Let me just make sure I’ve got this straight. The police kill George Floyd. Then, almost immediately, they police kill Rayshard Brooks. And during the protests in between, the cops engage in countless acts of blatant brutality that are caught on cell phone video. And all the while, they are complaining about the way people talk about them?!?
One side of the argument is “stop killing us,” and the other side is, “don’t call us mean names.”
Do I have that right? Is that really what’s going on? And people who think like me are the ones being called “snowflakes.” Sheesh.
Let me take a step back. Even though I have to listen to a deafening chorus of “not all cops…” at the very moment the cops are beating, gassing, shooting and murdering black people, I will acknowledge that “not all Republicans” are opposed to police reform. And we can talk about what that reform should look like, but I’m still hearing about “non-starters” and the need for “civil discourse.” This is one of the reasons that America is so stuck when it comes to race relations.
Look, in order to speak intelligently about racism in America, it is first necessary to acknowledge systemic racism. Not even “white privilege” (need to crawl before we can walk), just that the structures of society are imbued with racism and have been from before this nation’s founding.
Why is that so hard to admit? Do those who deny systemic racism have a reason to be predisposed to that denial? If no, then a thoughtful (Republican) person should be open-minded enough to consider the definition of systemic racism and then offer an argument as to why that definition does not apply to America today.
I have not heard a single person do this. What I have heard is a short list of black Americans who have had success in business and/or politics. To be fair, there are several, but a few “whataboutism” examples hardly disproves what we see with our eyes and what is borne out by objective data.
One example that Republicans in my family like to point to today is the junior senator from South Carolina, Tim Scott. He has the distinction of being the only black Republican serving in the Senate (Democrats have only two), and has been tapped by leadership to run the Republican counter-proposal for police reform. He is serving in his second term and holds no leadership positions for the Republican majority. Also, his current committee assignments (Commerce/Science/Transportation, Health/Education/Labor, Energy, Small Business, and Aging) don’t exactly suggest a focus on law enforcement, civil rights and the judiciary.
Senator Scott believes that systemic racism exists in America today, but is also quick to suggest that things are so much better now than they used to be for black and brown people living in America. Scott is not saying that these people should be happy with what they now have, but many Republicans do seem to have that opinion and it is disgusting. Scott’s emphasis on progress, especially in the context of constant police violence and murder, has a negative effect on the discussion.
Why minimize the horror? The answer is simple: Republican snowflakes.
They don’t think about what it is like for black and brown people to live in constant fear of white oppression. They’re not worried about a healthcare system that disproportionately disadvantages black and brown people. They only worry about not being called racist, like that’s the worst thing that could possibly happen to them. In some cases, I think they “doth protest too much.”