(Previously published at the BlackCommentatorMagazine.com, January 14, 2021.)
Many of us know from experience, racists hate. Blacks trying to explain this have been called "extremists." Radical.
It's not a matter of disliking , say, black people. You can dislike people. Prejudice is one thing, but racism usually has consequences against those who are the target of hatefulness. Oppression. Anti-blackness isn't harmless. People invest in the thought process and the behavior of a racist to make sure bBlacks are discredited, dehumanized, disappeared. To go out of your way to hear and absorb lies about black people, even if you suspect the truth, is an experience blacks are forced to have every day in this country.
(What am I saying? I can hear the question I've heard so many times before: Why don't you go back to Africa?).
Truth is painful, and something to be avoided at all cost.
The absorption of little lies every day act similar to pain killers, removing the annoying pain--at least the remind of some underlying problem we don't want to confront out of fear of what we might learn about ourselves. Our condition. Personal and human.
The consequences of such hate targeted at a select population is cataclysmic. That is, those targeted can be killed with impunity; they can be marginalized social and economically. Disenfranchised as citizens in a society that has, whether overtly or covertly, a relationship to the narrative that supplies the lies and the cover up remedy.
I remember every time in Wisconsin when intolerant white neighbors decided they needed to get the insolent n----- away from them! I had to deal with white 20-something males. Sometimes they had the thin fashion-model attached to their arms. Another time it was a 96-year-old who claimed to know who I was. I know you! Last year, it was a couple of Trump supporters.
During those months last year in Trump's Kenosha County, I suspect that the women using high-tech crap to make it impossible for me to live in my apartment on the other side of a wall had male friends who knew what law enforcement and military gadgets to purchase, what websites to plug into to find out how to harass black neighbors, how to chase them back to whatever country or zoo they came from. It's no accident that right-winged groups assemble gear about them as if professional deterrents, guards, militia.
One white woman (again, a Trump supporter) deliberately walked up to me, paused long enough to face me and coughed toward my face, mumbling something when she finally moved on, confident of no consequences to her. Hopefully, I'd die! As for the manager at that building, there was no need to wear masks, this is 2020! I can't make people wear masks!
It was a senior building! But the key Trump supporters were in their fifties and she was in her late 30s or early 40s. And they were white! And only black people are dying from COVID-19!
One of my building managers had no problems informing me in 2017 that my now deceased cat was on a "bridge" waiting for me. She believed that. I believe this! The righteous-religious white evangelicals very prominent in Kenosha is a strong force that if you are not one in this body, you are the unholy one! And you are black too!
The idea of a black coming from "Chicago," living among them in small-town Wisconsin, frightens whites who believe that city is infested with black violent criminals with guns while their city or town has hard-working white folks. Innocent white folks.
I'm not so innocent, given my origins and race, huh? The "violent" one! The criminal from a community of criminal, in a city where blacks terrorize white residents!
Hate doesn't have a conscious or express concern. Compassion.
How to explain that level of hate to those who are seeing themselves the way black and other people of color see them here in the US?
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