I hate when people say, “Just get over it already” when the topic of racism comes around. It’s often coming from a person in a “historically represented group” who says this to people of a “historically underrepresented group” in this country.
After working 7 days straight, I found myself watching television before getting ready for bed. Jorge asked me what movie I wanted to watch and I replied, “It doesn’t matter … I’m going to be asleep in about 5 minutes.” Well, Jorge put on “Mississippi Burning” and before I knew it, the credits were rolling at the end of the movie.
Mississippi Burning. 1964. 44 years ago. That was 44 years ago — my parents are older than that. By a lot. People often say, “Just get over it already. Stop bringing up issues of race. Race has nothing to do with it.” I think that’s straight up crazy. 44-years ago, 3 students were shot and brutally murdered while driving through Mississippi registering African American voters. They likely knew that they were going to face violence, yet they still went. As Wilhem Defoe’s character said in the movie, “Some things are worth dying for.” Unfortunately, during that time, there were also people who believed there were “some things worth killing for.” And there were even more people – and an entire system – that quickly, easily, and unapologetically covered it up.
Forty-four years ago. Forty-fouryears ago our country was figuring out how to deal with post-segregation. From an early age, education about how very different Blacks and Whites were took place in homes, schools, churches, town meetings, stores – everywhere.
Now, naturally, I bring up this issue in places like the Northeast, where I work and live, and I often get the response, “That was the South. That didn’t happen here. So, I don’t have the same issues with race,” says the person from the historically very represented group. I fight the urge to say, “Are you kidding??” and attempt to find the teachable moment.
“Yes, your family may not have indoctrinated you but our society, this country, has allowed you to believe that you don’t have issues with race.”
I am still amazed when educated people make comments (especially around me!) about just how righteous they are. Here are some of my favorites:
- “I am so offended that ___ thinks I’m racist! He definitely owes me an apology!”
- “I think people are making too much out of the cover of that magazine. I mean, no one would ever look at that cover and think he looks like a monkey or gorilla! People try to see things that aren’t there and just make matters worse.”
- “It’s not racial. That’s just an excuse.”
Oh, the list goes on…..