White Legislators: Tune In To Black Communities

And now let’s take a break from our regularly scheduled protest news to give you – The systems that continue to oppress people of color.  Back to you, Ned. 

Thanks, Jim.  Last night while well-intentioned white people were getting tear gassed in front of Portland’s courthouse, a great number of Oregon’s state legislators slept in their beds, also white and completely unaffected personally by the goings-on downtown.  For most of them, they hadn’t had a friendship with a Black person in their whole lives.  So the stories of brutality seem, well, just a little overblown, don’t they? 

That’s right, Ned.  This is all a play for them put on by some dramatic lefties.  Meanwhile beautiful, 18 year old, college-bound Shai India Harris was shot dead in Portland, in broad daylight, not two weeks ago.  The family thinks they know who the killer is but he hasn’t been apprehended by Portland Police.   Why  not, Jim? 

Why not, indeed Ned.  Could it be that the police put a greater priority on fighting those exercising their rights to free speech than doing the dangerous police work they claim to do  when it is on behalf of Black people?  But let’s think about what those white legislators would say.  “Those neighborhoods – you know how they are.  They’re full of crime.”  It’s hard for them to understand, Jim.  In 2016 white family wealth was found to be seven times greater than Black family wealth.  As white people, they are twice as likely to be employed and feed their families – oh, and not just that – but to have more than enough.  Io buy new cars, and spend thousands of dollars keeping their lawn green in 90 degree heat.   

Well, and Ned, the police patrol their neighborhoods to keep them from  having to hear the actual voice of – see the actual face of -a person of color.  Anywhere on their streets.  So really, how could they care?

True, Jim.  How could they care?  Did you know that Oregon has commissions on equity to inform legislators about what oppressed communities need?  That those commissions are served on by professionals who volunteer to advise white legislators?  Who ask them to care about the needs of people who are Latinx, Asian and Pacific Islander, Black and Women.  These groups are suffering from poverty, racist and sexist hate crimes, less opportunity – Oh wait.  This is the part where their eyes glaze over.  Do you think if we trotted children in front of their faces they might wake up?  

Well, Ned, I’d like to think so.  But those children would be Brown.  Do you think their eyes would glaze over then?  Studies show that white people assume Brown children to be older and more culpable than white children.  But surely those white legislators have hearts?  

Hard to say, Jim.  Ibram X. Kendi author of “How To Be an Anti-racist” says that racism is not about hate.  It’s about self-interest.  The hate – arguably thoughts like “their neighborhoods are just crime-ridden” – has been bred into our white-dominated culture to justify the self-interest.  Because there is a lot in it for white people to keep things just the way they are.  Jim, it’s scary to think about having to give up something you already have.  And sharing resources means you do actually have to give something up.  

So what are they going to give up?  

Well, Ned, the answer to that seems pretty clear.  Unless those white legislators start to feel saddened, disgusted, driven to make things better for the suffering masses –  folks who identify as everything other than white –  then the answer to what those powerful folks will be willing to give up?  

Nothing, Jim.  Nothing. 

Now, on to a picture of those lawns!  Aren’t they just impossibly green? 

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