The problem with most “official” anti-racism work is two-fold. The first problem is that it is a part of and supported by institutional academia, which means that there are a lot of people and places with a vested interest in the work continuing – in other words, in the problem not being resolved any time soon. That weakness is true of every group advocating on behalf of an oppressed people. Success in the work may well equal unemployment, and I believe that truth at least subconsciously impacts the decisions made as programs are developed and grown. There is also a resistance to change in any institution, including academia. In racism work, the result is that techniques that were effective fifty years ago are seen to be universally effective for all times without change or update. The social and political realities of the 1950s and 1960s are not the social and political realities of 2014, but we plod along with the same ineffective nonsense – encouraged, of course, by those in power.
The larger problem in racism work is that very little emphasis has been placed on teaching diverse groups of people to work together to effect change. We have instead, and perhaps quite unintentionally, facilitated those who hold the real power in the 21st century – corporate America – maneuvering us into the mistaken notion that the enemy is white, black, brown, yellow, red, or some combination of the above when the real enemy can be easily identified by looking for the corporate logo. It is corporate America that controls our politicians and police forces, but the anti-racism folks – whose research is funded by grants from corporate America, in case you were unaware – continue trying to convince us that our enemy is the rest of the 99%, who have virtually no power (because we lack money) to change the system in any way. Our religious leaders of all colors and faiths, including NOI leadership, also dance to the tune called by corporate America – most especially when they try to convince us to commit acts of violence against others who are powerless because they want us to waste our time picking one another off while corporate America finishes the job it has so well begun of taking over this country.
What we need is to learn to work together, to celebrate our common humanity and our common needs and then work non-violently for change. We need to take responsibility for our actions and choices. We need to realize that an easy living is not always the best choice for ourselves, our families, or our cities. We need to recognize that rioting and looting only destroys our communities and, once again, distracts us from the injustice that really oppresses all people regardless of skin color. We must look with discrimination at our appointed leaders and, when they fail the test of integrity, replace them immediately and with extreme prejudice if necessary. We must question all authority that we ourselves have not granted, but most certainly any authority that tries to turn the common man and woman against one another. The black man or woman, the white man or woman, the yellow man or woman, the brown man or woman, the red man or woman – yea, not even the redneck is your enemy. Look at the man or woman, regardless of skin tone, in the expensive suit surrounded by security guards and ask yourself why they need security. What are they protecting themselves from? Of what are they afraid? And when that sharp-dressed man tells you he is on your side, run like hell because he is nothing more than a demon in designer clothing – even, perhaps especially, if he has a religious title behind his name.