Earlier this week, I had an epiphany while I reflected on the events that have been transpiring around me. The insight dawned upon me while I was listening to ‘Change Up’- SuperShaqGonzoe, a song by fellow K-State student, Shaquille Gonzalez.
In the song, Gonzalez so eloquently proclaimed, “I pledge allegiance to a country that doesn’t even love me.”
I couldn’t help but quiver as my soul internalized the message the words carried. In the weeks following my previous article, a couple of readers reached out to contact me in regards to the subject matter discussed within the piece. There was also the potential cause of an even greater split in the racial rift that is present in America with the election of Donald Trump as President.
Upon trying to put my epiphany into perspective, I had to go back to a profound discussion I had with one of the readers of my last article and I would like to address some of the issues that were brought up. In particular, it was brought to my attention that it seemed that I was placing all of the blame for the racial rift in America on white America.
I could dispute this claim with ease, but today, I choose not to. As an educated and conscious black male in America, I think the time has come to be blatantly direct about the racial problems that we are faced with.
Of course, there is work to be done in the communities of people of color. But today, I indict white America for being a moral monster, unable to be empathetic.
As the reader and I discussed race relations, there were questions such as, “Why won’t black people greet white people and be friendly?” “Why can’t black people see the humanity in white people?” and, “Why do black people act in the disconnected manner that they do?”
This only affirmed the notion that white America has this privilege and sense of entitlement that has so long been dominant under the American power structure.
As I examined the questions, I can only counter question in the same manner. “Why can’t whites come up and greet blacks in a friendly manner?” “Why can’t whites see the humanity in us?” “We are the ones who have constantly been dehumanized in the history books and through the media?”
In regards to our disconnected behavior, I want white America to understand that it is because you have conditioned us to act in this manner. After countless years and generations of slavery and oppression on numerous levels, people of color are bent on survival.
All of our behaviors and actions are stemmed through that one word, survival. We have no problem with the average white person and really don’t care about you. We do have a problem with the racism and oppression we can’t seem to shake in this country.
The real problem is the fear of people of color that has been continuously instilled into the minds of white America. I can’t tell you the number of times I have walked past a white woman and she has locked her car door or crossed to the other side of the street.
People of color don’t care about white people as much as you think we do. Simply put, we are raised and built to survive. If white America can get from a place of being sympathetic to a place of being empathetic while we continue to push the conversation of race relations forward, maybe we have a chance of solving the disconnect.
As for now, we, people of color have to stay disconnected to ensure our survival. This is the safest way to combat the paranoia, fear, and hate that racism breeds in this country.
Gary D. Hackett III is the Ebony Theatre president, a Black Student Union member and a senior in marketing and theatre. The Sankofa Column is a bi-weekly guest editorial by the BSU.