Challenging The Culture of Racism; What You Need To Know and Do Now

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They’re billionaires like the Koch brothers who’ve got the money and power to give and take away opportunity at will.

The “culture” is Trayvon Martin’s killer George Zimmerman and Jordan Davis’ killer Michael Dunn – a man who didn’t think twice about pulling the trigger on a Black teen because he played his music too loud.

The “culture” is newly-minted Tea Party poster-child Cliven Bundy, the Nevada rancher who had this to say to the New York Times recently about African Americans: “They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton … And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less.”

The “culture” is vicious, unrelenting, pervasive, obvious yet hidden and unapologetically anti-Black.

From the moment our ancestors set foot in this country we have been at war with this  “culture” — abject racism reinforced by the chain and whip and guarded by the U.S. Constitution.

Today the “culture” openly mocks and disrespects our President, calling him a liar, a monkey and worse, spending hundreds of millions of dollars in an effort to appeal the Affordable Care Act just to spite him.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said that “Judicial decrees may not change the heart, but they can restrain the heartless,” and the spirit by which he proclaimed this is still true today.

Yes, Sterling was booted out. Yes, he stands to lose his team. But the take-away should be that we don’t have to wait for the powers that be to make the call.

We don’t have to hold our breaths and hope the other team owners see it from our side.

We can and should stand up and speak out whenever and wherever there is injustice.

Our job – the next time we run up against “the culture” — is to say, you know what? Eff the game. Playing in it, going to it or watching it is not worth the insult to my dignity and pride.

It is to exercise our enormous collective economic power and just stop buying – whether they’re jeans, pancake platters or seasons tickets – from people who hate us.

It’s to strike, rally, protest and put pressure on any of the corporations that dare to back “the culture.” And, finally, it’s to back ourselves – building up businesses in our own community – so that when the “culture” shows its true colors we have the strength to hit it where it hurts. In the pockets.

After all, we have the power to control the culture if only we would wake up and use it.

I’ve spent my entire career as a civil rights activist and anti-violence advocate. I hear from folks all over the country about how fed-up they are—how much they want change—but they don’t know where to start. It’s not enough just to be informed, we’ve got to work tirelessly to do better. With the “The Lookout,” I’ll collect the most important stories and action items that you need to know about and things you can do each week, keeping you involved so you can create positive change for yourself and your community.

I want to hear from you; what’s going on in your community? What stories or events should folks know about? Leave a comment below. 


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