Racism is a horrific disease that continues to kill the heart of our country. Just like cancer if you don’t catch it early, it spreads, rotting your mind till your heart is dead. One minute you’re chuckling at Bill Maher calling himself a “house N-word”. The next minute you’re arguing on social media, “it’s a joke, snowflake”. The next your defending Jeronimo Yanez, the cop who murdered Philando Castile, an innocent black man and walked free.
I hear you white male, “come on, that’s extreme.” It’s not and I’m telling you why, so crack open the door to your heart and listen…
The moment you put another human down is the moment you begin to see them as below you, as undeserving, as less than human, as a fucking joke. It’s all shits and giggles when you’re first making fun of your bro friend Todd who can’t get laid. The more you make fun you start to see him as a loser, the more he seems himself that way. You make think you two are boys, but there’s a big part of him that absolutely hates you. It’s the part of him that you view as inadequate. No one wants to be viewed as less than because everyone knows we are all equal. Yet there are lots of white people who do this to entire races of soul filled human beings. It’s not the slightest bit funny, it’s a fucking disaster in the form emotional genocide.
The words we say come from the thoughts we think. The thoughts we think come from the way we feel. How we feel creates the realities we live. I hear you, “oh lighten up snowflake, it’s just jokes.” If we lived in an equal world, if black lives weren’t murdered by the ones paid to protect them, if our society wasn’t founded on white supremacy, maybe I’d see your perspective, even laugh. But it’s not a joke, it’s a reality, a fucked up, toxic, hellhole reality that black lives live due to their skin and our ignorance.
The more time you spend “joking” the more time you are feeding that hellhole reality. Would you rather spend more time experiencing a happy, caring Earth where we all treat each other as the beautiful human souls we are or do you want more time living in this violent and chaos? Then it’s time to for us to spend less time making jokes and more time uplifting, more time owning and educating our ignorance and less time defending and arguing for it.
Take liberal maestro Bill Maher and his thoughtless use of the N-word. On Bill’s show “Real Time” Ice Cube attempts to get “real” by saying “let’s get to the root” of why Bill would even think it is ok to say. If Bill’s apology is truly genuine, instead of his insipid “I’m a comic” excuse, Maher would’ve already discovered the root and expressed it sincerely the moment the cameraman yells “action”. Instead Bill sits defensively as Ice Cube and Symone Sanders speak from their hearts. The moment they finish, Bill immediately changes the subject off his damaging behavior. Did Bill apologize and give Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Ice Cube, and Symone Sanders a platform to express why the word is so destructive? Yes, but in a racist world where black lives are murdered due to the unexamined fear they trigger in ignorant, conditioned white people that’s not enough. If we are going to change this racist world we must examine why we are racist, consciously learn why that’s the opposite of what makes a better world, and do everything in our power to change our behavior.
As much as Bill Maher doesn’t believe in God, he’s a liberal demi-god. There are many white people who walk around with their heads up their smug asses thinking they have their Master’s Degree in Bill Maher. These people are influenced by Maher. Imagine if Maher comes down from his pretentious throne of intellectual divine Jehovah, finds the compassion to apologize from his heart, thoroughly examines the root of his behavior, and asks his liberal followers to examine theirs. There is no calculating how many people could’ve examined the root of their own racism, no quantifying the productive peaceful impact it could’ve had on our world. I hear you white male, “grow up hippie like Bill Maher can change the world.” Yes, he can. Change starts with one human being. That one human being inspires another human being to change which causes another human being to change and the ripple effect can be limitless.
I am a slam poet. Years ago I was an arrogant, uneducated slam idiot with a poem I performed in 1800’s stereotypical African American Dialect. My intention was to bring the races together, but it didn’t matter because the method I used was created by racism. One night I inanely performed the poem at one of the biggest slams in the country. After finishing, a poet ran to me, explaining how the poem is racist. At first like Bill I felt defensive, what does this white guy know, I’ve performed it in front of black audiences before and they loved it. But when I took the time to research, I realized holy shit, my poem is racist, I’m racist, I created the poem.
Immediately I felt embarrassed as hell. I cringe thinking about the poem as I write this now. As a human who whole heartedly believes in the love within each human I’d never mock a culture of beautiful humans who are treated less than beautiful because certain ignorant humans can’t feel the love within themselves. But I did. I was guilty. Within that guilty feeling is where the precious moment of truth reveals itself. How am I going to respond?
Since it doesn’t feel good, I could push the guilty feeling away, “it’s just a poem, just innocent human beings murdered.” I could take the Bill Maher defense, “well, I’m a comedian and getting a tired laugh means more than human lives.” I could take the founder of Slam Poetry, Marc Smith approach, “I say what I want!” Well what you want to say is racist, invalidating, and damaging, so why the fuck do you want to say it? I could even take the bullshit new age tactic, “its only racist cause you say it is.” Well, I say it is. Or I get to the root of my problematic behavior and transcend it.
So I got to the root and the root taught me I didn’t know shit about racism and needed to shut the fuck up. So I do my best to constantly educate myself on racism by gathering information and listening to black human beings who live it. Does this make me a saint? No, it makes me a productive member of a better world. Do you want a better world? Then you must understand fully owning your problematic behaviors is needed way more than your ego. Admitting to being wrong may not feel good especially when you’re used to feeling high and mighty, but your high and mighty feeling is bullshit if it is a byproduct of a living in a racist world.
We live in a racist world. The only way to stop it from being a racist world is for us to stop being racist and teach compassion, honesty, and equality to our children. It starts right now. It starts right here. It starts with us and continues with us. The difference between Philando Castille and countless other living, breathing beautiful human beings being alive or dead is owning our society’s racist, conditioned ignorance, educating it, and moving it into equality. Ignorance sees a black man and thinks “oh shit, I need to shoot.” Equality sees a black man and says, “hey, how are you?” Do you understand the power in your hands? Do you understand how you owning your ignorance can give another human the courage to own theirs? Do you understand how many lives you can change by standing up for what you know to be right? Do you understand how many of those lives could go on to be police officers who change the minds of other police officers by staying true to themselves? Do you understand how that can create an entirely different police system? If that poet would’ve never approach me about that poem instead of always doing my best to search for the deeper understanding, I’d still be performing that poem. Know your self. Know why you think the way you do. Know your voice. Know your impact. Know the influence you have on the world simply by doing your best to create a better world for all.
By Justin Blackburn, author of “The Bisexual Christian Suburban Failure Enlightening Bipolar Blues” and many other books. For more info on Justin and his books, check out www.justinblackburnwrites.com or be his friend on Facebook.