Change Only Skin Deep
On the outside, I look like an aerodynamic, state-of-the-art dream car befitting our technological age, but, inside, I’m running on a manual transmission, disc brakes, and windows I crank down in the summer for “air conditioning” and crank up in the winter to keep the cold out.
I am, in this awkward metaphor, a clear and honest representation of how far America’s soul has advanced with respect to race relations and racial justice.
We appear sincere and talk a good game. We enhance our spurious facade with physical gestures of racial support — raised fists, signs proclaiming BLM, we march to protest racial injustice — yes, these all video well for news coverage and documentaries.
But, down deep, America has budged only slightly since July 2, 1964.
Blacks still die at the hands of white Supremacists; not at the end of a rope but from the barrel of a police semi-automatic or the lethal pressure of a malevolent knee to the neck. The three-fifths compromise of 1787 created an “acceptable” metric for counting enslaved peoples to determine a states “total” population. This imperfect number was used to determine the number of seats a state was allocated in the House of Representatives and how much it would pay in taxes.
Newly enacted voter suppression laws have exactly the same effect 134 years later and were inspired by an equally foreboding racial prejudice. They minimize the value of non-whites by increasing the barriers to their constitutional right to vote. If three-fifths of the minority voting population make it to the polls in 2022, white supremacists (wearing red hats) have prevailed. Again.
Don’t be fooled by the existence of people of color in Congress, in government leadership or at the head of major corporations. This is all part of the charade. It “looks” good. Promising. Even progressive.
Skin color is just that…skin color. The color beneath, in the nuts and bolts of our country, remains dark and unchanged.
We are witnessing the last gasps of an unworthy white majority. 2045 is the year demographers have targeted as the year whites lose their majority status and become a minority race in America.
If it takes ninety-one years to realize the goals of the Civil Rights Act, it will be more than a shallow victory. It will cut deep and be transformative.
Civil rights will look different…be different…and maybe, just maybe, we can all go forward in sync with the times.
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