one-off, as a rare experience.
Here’s a revelation for the “This isn’t us” crowd.
This has always been US.
Do you need more proof?
One day, I’ll tell you all about the time a stranger walked up to my Latina wife and biracial daughter at a parade and asked, “Whose baby is that?” Racist assumptions based on phenotype are bit much to put on a kid that’s not even 2 years old.
Or why decades ago, my grandmother— pregnant and holding my two young aunts — had to give up her seat on a train to a white man.
Or ask me about the time when I was sent a Facebook inbox message calling for my head to be blown off like Michael Brown because I wrote a column someone didn’t like.
Occasionally, I’m accused of being a race-baiter. Mainly because I tend to make white people uncomfortable by talking about things they rather not hear.
Guess what? People of color deal with with race and racism in one way, shape or form EVERY DAY. And just because this stuff wasn’t in your history books, doesn’t mean we’ve made this stuff up.
And for us to hug it out with white supremacists is the dumbest thing I’ve ever heard.
— Evan F. Moore is a syndicated columnist with GateHouse Media. He writes about the intersection of race, violence and culture. His work has been featured in Rolling Stone, Chicago Tribune and Ebony. Follow him on Twitter @evanfmoore.