Dismantle Institutionalized Racism Everywhere!

Posted: June 26, 2015 by extremehistory in Uncategorized
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Dire Graphic

Collectively we have agreed to tolerate an enormous amount of racism in our everyday lives and environment. Racist images glare at us from our currency, our sports stadiums and even the flagpoles of our state capitals and yet we pass them by every day not even conscious of the messages these images send to those people oppressed by their meanings. We also agree to tolerate radical distortions in the stories of our history which aid in supporting these symbols by misinterpreting, rationalizing and justifying their meanings and state-sanctioned existence. Furthermore, the true stories of the past which would reveal the darker, racist meanings of these symbols are often denied. They aren’t told in our classrooms, addressed in our media or brought up in our public discourse. Such denial further perpetuates the racism which has been institutionalized in our mutually agreed upon, cultural landscape.

But consider the oppression these images cause for those whose ancestors suffered from their existence. Can you imagine what it would be like for a Jewish person to encounter a swastika on a flag flown over a public building? Yet everyday African Americans encounter the Confederate Flag flying over the South Carolina State Capital, a flag that literally reflects their ancestor’s enslavement and symbolizes their current struggle for acceptance and equality.
Every day Native Americans see the face of Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill, a man whose annihilation policies aimed at destroying the Native American population and whose Indian Removal along the Trail of Tears caused the deaths of four thousand Cherokee people and the untold suffering of many more. Jackson’s Indian policy influenced Hitler who also believed annihilation was the best policy for Germany. What message is his image on our currency saying to our Native citizens of this country?

Native people also see their ancestors ridiculed in the images of sports teams like the Washington Redskins and the Cleveland Indians. These images permeate our culture on t-shirts, mugs, merchandise as well as splashed across TV screens across the country. Every day Indian children have to face these symbols meant to denigrate their heritage.

The time has come to re-evaluate these symbols and put them to rest. What purposes do they serve us that override the destruction they do to the cultural identity of our fellow citizens? It is our duty, collectively, to no longer tolerate them on our landscape. We must first be aware of them, then we must take action against them. Wouldn’t it be great to have institutionalized symbols that uplift all of us? Can we find new images to replace these archaic racist symbols that unite us rather than divide us? We can make it happen if we agree to Dismantle Institutionalized Racism Everywhere!

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