Black Folks, Stop Forgiving the Racists Who Harm Us

Black Folks, Stop Forgiving the Racists Who Harm Us

[OPINION] The more we forgive those who refuse to see us as people deserving respect, the more we assist in normalizing dehumanizing behavior

by Lincoln Anthony Blades, December 19, 2016

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Black Folks, Stop Forgiving the Racists Who Harm Us

As Donald Trump’s forthcoming presidential term advances upon us, everyday becomes an exercise in resisting the many systems who aim to normalize his irregularities. We’re told to adapt to his family choosing to stay in Trump tower at a cost to New York citizens of $1 million a day, and adjust to his daughter Ivanka getting an office in the White House, chairing his meetings with tech CEOs, and popping in on phone calls with Argentina’s president.

Yet, there may be no larger corporate media aided campaign than the regularizing of Trump’s racist, sexist, and xenophobic rhetoric. Trump’s rallies, which served as quasi-Klan meetings for those looking to affirm their supremacy, was filled with violent outrage—the same racially-inspired violence that Blacks and other minorities have been told doesn’t exist anymore. And as the assaults intensified, it was America’s next president who gleefully cheered it all on, at the expense of battered and dehumanized Black bodies.

At the :45 second mark in the clip above, we see John Franklin McGraw, a White man proudly identifying as a Trump supporter, traversing an entire row just to sucker-elbow the eye of Rakeem Jones, a young Black man who was identified at the rally as a protester. Jones had attended the rally with three friends: a White woman, a Muslim and a gay man, as a social experiment to see what would occur. His curiosity was repaid with a concussive blow.

At the one-minute mark in the above clip, as this Fayetteville, N.C., Trump rally subsided, McGraw said, “Next time we see him, we might have to kill him” in regards to murdering an unarmed Black man who made the unfortunate decision of underestimating bloodthirsty White angst.

McGraw was later charged with assault and battery, disorderly conduct and communicating threats, and he pleaded “no contest” to the assault and disorderly conduct charges. On Wednesday, he was given a suspended 30-day jail sentence and one year of unsupervised probation. So, basically, nothing.

At the hearing, he took a moment to address Jones and apologize:

“You know what you did, and I know what I did. I’m not going to say you were wrong or I’m wrong. I hate it worse than anything in the world. If I met you in the street and the same thing occurred, I would have said, ‘Go on home. One of us will get hurt.’ That’s what I would have said. But we are caught up in a political mess today, and you and me, we got to heal our country.”

Jones reached out and put his hand on McGraw’s shoulder, and McGraw subsequently extended his hand, which Jones shook before embracing McGraw in a hug. The courtroom burst into post-racial applause, and media outlets like CNN spoke of the embrace as an apology. From the standpoint of racial reconciliation at a time when the country is almost irreparably divided by our differences, I knew I was supposed to digest it as a form of progress, but only one clear thought came to my mind:

F–k that.

I am completely over the idea that Black folks strength is predicated in how much oppressive abuse we can absorb. I’m done with believing that people who intentionally harm us due to our melanin are deserving of forgiveness without conducting their own introspective moral review. I wholeheartedly refuse to provide exculpation without recompense.

Let’s be clear: not only was no apology delivered by McGraw who stated, “I’m not going to say you were wrong or I’m wrong,” but he actually decided to fully commit to sidestepping any form of qualitative atonement. In his mind and his words, the offense of flying his former Golden Glove fists into the face of an unsuspecting Black man was of equal sin to that Black man simply existing in a shared space with him. That sort of problematic thinking should not be rewarded by a round of applause in a court of law, and it definitely should not be repaid in absolution.

What’s most frustrating is hearing this racist white man, antiquated in age and ideology, clamor about how “we need to heal our country” because, to him and many like him, “heal” doesn’t mean addressing and eliminating their prejudice, yet rather believing that Blacks and oppressed minorities need to do a better job at acquiescing to their discrimination.

Once again, F–k that.

What’s ultimately so disgusting about this entire scenario is how emblematic it is of how Trump’s overtly racist campaign is dealing with American citizens, especially Black folks. The idea of “moving on and healing” is a message that neither Donald Trump nor his supporters gave a damn about before Trump “won” the election.

Trump, when asked in a presidential debate if he would join the national tradition of conceding the election to ensure a peaceful transition of power, flat out said, “I’ll tell you at the time. I’ll keep you in suspense, okay?” He effectively courted insurrection against the American government, mid-presidential debate. But, now that he’s in power, we’re all collectively supposed to fall in line while his campaign is still moored to White nationalist, Islamophobic, anti-Black ideology and policy.

At some point, we as Black people need to divorce ourselves from the ideology that we gain moral or spiritual high-ground from being magnanimous in the face of cruel injustice and domestic terrorism. The police who kill us and continually refuse to practice the same humane deescalation tactics they mete out to White folks, don’t deserve a pardon. Racist arsonists who burn down historically Black churches and don’t step forward, admit their wrongs, do their time, and reimburse the congregation, don’t deserve a righteous acquittal.

The more we extend our hands to those who refuse to see us as people deserving respect, the more we assist in normalizing the very behavior that dehumanizes us.

Lincoln Anthony Blades blogs daily on his site, ThisIsYourConscious.com. He’s author of the book, “You’re Not A Victim, You’re A Volunteer.” He can be reached on Twitter @lincolnablades and on Facebook at Lincoln Anthony Blades.

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