The events of Wednesday, January 6, 2020 will forever be embedded in the history of America. We will never forget where we were, what we felt and what we saw and heard. The events of January 6 are indelibly embedded in in our minds, body and soul. As a result, there will be mental, physical and spiritual impact on our souls as we address the impact of this day. If we are to change the impact of this devastating day, it can only happen if we honestly confront the things we say we want to change. We must face white supremacy.
Reverend Elijah McDavid is the Pastor of Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In a recent sermon, he spoke these prophetic words. He said, “you can’t change what you refuse to tell the truth about.” In part, his sermon spoke about how in order to address the impact of the racial violence, bigotry, terrorism and evilness of the events on Wednesday, January 6, America must be honest about who we are. In the words of Pastor McDavid, self realization and truth must happen in order for change to occur. Thank you Pastor McDavid for your inspiration.
A Change Gon’ Come
America is a country founded on racial violence. Taking of land from Native Americans, slavery of Africans brought forcibly to America, rapes, lynchings, murders, anti-semitism and sexism are the foundations of what we call America. I will spare you the details of the tragic history of this nation, however I encourage you to review other posts in my blog and also review the history of America so you can learn more. Before we assume we can change this country and end white supremacy, white privilege and racial violence, we must acknowledge this is who we are. America is built on the foundation of white supremacy and in order to dismantle it, we must acknowledge it.
We are who we thought we are
Dennis Green is a former football coach in the National Football League. He was one of the first Black head coaches in the NFL and was very successful during stints with the Arizona Cardinals, Oakland/LA/Las Vegas Raiders and the Minnesota Vikings. During one of his games, where he suffered a tough loss, coach Green was asked at a press conference about the other team, his response to the question was, “they are who we thought they were.” He then banged the podium and left the room. Coach Green’s simple statement was clear. The team they faced was the team they believed they were going to face. It was not a fantasy team. It was not a team they were unfamiliar with. It was a team they should have been prepared to face. White supremacy is a team we should know and be prepared to face.
The insurgence, domestic terrorism and violence that occurred on Wednesday, January 6, 2021 is who we thought we were as a nation. For the last several years, there have been many signs, play calls and coaching strategies that clearly show that America is Team white Supremacy. It is not popular to say, but if you live in America, you play on Team white Supremacy. Sometimes you are in the starting lineup, sometimes you are a substitute, sometimes you are blocking, tackling and even catching the white supremacy ball. The point is that although you may not consider yourself apart of the kickoff team that invaded the Capitol on January 6, 2021, you are still on the team and you have benefited from that team and what they delivered on that day. Being on the team means that you are accountable for the actions of all of your team members. You cannot say that “I would never do such a thing” like my teammates. You and your team are who we think you are. Systemic racism is built on the foundation of white supremacy. If you are not a person of color or Native American you play on Team white supremacy.
Confront your team strengths and weaknesses
If you are on Team white Supremacy you must do an analysis of where you are strong and where you are weak. What plays have worked for years and have led to consistent scoring for your team. For example, if you have consistently been able to run a play called blue lives matter until they don’t, you have to take advantage of that play. This play is simple. It means police and law enforcement are valued and supported until they disagree with me. If disagreement happens, we then run a reverse and let them know they (police) don’t matter as much and that violence against police is permitted. This play is sometimes disguised as white privilege, because if you are on team white supremacy and you run it, it always seems to turn out well. You always score on this play and there is no interference from politics, police, the justice system or community. This play does not work as well for teams that play on Team Black Lives Matter. Only team white privilege can benefit from this play call.
Calling an audible
If we change the play of white supremacy, we must first acknowledge that it exists. One of my favorite movies is The Devil’s Advocate. The movie features Keanu Reeves and Al Pacino. The movie describes the relationship with a law firm partner (Pacino) and his associate protege (Reeves). Pacino mentors Reeves by testing his character and integrity. Pacino offers him money, fame, and adoration if he is willing to sell his soul to the devil and give up his wife, family (mother) and friends. If he gives them up, he can have it all. Reeves can give up who he is and gain eternal life.
Similar to the devil in the Devil’s Advocate, white supremacy shows up in a very deceiving manner. It does not always show up with obvious red horns and confederate flags. It does not always show up with pitch forks and nooses. It does not always show up with a long red tail or pipe bombs and zip ties. Sometimes the devil shows up like Pacino. A corporate executive, a public servant, an educator, or a CEO. The devil shows up in disguise and you would never guess he meant to harm you. White supremacy not only shows up in disguise, just like the devil, it is protected from harm. Remember the devil was an angel that fell from Heaven and received permission from God to tempt the flock including God’s only son, Jesus. The devil was not restrained or limited in his actions and in fact his actions through acts of deceit looked similar to miracles of God. I guess we should not be surprised when acts of white supremacy look normal and remind us of the the status quo. White supremacy can resemble domestic terrorism and having no restrictions on movement even when you have weapons and commit acts of violence. White supremacy can resemble ignoring the rules and consequences of a fair election and not being held accountable for misleading others. White supremacy can resemble, no consequences, no accountability and the ability to do whatever, whenever and however you want to. Team white supremacy and team white privilege go hand in hand.
Say it’s name
If we are to change and call an audible to white supremacy, we must acknowledge that the the devil (white supremacy) exists and that before we can change it, we must admit that it benefits everyone, who is not a person of color or Native American. We must confront white supremacy and be willing to kill/change it by any means necessary.