By Vernon A. Williams, Gary Crusader
This week solemnly marks the 48th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Many issues for which he so diligently fought, and ultimately died for, remain unresolved today. Yet sadly, many have grown tired of talking about prejudice, discrimination and bigotry.
They prefer to move pass such unpleasant truths that remind us of the persistent, sordid hypocrisy and shame of a great nation. Some would rather close their eyes, stop up their ears, and loudly proclaim to be part of “one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
Some are white folks – from those who are genuinely sympathetic to the plight of the oppressed to those who are hateful racists intent on perpetuating disharmony and confrontation. The common denominator of the two extremes is that the topic of race often gets tired and seems more divisive than healing.
Note that some obstructionists are black folks with mindless rhetoric using the line, “I don’t see myself as a Black man…I just see myself as a man.” The fact that they feel compelled to such a declaration – such a conspicuous and hollow affirmation – is symptomatic of their psychosis.
Who does that?
But listen…If you don’t want to talk about race – just don’t. You bring nothing constructive to the conversation. Your illogical rant is a distraction to conscientious people of all colors and origins in search of common ground. We don’t need uncivil dissidence muddying the stream of intellectual, spiritual and strategic discourse.
But as you shuffle off into oblivion, whistling loudly to drown out wisdom, dancing a jig to whatever music your oppressor plays – remember one thing.
You may be able to avoid responsibility and participation. But you will never escape the ramifications of ignoring racism in the U.S. It’s your option not to think, talk or do anything about it. But you won’t be able to avoid the repercussions. The outcome is your cross to bear.
There’s no suburb far away or secure enough to provide refuge from a society in which one group of people thrive on a false sense of superiority while another wallow in the mire of disengagement, disfranchisement, disrespect, and dehumanization. If you think racism will disappear as long as you ignore it, you are pathetically delusional.
Last year was not just your imagination. The year 2015 really was more hate-filled and contentious than you can remember in a while. Let’s separate fact from feelings.
The radical right in the U.S. expanded its ranks significantly in 2015, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center whose goal is “fighting hate, teaching tolerance and seeking justice.” In that one year, all of those lofty endeavors endured dramatic setbacks.
Terror in America spiked with a 14 percent rise in hate groups in 2015, reports Mark Potok, senior fellow at the SPLC and editor of Intelligence Report. Potok wrote:
“The real story of the year (2015) was the deadly violence and terrorism committed by extremists in city after city across America. Whether it was Charles-ton, San Bernardino or Colorado Springs, 2015 was clearly a lethal action for extremists. We know of at least 52 murders attributable to the far right in 2015.”
That’s an average of at least one confirmed deadly hate crime assault every week. In that brief time period, hate groups increased from 748 in 2014 to 892 groups last year.
It was a year awash in deadly extremist violence and hateful rhetoric from mainstream politicians. Anti-Muslim paranoia and hatred ratcheted up sharply after the massacres of Islamic extremists in Paris and San Bernardino. The flood of ensuing anti-Muslim vandalism, arson, shootings and beatings were egged on by politicians and media Islamophobia.
Seldom has public demonization of Muslims, Latinos and Black Americans been as commonplace as in 2015. GOP frontrunner Donald Trump led political figures who launched verbal assault against a host of targets – primarily to exploit widespread anger and fear over the country’s changing demographics, immigration and the Black Lives Matter movement.
According to the most recent SPLC Report: These messages by mainstream political figures were often amplified by right-wing media outlets; adding to the sense of polarization and anger across the country – an atmosphere that may be unmatched since the political upheavals of the late 1960s.
The worst of it is that observers predict the extremist threat in the U.S. is moving in the direction of getting much worse before it gets better.
So you’re tired of talking about racism in the U.S.? So am I.
Let’s make a deal. I promise not to speak, write or listen to another word on the subject – the very day hatred and bigotry are forever erased from the American reality.