By: Carrie Thompson
From 1965 Watts to current day church and street slayings of minorities, peaceful protests yielding martial law. Campaign rallies labeling every gradient of the brown shade felonious slackers capable of pillaging the nation without the protection of the infallible police. Late night walks and traffic stops equate bloodshed and impunity is granted to the offender(s).
Brown communities feel targeted, unwelcomed and disposable in the eyes of the majority. Activism is key in uniting the victimized, but what message should be sent forth to those on the outskirts of the violence who have but a mere online news snippet to form an opinion? What should be chanted from the bleachers and whispered among the onlookers of the brown versus executive branch showdown?
The oversimplified answer is to dissolve mass misconceptions that skew minority conduct, beliefs, and rationale. False impressions the communities uphold and are disillusioned by. Origin unsure, many have resurfaced in our knee-jerk reactions to the bloodshed and these half-truths must be debunked for our generation to thrive and focus on our evolution and increasing numbers rather than disjointedness.
Misconception One: The government owes you 40 acres.
If a child goes missing there are Amber Alerts sent to your cell phone and Megan’s Law-type legislation is propositioned and passed. Little is being done to shield those of a darker persuasion from hate crimes and unprovoked violent attacks.
The government holds a monopoly of jurisdiction among other modalities. Monopoly is a business term rather than geopolitical jargon. The government is a for-profit based conglomeration, not a blind defender of freedom or soil as advertised. Liquid assets and people who protect the nation’s wherewithal are sheltered, not the persons in line at the supermarket or the journalists on foreign soil.
Misconception Two: Pride and honor must be defended and represented at all costs.
The neighborhood. My block. Your city. Brown people pride themselves on things that polarize, making the persons on the sidewalk competition or even a total stranger. Ancient cultures had an honor system that cherished the family name, community, also self-aggrandizement rather than a territory or region.
Misconception Three: Glorifying the horror of famished neighborhoods and broken homes.
The struggle of poverty is real. Perforated even. Plenty of people escape struggle with bad credit, hard work, and a lot of help from others. Music is the primary form expression within the brown communities that esteems ‘the struggle’ as a rite-of-passage to respect in destitute areas. ‘If you are not poor you cannot relate to me;’ While that may be true to some extent, to write off another being’s experiences may omit a lifetime of wisdom in areas one requires advancement. Everyone knows something you do not and during turmoil lessons resonate much more.
Misconception Four: What racism and xenophobia truly is.
A snide remark or insensitive joke may be offensive, is not racism. Racism is passing on a qualified applicant or turning down a loan based on perception of heritage. Legislation to limit or end immigration from one nation but not another and reaching to redefine equality or citizenship requirements based on genetic lineage is xenophobia.
Give people rope to be ethnocentric without pleading for them to reconsider their experiences. Allow persons to expose their stance without duplicity. It is their right as a citizen under our flag to express beliefs, as it is your right to challenge beliefs with calmness and logic. Intense emotional response from minorities is often discredited as rancor.
Misconception Five: Unruly reactions to prejudice are justifiable.
Self-defense is the only justifiable violence. You’ve heard the saying about arguing with a fool. Violence is the very guise draped upon ethnic and minority groups because when one acts untoward they all receive a label.
Misconception Six: All police are murderers, all Caucasians are indifferent, and all brown people are miscreants.
Agreeing with one blanket statement cannot simultaneously negate the other. Not everyone is out to poach and a lot of people are jaded by the discussion of racism, some speak of it relentlessly. Why devote energy to identifying dysfunction again and again? The devil is in the distraction.
Misconception Seven: If you are not spewing venom over the past year’s events, you do not care.
It is possible to care about the tribulations of a tribe without swallowing the bitter poison of acrimony. Anger is always justifiable, no one can ever tell anyone how to feel. Accept that some people truly would be happier feuding than withdrawing from the conflict. Sowing the seed of discord is pulling the trigger. Words first, weaponry follows.
Misconception Eight: Being Black is a burden and provides more hurdles than straightaways.
If you agree that the skin you’re in is anything but a blessing, root for your own extinction. Celebrate skin color rather than condemn it as a curse. It will be easier on some days than others. Things will happen to you that others cannot empathize with. Hating your deoxyribonucleic acid will eliminate the confidence needed to be the next plutocrat, if you find that sort of pursuit appealing.
Misconception Nine: I must blindly support all ________ people because I am too.
How is blindly supporting someone based on a commonality any different than boycotting based off a nuance like nationality? Do not stand behind people who behave foolishly because it’s the duty of your nature, so says the loudspeaker. Start snitching rather than aid and abet assailants. There is no honor among bottom feeders and protecting the welfare of others makes you lionhearted not a stoolpigeon. Remove yourself from areas that rationalize differently.
Misconception Ten: Being difficult or an isolationist makes you strong emotionally and physically.
Being exclusive of new travelers can be a good way to deflect free roaming serpents but is not worth the long run ‘what ifs.’ Turn over every leaf and lift every stone. There are still good people in the world and no matter who you are you need more of them. Your intuition will steer you clear and trust that it will. Be friendly, smile at strangers, start a conversation with someone who doesn’t look like you do.
Misconception Eleven: Abiding by or submitting to authority is weakness.
Authority is not the issue rather than nefarious intent. Some rules are in place to help you and keep you from stumbling or worse. The underhanded are always dethroned. Life is much more peaceful without unwanted friction. Go with the grain when consequences do not affect solely you.
Bottom line, the hearts of men are bleeding, literally. There should be fired-up picketing and fighting back, but the storm outdoors should not solely take blame for penetrating communal vibration. Unification of minorities begins with internal peace and deflection of distractions and misconceptions.
Polarity is a form of wickedness that distorts belief and rationale. White and brown are not polar opposites and as a society and superpower we must incorporate a consistent respect and mental elevation needed for an all-influencing nation or as the person in line at the grocery store. Our future is banking on it.