Hey, know what would be fun? Let’s have a discussion on racism that is altruistic.
A person of color had commented on their page that they held the nation in contempt and listed reasons for it. I concurred with what they said until I read one of their bullet points concerning the 3rd stanza of the National Anthem.
If you’ve not read it:
“And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the HIRELING AND SLAVE
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”.
They of course cited this as proof that the Anthem celebrates the killing of slaves and black folks were slaves in 1812 so it is celebrating the murder of black people.
Well, I took exception to this theory because of a sense of history. Reading helps.
I surmised that even though Francis Scott Key was a slaveowner, there would have been no valor or honor in the murder of helpless slaves, especially considering the topic of the song. Add to this simple historical context: Britain routinely engaged in Impressment, forcing anyone into service in the British Army or Navy. These people were effectively kidnapped and enslaved. The hirelings were the poor that made up the bulk of the Army at that time, choosing to fight for pay and not patriotism.
If you juxtapose these elements (the impressed slave and hireling) with the patriotic free Americans fighting tyranny, you begin to see Key’s logic in adding it.
Well, offense is bound to come. And some folks are determined to prove themselves right by all costs. When I sympathized with their other stated issues but brought up this one point for discussion, I was told that I was horrific. Quickly it escalated into swearing and ad hominem attacks coupled with broad swipes at ‘White People’.
Now I’ve done what I can about racism, taking up that fight for years and years. I’ve never tried to be a civil rights ally to black folks, not because I didn’t feel strongly about the cause but because it was their fight to engage in.
To be immediately labeled as a racist and marginalized due to my race was patently unfair. Now to this, many black folks involved in social justice will say “Good! Now you know how we feel!”
This is beyond ignorant. First off, yes, White folks enslaved black folks. Then white folks suffered, bled and died to see them freed. White folks lobbied for equal rights and marched during the Civil Rights era. We fought tooth and nail in the SHARPs to stomp out racism.
And we need to start a discussion that addresses racism in an altruistic way because it’s not a black, brown, red, yellow or white problem, it’s a human problem.
Racism is defined as: prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one’s own race is superior.
the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.
To engage in self-justified racism is just as racist as the thing you’re railing against because all racism is, at its heart, self-justified.
And we will never end it until we begin to approach it as a human race.