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  • Reverend James Squire

Racism Has 140 Characters

The title by Chad Lassiter’s article is “White People Should Celebrate Juneteenth, Too” in the June 18, 2021 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer. It summarizes the importance of Juneteenth.

All people should know the following basic facts, “Juneteenth commemorates June 19, 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Galveston, Texas with urgent news. The Civil War had ended, and the slave people were freed. This was the last group of enslaved people to receive the news of the Emancipation Proclamation two years earlier and the Southern surrender that had taken place two months earlier.”

All people but especially white people should know the following, “Poor white people eked out a financially precarious existence in an economic system stacked against them. They farmed land that they didn’t own and served as America’s first gig workforce – working odd jobs when needed. Some of the most dangerous jobs were for saved for poor white people, especially the Irish, for their death or harm would not cost business owners. As a temporary and expendable labor of the day, there was little chance of a poor white person ascending to the aristocracy or even the middle class. The wealth gap between landless white people and the landed gentry was extreme.”

All people who don’t think that there is a danger to America by white supremacy should read the following as though their life should depend on it. The planter aristocracy recognized the danger of hordes of malcontent in their midst could foment, especially if poor white people linked arms with large numbers of enslaved people. However, they responded not with better working conditions and higher wages for white people. Instead, they made a pro-slavery argument to people for whom slavery had never been in their best economic interest.

The planters argued for what we now call white supremacy. Imagine what the shared experience of these two disrespected groups could have contributed to the dismantling of systematic racism.”

The above is a marvelous contribution by Smart Street. It is based in facts of history, not opinion. It shows how history does repeat itself. I took note yesterday that it was a bipartisan bill that proclaimed today as a national holiday. There were few criticisms except for the outlier comments that “this holiday dilutes the importance of the real Declaration of Independence on July 4.” It is opinion and nothing more. But there was a deluge of criticism of Critical Race Theory. Cruz referred to CRT as more racist than a KKK member with a sheet on.” Others went to the people that they really want to target, the parents and the schools. “CRT is poisoning the minds of your children. They want our children to hate one another. CRT wants you to believe that you are a racist. CRT doesn’t want your children to honor faith, family, and the legacy that our founding fathers gave us.” All opinion, not based in fact.

But what do you do when you alternative facts and truth are scaring the poor white people in our country? New video has been released showing just how brutal the insurrection was. It wasn’t a tour by tourists. The police weren’t opening the doors to the invaders. The Republican moderates have been silent letting the lie to continue to fester, but look at who is telling the alternative facts if the facts don’t match the narrative that you need to get more power. But here is why Smart Street is a key. They point to history repeating itself. Let’s look at the Smart Street take through a history lens and bring the facts and CRT forward to the present day.

Trump and too many Republicans are the Plantation owners. They don’t want to lose power or money. Have you ever seen a group like the insurrections come to a social gathering at Mar- a-Largo? Heavens no! Now the plantation owners want to keep the white and the black folks apart. It is simple. Attack Black Lives Matter and keep them apart from the white people who are feeling left out. It worked once. It will work again. It is working right now!

How do we fix this? I believe that Trump was elected President an has amassed his following through twitter which enabled him to change facts, attack, discredit, and seek revenge against his enemies operating from a base of fear. His 140 characters tweets contained irrational thinking, no facts, and no theory. Nothing he ever said, or should I say lied about, was ever taken on from the single silo of Fox to challenge him. Republicans as plantation owners wanted the same message out there. We will protect you from Immigrants and black people. We love the police when they are beating black people, but have nothing to say when they message got out of hand on January 6. Why? Because they were as guilty by association with Trump. Party and power are more important than the rights of people. There is no theory to back their alternative facts so they keep their “theory” to accusation and simple statements that their followers can process.

We need to make clear what CRT means to the truck drivers’, steel mill workers’, and ditch diggers’ families. The theory is loaded with truth that is hard to digest when you have the plantation owners trying to keep white and black people from working together. Smart Street and Wall Street can’t do that. Main Street can get that done if equipped to do so. Here is the question, “What would you, Smart Street, translate to the ditch digger’s family or steel mill worker’s family to put your theory into the language they can get behind? The 1619 Project doesn’t do that. It shows how smart and right the people are who wrote it, but it is threatening to Main Street when they have an alternative facts and simple words to stir the plot.

Here are some truths that I try to live by. People will tolerate (maybe not agree with totally) what they understand. All isms’ labels leave when you really know the person you are against.

Daryl Davis in an amazing video put it this way, “You can’t hate me. You don’t know me.”

The video describes a way to deal with racism and white supremacy that to date has not had enough forums as an approach. These conversations set up at the local level will advance things in our nation regarding race. It will not be easy. Remember you always will have the plantation owners and their investment in keeping white and black folks apart. But we need a tipping point away from Trump and his supporters.

Happy Juneteenth! See video below!

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