America’s first illness

Susan K. Smith.2 1
Susan K. Smith

 

By SUSAN K. SMITH

Crazy Faith Ministries

 

America is like a person with an addiction who has never acknowledged it.

The foundational principle of Alcoholics Anonymous is that one has to admit that he or she is addicted to alcohol. Step one of the twelve steps members adhere to is honesty. Addicts must take an honest look at themselves – something many of us do not want to do because who we are as opposed to who we would like to think we are, or who we’ve gotten other people to believe us to be, is often painful and humiliating to admit.

To heal, though, addicts must be honest. They must tell the truth.

America has not done that and refuses to do so when it comes to its addiction to white supremacy. As alcohol affects and damages the human body, including and especially the liver which functions to rid our bodies of toxins, white supremacy has affected and damaged the very soul of this country, including its foundation, which is necessary for us to exist.

Even while legislators enact voter suppression laws and anti-riot laws designed to suppress the vote of Black and Brown voters and dissuade them from exercising their First Amendment rights of freedom of speech and assembly, they look this country straight in the face and say that they are not racist.

That is like an alcoholic, drink in hand and already tipsy, saying to the ones who know his or situation that he or she does not have a drinking problem.

America’s first illness, as pertains to white supremacy, is not white supremacy itself, but its denial of its existence, and that denial is killing this country, just as alcohol kills the liver.

Sasha Banks, the author of america, Mine wrote in The Atlantic that in the fourth grade, as the teacher shared information about American presidents that the students were required to memorize, objected when she lifted Thomas Jefferson up as a paragon of virtue. She raised her hand and said, “Thomas Jefferson had descendants who were Black.” The teacher was flummoxed and said, “That’s not true! How would that be possible?” a question to which Sasha answered, “He had babies with one of his slaves. They said it on BET.”

The teacher relaxed, telling Sasha and in fact the entire class that Black Entertainment Television was not a reliable source of or for information. She concentrated on the word “entertainment” saying that the word meant that anything said on the channel could not be true and said it was unpatriotic to believe such disparaging things about {our} country.”

White people are quick to say they are not racist and that this is not a racist country. It is appalling that a Black man, Sen. Tim Scott, said that the country is not racist, but it is a fact that some Black people join the denial chorus sung by White people to declare this country racism-free, in spite of the racist practices, policies and procedures which have been in operation since this country’s inception, The Guardian reported.

The fight to keep Black people away from the polls is clearly based on white supremacist beliefs that Black people are not qualified to vote or to govern any entity, local, state or federal. In the 1898 Wilmington race riot perpetrated by White people, the carefully planned and executed coup was carried out because Whites insisted that there would never again in that city be a situation where Black people governed Whites, according to The Atlantic.

We could go on and on, but everyone knows what I am describing. White Americans will not admit their racism and their complicity in supporting a government which is racist at its core. And every time they deny it, they increase the toxins of racial hatred deeper into the creases of American government. In those creases, where they attempt to hide their contempt for Black people, there is rot and a stench that results from organic material decomposing – and the life of America is in fact organic, filled with living creatures that have depended on this country for their livelihood.

If an alcoholic never admits his or her problem, he or she does not heal. And I am afraid that this country, addicted to white supremacy, is no better off. White people believe this country was formed by White people for White people; some of them are sounding that sentiment out loud now and I, for one, appreciate the honesty. But there are a whole lot more people who need to step away from their denying protestations and own the truth – theirs and this country’s.

Only then does this country stand a chance of escaping its steady roll toward authoritarianism.

 

Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Her latest book, With Liberty and Justice for Some: The Bible, the Constitution, and Racism in America is available at all booksellers. Contact her at revsuekim@sbcgloba.net.

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