Sunday, September 25, 2016

Straining At Invisible Chains

There is no Emancipation Proclamation for bigotry.

There is no Civil Rights Act for hatred.

There is no Civil War for racism.

No matter the extent of actions taken to drive out slavery and tamp down the racism behind it, it will not die. It may be strangled, it may be driven under rocks, it may be forced from the light of day, but it rests below the surface, sits quiescent in dark corners, and it waits.

The Black portion of America is straining at invisible chains. Ephemeral, insubstantial, but as strong as the strongest irons that ever held their ancestors in the bottom of ships bound from Africa. Chains forged in racial supremacy, scientific impurity, and patriarchal psychology, by a White race that has done its level best to make every effort to prove its inherent superiority while simultaneously proving Black inferiority. No amount of blood on the battlefield nor ink on paper has rid America of the scourge of systemic, endemic racism.

We can proclaim progress, we can point to a Black President and a museum dedicated to the African-American experience, we can point to all the walks of life where Blacks can now be regularly found, and still there are the invisible chains. No Black person may be made to dance on the auction block, but they are still for sale in the marketplace of ideas, and the idea that they are a threat, that they are lazy, that they are expendable, are all bought and sold in blood and rhetoric.

Police still routinely shoot Black people who pose little threat to them, claiming "imminent danger." GOP Congressmen regularly denigrate Blacks as dependent on government, and a GOP Presidential nominee has lumped all Blacks into the category of having little or nothing to show for their efforts.

We can see, in the clear air of the 21st Century, the biases that wove the bonds of slavery, that built the self-reinforcing system that perpetuated the idea of racial superiority. We can see the tricks and obfuscations and tyranny used to continue to hold the Black race in thrall to the White race. Even with all the steps taken by so many, Black and White, to scour clean the stain of slavery and bigotry from the nation, like Lady Macbeth, we curse that apparent inability to blot it away. It seeps out from the pores of a nation that has defective cells in its marrow that perpetuate this cancer.

Where will the day come that a Keith Scott, or a Sandra Bland, or a Tamir Rice, or a Mike Brown, or an Emmett Till, might walk down the street and not be the subject of the depredations of police? When will legislators understand that affirmative action is the redress for a system that was designed to prevent Black inclusion in colleges and universities? When will the Voting Rights Act no longer be necessary?

Right now, our nation seethes, as one man has brought into the daylight the bigotry and racism most decent Americans have tried to hold down for decades. Donald Trump's atonal ignorance on matters of Blackness is only superseded by his willingness to overlook the overt racism of many of his followers. He cannot see the chains that still bind Blacks to centuries of scorn and sabotage and slavery through White supremacist attitudes. It easier to claim on one hand that no one has helped them, and on the other that they need to help themselves, and that somehow, he alone, can be their emancipator, though his history is strewn with his own racist tendencies.

Now, in our nation, we finally have a chance to deal a severe blow to racism. We can take the Republican response to a Black President, the odious and fatuous bigot that is Donald Trump, and thrash him at the polls. Every decent American has a chance, through their ballot, to proclaim what we know in our hearts: there is no room for racism anymore. We can repudiate Trump and the minions who follow him, and deal them a death blow of seismic proportions. We can ring the bell of freedom for all Americans loudly and fully, by showing our Black brothers and sisters that we will no longer tolerate their being bound to the past. We can, once and for all, take up the hammer of justice and break those invisible chains.