The Familiar Look of Racism

It starts with a look.

It’s a silent gaze that screams from yesteryear the same way its daddy and granddaddy screamed: What are you doing here? Where do you live? Why are you in my store? Doesn’t take much to recognize it. I’m watching you. The scream is voiceless but it is immediately understood. It’s an uncomfortable feeling. Hard to describe especially in the middle of knowing exactly what “the look” is really about and from whence it comes. It’s really undeniable. It truly is. It can be deadly. I’ve felt it too many times to count. The awareness of that scream envelopes me with a mix of anger, frustration, helplessness, and a few more ingredients that unless you’ve been the recipient of that discriminatory, racist stare, you will not understand. Not that I don’t want you to understand, it’s just that you won’t.

Jermaine Massey was kicked out of a DoubleTree Hotel in Portland, Oregon, this week after making a call in the hotel’s lobby. He was deemed a safety threat and accused of trespassing…in the hotel where he had a room…that he paid for…in the lobby that is open to guests…where guests are allowed to be. There’s got to be more to the story some might say. Oh, yes, indeed – there’s more to the story, alright. There’s a whole history lesson involved. But on the surface, nah. I know what it is. You do, too. His account of the incident reads like a familiar book to me. Continue reading “The Familiar Look of Racism”

Just a White Lie, That’s All

I was going to respond to a post on the ‘book yesterday but I didn’t. Considering there was a good chance it would lead to frustration (but also not wanting to spill this opportunity in the comments section), I decided against it. Instead, I chose to write in depth about it in hopes that the reader would learn something new by examining this short discourse.

The title of the article I was reading earlier in the day and posted on my timeline was in reference to an 18-year-old white woman by the name of Breana Rachelle Harmon: “Woman Who Lied to Police About 3 Black Men Raping and Kidnapping Her Faces Zero Years in Prison.”

A fellow Marine with whom I served replied to the post saying, “She needs to go to prison for however [long a sentence] those men would have [received].” While I can fully understand his view, I can also say with a large degree of certainty that, from a historical context in America’s not-so-far-removed past, he was only thinking on the surface by solely mentioning a prison sentence. And understandably so. Conversely, when I heard of Harmon’s lie, my mind immediately recalled that in times past (and present, truth be told) the sentence for Black men being accused of raping a white woman was death by lynching.

Not prison.

The reaction to Harmon’s story is typical of how whites are treated in a white supremacist society. Continue reading “Just a White Lie, That’s All”