Wednesday, August 08, 2007

International Blog Against Racism Week

I hunker down for a few days to finish this book and when I pick my head up, the whole world has gone mad. The NAACP is following up their burial of the N-word with a defense of Michael Vick. Al Sharpton is calling for a National Day of Outrage. Barack Obama is in Vibe Magazine (he is looking pretty hot, though).

But are any of them talking about this:
In September 2006, a group of African American high school students in Jena, Louisiana, asked the school for permission to sit beneath a "whites only" shade tree. There was an unwritten rule that blacks couldn't sit beneath the tree. The school said they didn't care where students sat. The next day, students arrived at school to see three nooses (in school colors) hanging from the tree.

The boys who hung the nooses were suspended from school for a few days. The school administration chalked it up as a harmless prank, but Jena's black population didn't take it so lightly. Fights and unrest started breaking out at school. The District Attorney, Reed Walters, was called in to directly address black students at the school and told them all he could "end their life with a stroke of the pen."

Black students were assaulted at white parties. A white man drew a loaded rifle on three black teens at a local convenience store. (They wrestled it from him and ran away.) Someone tried to burn down the school, and on December 4th, a fight broke out that led to six black students being charged with attempted murder. To his word, the D.A. pushed for maximum charges, which carry sentences of eighty years. Four of the six are being tried as adults (ages 17 & 18) and two are juveniles.

Or this:
After dark on June 18, the police say, as many as 10 armed assailants repeatedly raped a Haitian immigrant in her apartment at Dunbar Village and then went further, forcing her to perform oral sex on her 12-year-old son. They took cellphone pictures of their acts. They burned the woman’s skin and the boy’s eyes with cleaning fluid, forced them to lie naked together in the bathtub, hit them with a broom and a gun and threatened to set them on fire.

Gina, from my newest favorite blog, What About Our Daughters, has expressed my outrage and frustration much better than I can (check out her list of the Immorally Indifferent), so I'll just say this: in honor of International Blog Against Racism Week, I encourage you all to do something about racism. Bitching about rap music you don't get doesn't actually do anything about the degradation of black women in this country. Burying the N-word in no way addresses the structures of racism that makes the word still carry so much weight.

Instead, make some noise. Write your congressman. Donate some money. Donate some time. Call out racism when you see it (we live in Charleston people--we see it everyday). When someone tells you you're doing something racist and thoughtless, stop it. When you see someone doing something racist and thoughtless, make them stop. Step outside of your comfort zone and realize that changes you make in the way you live your life everyday--in the way you talk to and treat people, in the decisions you make, in the jokes you tell, where you send your kids to school and where you choose to live--can make a difference. It's not marching to Selma or refusing to give up your seat on a bus, but it matters.


-Jeane Michelle Culp said...

Thank you Conseula for this heartfelt truthful post. May none forget their heritage or ancestors. I try to live every day respecting my fellow human beings regardless of race. To often I hear the ignorance of unnecessary bias snide remarks. I do not tolerate this and am the first to speak up regardless of whom the person is. Unfortunately; Society needs more. As I once stated in a post on my site, “ I adamantly believe that racial prejudice is ignorance - when we all bleed the same color blood . Hence, I say: have ye who are prejudice slit thou own wrists first; if your blood be red as all human beings - than either bleed to death or shut up.”

Anonymous said...

I do believe that everyone needs to realize that the word "racism" does not just denote white against black. Racism is an ugly form of hatred in which no one is immune.