I am not one to make public statements and, more especially, statements that are not complimentary to the country that I love. Yet, I am now feeling a compulsion to speak out. You see, I am also a member of the “silent majority” – the African-American silent majority that experiences capricious racism everyday but let it go unchallenged. There comes a time when enough is enough. For me, that time is now.
When 80 year Donald Sterling demonstrated unabashed hatred for his fellow Americans, in spite of the fact that they add significantly to his wealth, simply because of pigmentation, he helped me decide that enough is enough. When super rich Mark Cuban, who also is getting richer off people of color, showed more anger at the Sterling disclosure than he did by the blatant racist outburst, I, again, felt that enough is enough. When Grand Jury after Grand Jury exonerate white pathological white policemen, and vigilante would be policemen, for killing unarmed and juvenile black men, every black American absolutely knows and feels that enough is enough. But, actually, I have been feeling that enough is enough dating back to the ascendency of Mr. Obama to the Presidency of this country.
Nowhere in history will you find those in leadership positions bold enough to actually say that they want the American President to fail. To want the duly elected President of the United States to fail is absolutely no different from saying that you want your country to fail and that you will do everything in your power to make that happen. How is that different from treason? Because this was a white man talking about a black man, the sentiment was tolerated. Never in the history of this country was anyone so emboldened that he could call the President of the United States a liar at a State-of-the-Union address. You fear no repercussions if you are a white man disrespecting a black man, even if he does hold the most powerful position in the world. Racism is a shield that protects such radical fools – and they know it and can rely on it.
When a white minister boldly announces from the pulpit that he wishes the President would die, his reason for that diabolical wish is embedded in racism. When the whole world witnesses the beating of Rodney King, via real time video, and the culprits were found not guilty, that is racism in practice. When a grown white man kills an unarmed, non-threatening black boy and adjudged not guilty, that is racism. When a Grand Jury, with the tacit approbation of a prosecuting attorney, fails to indict a white policeman for killing an unarmed 18-year-old black youth that is a graphic display of institutional racism. When a former mayor of one of the most impressive cities in the world essentially sanctions the killing on the grounds that blacks kill blacks, as if to say – “what’s the difference,” it is official racism borne out of ignorance.
We pride ourselves for being a Judeo-Christian nation but are we really? These religions advocate love, peace, justice (as in fairness), and charity. As long as there is racism in this country, we tolerate hate, we allow violence to escape punishment, we mete out justice according to race and not according to fairness, and we denigrate the poor instead of helping them. However, there is a God who stands in judgment of all of us.
If and when we can cure the cancer of racism, I will sing from the mountaintop, God Bless America.
Gilbert L. Raiford is semi-retired after a career in teaching and working for the U.S. Department of State. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org