Sunday, July 14, 2013

Crosspost from Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis - Structural Racism,Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

 My friend, colleague and former Social Justice professor, Joseph DeFilippis, posted this to his Facebook page.  Thanks in advance for reading and considering.  And, most importantly, please talk to your loved ones, friends and colleagues.  Start a dialogue, no matter how your feel.  Please indulge me and read on.
Posted by Joseph Nicholas DeFilippis (on facebook)
This is a message for all of my Facebook friends who are neither black nor activists. (I am thinking specifically of some of my theater friends, college friends, high school friends, and family) -

You are needed right now. This is the time to be an ally. Well, it is always that time, but this is a moment where your voices need to be heard in solidarity with this country’s ongoing war on black bodies.

The polls show that America does not care.
- America does not care about the Trayvon Martin verdict.
- Or the Marissa Alexander verdict.
- Or about Stop and Frisk policies.
- Or about our prisons filled with black people incarcerated for non-violent crimes (drug use).
- Or Paula Deen’s desire to organize a slavery party.
- Or the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision.
The majority of Americans are fine with all of these things.
Because they have maintained for years that racism no longer exists. And denying that racism still exists has been a big part of why racism is allowed to thrive.

Yet this summer is making obvious what many black people and many activists always already know – that racism (structural racism – embedded in our police system, prison system, education system, banking system, welfare system, and foster care system) is still a central part of the fabric of American life.

And you need to speak up about it.

The very public nature of these events this summer provides you with an opportunity for speaking up. You need to speak to your fellow non-black, non-activist Americans and provide a balance to the apathetic and/or racist rhetoric that has accompanied these recent events.

You cannot just say “this is a tragedy” and then assume that someone else is going to do something about it. You do not have to attend a rally (you should, and perhaps you will, but let’s assume for a moment that you won’t). But you have to speak up. A lot. You have to have uncomfortable conversations with people you love and with strangers. On Facebook. At work. At dinner parties. You have to express your disappoint and anger and sadness about these recent events to people who do not already agree with you. “Liking” my status updates is not enough. You need to speak up and be an ally.

You are needed.

end post

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