Where Will History Have You Seated?: The Current Racial Situation in the U.S.

Race is not a difficult topic for me to talk about, but for some it is.

Some people simply don’t like people who are different-period.  I don’t understand this type of thinking, but it exists and I usually avoid these people at all costs.

There is one difficulty for me in trying to understand racism: you cannot understand what it is to be black in America unless you are black in America.  Modern racism in America is subtle.  I know this because I have had many conversations with friends of mine who experience it on a daily basis.

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Selma, Ala 1965

 

I still think it is important for us to ask questions.  Is it possible that there are failures in our system?  Is it possible that there are laws which more heavily penalize people of color? Is it possible that a system failure has occurred which has resulted in our prisons being overpopulated with black men?  Is it remotely possible that average white Americans are unaware of these issues because they are far removed from the average black family?  Is it possible that we need to reassess our current system for failures?  Is it time for ALL people to take these questions seriously and demand of our legislators to reevaluate what is going on in our leadership?

I believe the answer to these questions is yes.  Racism has become subtle and institutional in the United States and you need look no further than our judicial system as it relates to mandatory minimums; especially crack cocaine.  In the U.S. there is a legal difference between a conviction of crack cocaine possession and powder cocaine possession.  There is a set sentencing disparity of 18:1 and differing mandatory minimums.  A mandatory minimum in the U.S. states that for particular convictions the convicted must serve a sentence no less than the legally set standard or minimum.  My reading on this topic began with Michele Alexander who is a law professor at Stanford Law School and author of The New Jim Crow, which led me to finding an article on Wikipedia loaded with tons of resource material.  I highly recommend reading the Wiki article for an overview of some incredible facts.

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The stats on race and drug conviction/sentencing are eye-opening to say the least.  If you are black in the U.S. you are 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana although the the same percentage of whites use the drug as blacks:

In 1998 there were wide racial disparities in arrests, prosecutions, sentencing and deaths. African-Americans, who only comprised 13% of regular drug users, made up for 35% of drug arrests, 55% of convictions, and 74% of people sent to prison for drug possession crimes.[2] Nationwide African-Americans were sent to state prisons for drug offenses 13 times more often than white men,[14][15] even though they only comprise 13% of regular drug users.[2] A 2006 study found that blacks were significantly overrepresented among those arrested for drug delivery offenses in Seattle. The same study found that this was a result of law enforcement focusing on crack offenders, on outdoor venues, and dedicating resources to racially heterogeneous neighborhoods.[16] A 2008 paper stated that drug use rates among Blacks (7.4%) were comparable to those among Whites (7.2%), meaning that, since there are far more White Americans than Black Americans, 72% of illegal drug users in America are white, while only 15% are black.[15] A 2015 study found that minorities have been disproportionately arrested for drug offenses, and that this difference “cannot be explained by differences in drug offending, nondrug offending, or residing in the kinds of neighborhoods likely to have heavy police emphasis on drug offending.”[17] – Wikipedia, Race and the War on Drugs

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When I read these numbers and dive deeper into reading the sources I can’t help but ask myself what is really going on here.  You see it is very easy as a white man to see the world through the lens of being white.  It is only when you accept the reality that not everyone is white and not everyone’s view of America is the same, that one can then look at the situation for what it really is-people of color get treated differently in America.  Not all the time, but often enough that people are finally getting fed up.

This is difficult for some to admit because it requires us all to recognize 400 years of oppression and misery.  And I caution you against comparing the modern day events to that of Martin Luther King, Jr. back in the day.  White America has fallen into a weird love affair with the deceased Dr. King.  Don’t forget that before his ASSASSINATION (one that most people now recognize was perpetrated by the white establishment), MLK was viewed unfavorably by 66% of white Americans.  So to ask black America to act more like MLK??…well they are actually.

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So what do we do?  I choose to ask questions and I do so because questions disarm hatred. They disarm my preconceived ideas about Black Lives Matter (which I will admit I am not a proponent). Questions disarm me from putting up resistance due to my own prejudices. Questions force me to take a look at issues from all sides.  Questions make me take a step out of my world and consider the possibility that I could have a wrong opinion or world-view.  Questions force me to consider compassion versus judgment.  Questions break down walls.

It is easy to look at the current events in Charlotte, NC and get distracted with the rioting, looting, the exclamations of hatred toward whites.  You see that is what the media does best-they distract away from the cause and get the reader to focus on the effects.  They shape the story in such a way as to be dramatic, evoke emotions of fear, create chaos and division as a way to sell more news.  You see, the cause is years of frustration over a political and financial system designed to keep people in their place.  The effect is a riot. The cause is unfair treatment in the workplace.  The effect is refusing to listen to the commands of an officer of the law.  The cause is new information revealing the CIA actually did inject the black community with crack cocaine which has resulted in the destruction of many black families and the incarceration of a high percentage of black males  (Huffington Post).  The effect is a populace who is disenfranchised and suspicious of the government.  The cause is getting seated last a restaurants or waiting long periods of time for service.  The cause is having all eyes on you any time you enter a retail store. The cause is hearing car doors lock when you walk down the sidewalk.  The cause is having your “funny” white friend tell an off-color, subtly racist joke expecting you to find the humor.   The cause is having your resume ignored or trashed because the name sounds “too black.”  The cause is having an overwhelming number of “black” schools being underfunded.  

I’m not making this stuff up folks and these instances are not from my reading or imagination.  These are instances from my friends who happen to be black.  They are real and they happen every single day.  The facts are overwhelming and they are real.

So what am I suppose to do?  What is a middle-class, white dude from Charlotte, NC suppose to do?  I am suppose to stand up for what is right.  I am suppose to stand on the side of justice.  I expect of myself to speak out.  I might not be black, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look with my eyes and see something isn’t right.

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My hope is that each one of you challenge your current views.  Make yourself argue the counterpoints.  Consider the argument from the other side of the table.  Take a deep look at what the African-American community is really saying and consider the validity of their complaints.  Ask the tough questions about conviction rates and our judicial system.  Ask your legislators these tough questions.  Take a couple of weeks and study the demographic statistics.  I did and I can say that my “this doesn’t add up” bell went off.

At the end of my life I will die feeling satisfied that I stood for what was right.  You will find me on my brothers side of the table; arm-in-arm, hand-in-hand. History will show that I stood for truth and justice, not what was convenient or popular.  Where will history have you seated?

46 thoughts on “Where Will History Have You Seated?: The Current Racial Situation in the U.S.

  1. We were just talking about some of these facts yesterday after church.
    There is a huge difference is the treatment of heroin addicts compared to crack addicts too.
    I’m with you, it’s time for white America to see what’s going on through the len of reality.
    Throughout my career I had always been the only black in my field. And racism was something none of my white co-workers ever wanted to talk about.
    That right there is the first problem.
    Great article!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I stand for what is right. I have posted comments like this on Facebook before and get tons of backlash which tells me I am on the right side of the issue. The simple reality is the system was rigged from the beginning to favor rich white men-period.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you for the perfect explanation. In a class given by Jane Elliott, she asked the an all white audience, “Which one of you would want to treated the way Black people are in this society, then stand?”. Of course no one stood, then she asked

    Liked by 1 person

    • “If you don’t want that for you, then why do you accept it and want it for someone else? Because that means you know whats happening..”
      Kaepernick, doesn’t kneel because he hates this country or White people. He kneels because he knows that the way things were constructed didn’t include anyone but White people when the considerations and rights were given. That even though the rights were later given, they still aren’t respected in daily life. There shouldn’t be a given of solidarity when I’m still treated as if I’m property, instead of a human being with a right to exist and freedom of movement. Black people are repeatedly told on a daily basis that we don’t have those rights. And I’m not interested in hearing a rebuttal, because I see my point proven everyday we have to add another hashtag. And the riots, as they are called, are a result of the frustration of not being listened to over and over again. Notice if it were a hockey event attended by Whites. it would be called kids just having a good time. Double standard living and thinking becomes an oppressive part of being black in America, that we’re told that we should just shut up and accept, because it makes everyone too uncomfortable to face. But our bodies lying with bullet holes in the news repeatedly doesn’t make “you” uncomfortable because there is still dinner on the table, still a car in the garage, a check in the mail, and a good night’s sleep. Now I don’t mean everyone obviously but it’s enough novacaine in the water to put it to the side everyday.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Reblogged this on Belle Papillon 24/7 and commented:
    I feel so frustrated about the state of our nation in this particular situation. It just gets worse and worse. I agree that the media plays a major role in this and I feel that they have an obligation to provide the public unadulterated truth but on the contrary because of greed they taint it to sell and attract more viewers. That is the face of the beast — competition and money makes people lose their integrity. And who suffers? Us… what does this cost us? World Peace.
    I will keep saying it… it’s all connected.

    When will the killing stop? racism… prejudice… ignorance… hate… it all has to end some time. We have to commit to not be a part of this cycle. Be the change. It starts with me and you.

    Let us open our eyes… increase awareness. Don’t fall into this trap and don’t be a victim. There’s a wealth of information out there. As Danny says, ask questions. Don’t believe everything you read.
    Then the next question is… how do you know who to believe?

    Thanks for sharing, Danny.

    Namaste!
    ❤ BP

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The fact that you’ve chosen several pictures selectively with men waving the Tennessee Confederate battle flag shows enough how little you actially understand America and the history of racism. This is littered with truth in a sense but in context it comes off as victomhood.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Thanks, Danny for another thought provoking post. I completely agree that the judicial system has been rigged against people of color for many, many years. Just looking at the incarceration statistics is proof enough! I believe it’s time for white America to listen without prejudice, if that’s possible. Stop talking and just listen! I also think Bobby Kennedy was on to something when he talked about poverty, which is the root of many, if not most of these problems. He said, “I believe that, as long as there is plenty, poverty is evil.” Right on. Keeping the conversation going is the only way through this, just my opinion, but everyone wants to be heard, and the last time I read our Constitution, everyone has a right to be heard.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Reblogged this on KimKnight_Author and commented:
    It’s hard for me to read these statistics, and to know that in the USA with all that’s gone on and is currently going on with regard to the African – American community and the law, that sadly in the eyes of some, my son will always be public enemy #1. Just because who he is. I hope that one day, every white male will look at my son and see him as a man and an equal -not a threat, possible drug dealer or someone to be man handled roughly, oh and not believe that YES he is the owner of this brand new car it is not stolen! It’s his! … I hope by the time he’s a man things will change for him, and people will see him differently.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I hope this does not get anyone upset with me…but racism has been an issue that stems beyond the black populous. The reservations and their increasingly smaller size in America speaks volumes to me. So the only question I can ask is…why just sum it up to black lives and injustice against blacks? This nation…the nation in which I live in…its very systems segregate us. Not only in terms of race, but gender, as well as our overall well-being. We are growing more and more into a country of intolerance. While racism is no doubt, an issue… I feel like it is just the tip of the iceberg. Especially seeing as I have disabled friends, lesbian friends, etc. who at some point in time have felt persecuted and continue to feel as much. By no means am I saying racism does not exist. It does, among all races in the U.S. of A. It begins with our legislation and has weeded its way down to the populous. We are not a country that respects freedoms and individualities. It is more or less a dream that a select few of us still entertain. Would I want to be treated like a black individual? No. Then I would not want to be treated like a Transgender, Lesbian, Homosexual, Native American, or even one of the Disabled in this country.

    Liked by 3 people

    • First I would say you are right. My post did mention “people of color.” And although I agree with you, my post was inspired by the current events transpiring in my hometown of Charlotte which at the time is receiving global recognition for the race issue as it pertains to the African-American community. As far as lesbian, disabled, transgender…this post is specifically about race and nothing else. I am thankful that you took a few minutes to read my scribbles and to leave your thoughts for others to read. It is important for all people to live freely.
      Danny

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Reblogged this on A Momma's View and commented:
    I couldn’t agree more with Danny. It’s time we read up on facts and we take a stand. I especially like this part:

    “So what am I suppose to do? What is a middle-class, white dude from Charlotte, NC suppose to do? I am suppose to stand up for what is right. I am suppose to stand on the side of justice. I expect of myself to speak out. I might not be black, but that doesn’t mean I can’t look with my eyes and see something isn’t right.”

    Just consider how it would feel if we would turn it around. How you would feel if you would be treated the way people are treated. Consider not having what you think is normal. Ask yourself where the sense in it is. There is none.

    The time is right for change. We are change. Every single one of us. Stop accepting the old way. Stand up for the right way. You don’t have to march. You don’t have to go nuts. Just do the right think on a daily base, step by step…

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ve heard some of the questions they get asked during a basic traffic stop, things like “do you have permission to drive this vehicle,” and such. They assume that the car doesn’t belong to them. As a woman, I can relate in my experience of sexism. It’s infuriating to be speaking to someone and then be rudely interrupted only to realize that you no longer have the attention of the person you were talking to. What’s even worse is when they don’t even allow you to finish making your point but get distracted by the interruption and forget you were even talking!

    Liked by 1 person

    • I forgot about this post, but I do recall that I got absolutely blasted for writing this. Some of the most racist emails and FB, Twitter messages ever! lol But I don’t mind, it’s part of the gig I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

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