Originally published July 22, 2019 on Twitter @Ajahswrite
Note: I was recently informed of the fact that you can use Twitter threads as writing clips. This is a thread I wrote in response to the Senator Ron Johnson’s “America, love it or leave it” video. The only changes made to these tweets are minor edits for regular human reading.
So I’m a little late to the party, but not as late ase Senator Johnson. I found seven things wrong with this 48 second clip.
- America, love it or leave it is not a new sentiment. Except 45’s statements were not about patriotism. They were about getting people of color to leave America. This is also not new. In fact, it dates back to Lincoln.
On August 14, 1862 Lincoln met with some (all male) members of Black leadership to convince them to go along with his plan to send Black Americans to Panama. His elevator pitch was essentially: Y’all are divisive. Without y’all, white people wouldn’t be fighting each other.
He also told Black leadership it was selfish of them to want to stay in the United States because black people overall would benefit from colonization. He even had jobs lined up for us: as coal miners.
White politicians have always preferred sending black people away over actually trying to deal with race related issues. It’s a way to reframe white supremacy as normative.
See? Racism isn’t the problem, black people are! When they are not around, no one even talks about race!
This reframing is on of white people’s favorite ways to avoid actually dealing with white supremacy. Black people are not Schrodinger’s cat. Race doesn’t become an issue when we enter the space.
2. Back in the 1960s, that was not considered racist.
That’s all Imma say about that one, because Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II has already done an excellent job of explaining what that really means.
3. So many parts of public debate get immediately stuck inside a racial framework. False. In fact, so many parts of public debate avoid or evade issues of race until something becomes so blatantly racialized even Helen Keller could see it’s about race.
A perfect example of this is how we don’t discuss the highly racialized aspect of the opioid crisis and how doctors routinely over prescribe pain medicine to white people. It’s like we aren’t allowed to discuss any of the ways that racism impacts white people… at all.
4. I would like to see us moving towards that colorblind society. Colorblindness is erasure, not progress. Colorblindness gives white people free reign to completely ignore issues of race, privilege and power while still claiming to be egalitarian.
5. Obama… healing the racial divide. Ninja WHAT? You thought ONE Black President would be able to heal 400 years of skintone based discrimination and the ongoing legacy of 200 years of de jure benefits conferred on Americans with white skin?
My theory is that politicians invoke Obama’s presidency like it’s some sort of get out of racism free card. I can’t be racist! I liked Obama!
The very idea that it was Obama’s job to help us heal the racial divide in this country but has not been considered the job of any other American President is, in and of itself, racist.
7. Invoking MLK. Imma just leave this here…
8. (I know I said I only found seven things wrong, but after watching again, I had to add one more.)
8. To meet the enormous challenges facing our country in good faith. White Supremacy IS One of the enormous challenges facing our country. Invoking MLK and Obama won’t change that. Calling acknowledgement of white supremacy and fascism “rhetoric”won’t change that. Colorblindness and making black people the Schrodinger’s cat of racism won’t change that. But you know what might?
Old white guys like him sitting down, shutting up, and listening to #TheSquad.