On ‘getting over’ racism

Crazy Faith Ministries

There are few things that rankle my spirit like White people saying to and about Black people that we should “just get over” slavery.

Saying that shows a profound ignorance, arrogance, and lack of the capacity and demand to understand what the American white supremacist system has done to so many people and continues to do.

Fox News anchor Tucker Carlson had a guest, Canadian author and columnist Mark Steyn, make the statement. When I posted the article on my Facebook page complaining that this statement is totally insulting, I got the expected pushback from some who think that Steyn was right and from some who castigated me from taking issue with it.

The question I always ask is, “Do White people ask the Jews to get over the Holocaust?” They do not. What happened to the Jewish people in Germany – and to others whom the Germans believe were unfit to live – should never be forgotten.

Why, then, should what this country did – and continues to do – to not only African Americans but to people of color in general be forgotten? If the truth be told, this country has never dealt with what it has done.

The power structure works to keep hidden and diminish the horror of racism, which is the child of white supremacy. America has worked hard to communicate the false narrative that it is the “land of the free and the home of the brave,” when in truth, this country was never meant to be a place of equal citizenship for all people from the very beginning.

The belief that Black people are inferior to White people was built into the DNA of this country, and has since prevailed.

In his book, The Last Days: A Son’s Story of Sin and Segregation at the Dawn of a New South, author Charles Marsh recalls that the message and ethos of white supremacy was not only politically but also religiously supported. His father, a Christian pastor and preacher, would not preach an egalitarian message from his pulpit.

Marsh says that his father had “not been convinced by the civil rights brass that God was on their side.” The fact that Blacks had no recourse from established institutions – from the church all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court – ought to cause many of the “get over it” advocates some calm.

The American eugenics movement was based upon the belief that this country was built by White people for White people. American science in the area was so deep and broad that the Germans borrowed from the research and conclusions reached by American scientists and politicians to set up their own system of genocide of Jews and “other undesirables.”

If the assault on Black people had ended – if it hadn’t persisted in areas including housing, education and economic development, not to mention health – perhaps it would be easier for African Americans to move past our lingering pain. But the racist assaults and attacks have not ended.

Bryan Stevenson, the founder and director of the Equal Justice Initiative, says, “Slavery never ended. It just evolved.”

That statement is cutting in its truth.

The fact that African Americans have made significant gains not because of but in spite of the American political and religious systems says much about our character and tenacity. From being captured in Africa, to surviving the Middle Passage, slavery and Jim Crow, we have prevailed.

We have fought racism on every front, and we still have to fight. We are disrespected and accused of whining, when in fact we have adopted the words of the Declaration of Independence and of the Christian Bible and have made them work for us, even as this country has thwarted our efforts at every turn.

America will fall because of its refusal to make restitution for its white supremacist ways. Our race law, our policies and practices are known, studied and recognized by countries all over the world.

James Q. Whitman, who wrote Hitler’s American Model: The United States and the Making of Nazi Race Law, said that the tyrannical German ruler “regarded the United States as the obvious leader in developing explicitly racist policies of nationality and immigration.”

In the present day, Russia is exploiting America’s racism to manipulate and engineer specific outcomes in our elections.

So, let’s not talk about “getting over” something that we have never fully acknowledged as being as damaging and toxic as it is and has always been. No person, government or institution can heal from a situation unless and until they admit the problem.

America has done none of that.

Rev. Dr. Susan K. Smith is the founder and director of Crazy Faith Ministries. She is available for speaking. Contact her at revsuekim@sbcglobal.net.


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