The cost and danger of denying America’s racist history

Susan K. Smith.2 1
Susan K. Smith

 

By SUSAN K. SMITH

Crazy Faith Ministries

 

It is becoming increasingly popular for members of the GOP to downplay the Jan. 6 insurrection and blame what happened on everyone but those who were actually at fault.

Remarkably, some in the GOP are saying that there was no insurrection at all; that what we all saw with our own eyes was nothing but patriotic Americans taking a tour of the Capitol building, as reported by AP News. Some of the most offensive statements were issued by Rep. Andrew Clyde, who said that the people we saw ravaging the Capitol were “people walking in an orderly fashion, taking pictures …” CNN reported.

All this as many White people are decrying The 1619 Project as “revisionist history,” written to make America “look bad,” and prohibiting government agencies from teaching Critical Race Theory because, they say, it “teaches people to hate America,” that it is unpatriotic, and that it teaches “anti-Whiteness,” according to New York Intellingencer.

The value of seeing people, right before our eyes change the story about what happened on Jan. 6, and who was responsible for it, is that we get to see how America’s history as pertains to race has been altered and changed from the beginning of time to protect the image of White America. What has seemed distasteful, or worse, things that have happened that even the revisionists knew was wrong, were simply eliminated from America’s historical narrative, or altered, to make white supremacist violence seem less toxic and deadly than it actually was.

White Americans, it seems, have a need to live in “gated” historical, racial and sociological communities. There has been a concerted effort to protect them and all Americans from America’s racist past, and the result is that not a few White Americans feel like nothing bad was done by them – and that nothing so purely racist can be done by them. In their decision to ignore what they do know about America’s past, and to avoid knowing anything more about America’s past, they allow themselves to sit in these gated historical communities.

But the problem is that gates do not keep out truth, just as gates do not prevent rapes, murders, child molestation, domestic violence and worse from happening in White communities. Truth has a strange and powerful way of pushing through the thickest barriers put up to keep it out. The barriers work for a time, but eventually, truth wins out.

I shared with a friend with whom I was talking about this that I don’t think White people can live with the truth of what has been done in the name of white supremacy. I don’t think they have learned to stand on their feet and own what they have done wrong because this country and this world has made it too easy for them to avoid responsibility and accountability for their actions. It is far easier for them to hold onto the myth of their superiority – including moral and racial – than to admit that their Whiteness has not made either them or this country “exceptional.” In fact, governments and democracies all over the world – including the Nazis – looked to and borrowed from America’s race laws to construct their own racist governments. America has taught the world how to disdain and ostracize people of African descent, completely ignoring how America’s actions toward Black people have caused a plethora of social ills that get worse as White American denial continues.

For the record, Jan. 6 was not caused or carried out by Black Lives Matter or Antifa, whatever that is. For the record, White people trafficked Africans after the slave trade was ended, so as to increase the source of Black labor needed to make America the economic behemoth it became. For the record, White Americans committed genocide, killing off Native Americans much like Israelis are killing off Palestinians, because they thought this land was given to them by God and, that being the case, they had a moral imperative and a right to eliminate the native peoples whose land they eventually stole.

Denial doesn’t work. Ask someone who has tried to deny who he or she is, or a family which has tried to deny its dysfunction how that all worked out. It doesn’t. It’s better to see the truth, own the truth, and then deal with the truth than to kill one’s soul – or country, in this case – by continuing to spin a story that cannot hold up forever.

Truth, crushed to the ground, will always rise.

 

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

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