Bigfoot, the Lochness Monster and Institutional Racism

As a historian, a classroom teacher, and aware person I cannot tabulate the amount of time I have spent trying to convince white people that racism exists. I am a white enough person that I had to be educated – but luckily that intervention happened at a young enough stage of development that it became my framework. Some of the things I have had legitimately long conversations about, debates over, and frustrated heart-to-hearts about:

  • Slavery was not that long ago
  • Some successful Black folks is not equality achieved
  • Affirmative Action attempts to rectify discrimination that occurred only one generation ago
  • The KKK has more members in states like Ohio and Kansas than in the “deep south”
  • “nice/passive” racism does as much harm as explicit racism
  • Racial profiling occurs on a regular basis
  • Yes Black folk feel uncomfortable around white people
  • Yes what Black folk say is truth
  • Et al.

In-depth conversations equivalent to proving the existence of Bigfoot – what other creature could make those footprints, why would so many different people report the same thing, do you have to see it with your own eyes to believe it, a pile of shit that big could only be made by a monster.

I have gone through a white person’s generational wealth and resume to simply prove their advantages and privilege. I have explained how Jews became white and the government policies that gave incentives for my family to move out of the city. I have showed clips of documentaries, films, satirical news shows, and statistics. I have found websites with gruesome photos of white people picnicking at a public lynching. I have had students analyze the kinds of labor done by enslaved peoples. All of this before being able to discuss the work of Black writers, artists, music, intellectuals, street corner prophets, and childhood games. All of this before asking people to not vote in a “law and order” candidate. All of this before explaining why it is  dangerous to call the police for a noise complaint. All of this before asking white people to take up less space.

So in some ways I have to thank the rabid racists for coming out of their holes. In just a few short months the media has dropped the ludicrousness of a “post racial world”. Of course they will not admit any mistake or fallacy of their logic, but I can hope that at least now we don’t have to prove that racism exists. Now that they are killing in the name of white supremacy, not hiding it underneath tropes of anti-government freedom, no one will have to prove the body count. Now that police officers wear cameras to document the murders, and the tally rises each day, soon we will stop calling for the “bad apple” accountability system.

The hard work is what comes next, easy enough to prove that Bigfoot lives – stalking, destroying, and killing people –now how do we take him out. Bigfoot is out in plain sight – just one massive cannon or poisoned loaf can take out those kinds of monsters.

Today our real monster lives next-door, a state away, in the white house, and within us. Welcome to the new reality that you have so long tried to ignore, argue away, justify and deny. Now what are you going to do about it?

to fail or not to fail, what is your response

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