Often, an individual or group will act out at a business or location. They may do anything from what we would consider as terribly offensive to maliciously criminal. My question is, at what point to do we hold a person or group responsible versus the location? We are asked to boycott Waffle House, Walmart, Starbucks, Target American Airlines, and the list goes on. But, based on the justification for these boycotts, we should be boycotting the whole United States. Where can you go and not be subject to racism? If we have an emergency, should we not call the police? Should all black students leave Syracuse and all campuses that have had any racist incidents? And also, are we ok with receiving the same treatment? Every group has some knuckleheads. Including people of color. Although we are overwhelmingly subjected to unfair and unjust treatment. There are some bad apples. Are we saying that it is okay to label all black people the same based on the actions of those that are making poor choices? This is where my heart and mind collide. My heart hurts whenever I see another killing of an unarmed black civilian, I am saddened by the overt suppression of our black youth. I am even angered at the stories that appear time after time that validate the insensitive and demeaning treatment of people of color. So, I get it. Don’t support businesses that don’t have policies that enforce fair treatment. Don’t buy from brands that mock certain cultures or devalue a group’s heritage. But, where is the gray area. Or, is there one?
First of all, as a people, we can rarely unite long enough to create a significant impact. We tend to rally through marching and standing in protest. Which has some merit, but doesn’t seem to generate long term change. It kind of just let’s people know we aren’t happy. And then the next incident occurs and we march and protest again. And then the next incident occurs and we march and protest again. So, we keep the needle on the broken record.
How do we decide who is accountable for racism? How do some businesses or institutions get a pass and others don’t? I didn’t get the memo. What are the rules? What some strategies we could employ to put a dent in the deliberate acts of racism targeted at people of color? It is okay to be heard, but we need to be healed. Now, here is where some of us will part ways in our thinking. I cannot respond with hate. It just isn’t in me. I can’t target a random person and judge them or stereotype them based on the actions of other individuals or even a group of individuals… no matter how big that group is. Am I denouncing that there is white privilege? Of course not. Should I hate white people because they have this privilege? I find it hard. The first formal protest against slavery were held by the Quakers... white folks. The safe houses along the underground railroad were held by white people as black people couldn't own property at the time. While at the same time, you had the Klu Klux Klan and lynchings. We have come a long way, but not far enough. A lot is still so close to the same, it would be hard to differentiate the era. So, who is the blame when things stay the same?