This article is Part II in a two-part series from Gerald Torrence on Racism Exposed.
Those who continue to profit from the culture of white supremacy see the dismantling of the centuries-old system as a threat to their monopoly on wealth and power. Look at the makeup of the U.S. House and Senate. It’s a sea of white men and white women with a darkie thrown in here or there for the sake of appearances. More than 50 years after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the Negro is still mired in a system of white supremacy which leaves them marginalized and oppressed. This culture of white dominance and Black subjugation filters down from the executive office through the halls of congress to state and local governments, tainting courts, administrative offices and the officials and staff that run them.
If there ever is to be real change in the cultural, structural and endemic racial inequality in America, we must first acknowledge and recognize a society that in many ways is the same as it was before the Emancipation Proclamation. Justice Taney voiced the true feelings of white America in the Dred Scott decision which denied the Negro status as a citizen: “the Negro has no rights which the white man is bound to respect.” This pronouncement by the highest court in the land undergirds the cultural and social fabric of America today, just as it did over 150 years ago when Taney purported to speak for all civilized people of the world when he called the Negro “an unfortunate race that is enslaved for his own good” White America didn’t view the Negro as an equal then, and they don’t view us as equals now. Until there is a fundamental change of this reality, the more things change, the more they will remain the same.
Now that the curtain has been pulled back, and the systemic oppression and systematic targeting of Blacks has been exposed in Ferguson, what is the remedy? A consent decree between the city of Ferguson and the Justice Department are only a start. Any true and meaningful remedy must address and redress the economic, social and psychological injuries to the tens of thousands of African Americans in Ferguson who were victimized by its racist and unjust system. Liberty and freedom was lost due to systemic and discriminatory incarceration; homes and living quarters were lost due to inability to make mortgage and car payments. Monies earmarked for food and shelter were siphoned from family budgets, to fund the corrupt city and local governments which in turn perpetuated the cycle of predatory and systemic oppression of Black people. This form of economic and cultural genocide was not done to minorities, i.e., white women, Hispanics, gays and lesbians, or any other multitude of individuals under Americas’ new smorgasbord of stated and unstated protected classes. It was done to Black people! Americas has apparently forgotten, and removed the Negro from its’ consciousness as the original minority in this country.
Ferguson is only the tip of the iceberg. These types of racist policies and structures in police departments, courts, and state and local governments, are rampant throughout this country. Every municipality is guilty and therefore culpable and responsible for the solution. Justice demands that the Federal Government not end its investigation at Ferguson, but conduct a state by state, city by city, municipality by municipality audit of policies and practices, and expose the true picture of America. The ugly truth is that the United States of America is a country rife with racism and injustice, while hiding behind the façade of fairness, human rights, and democratic values. How dare America condemn Communist, Socialist, and autocratic regimes when it continues to maintain its 400 year legacy of systemic and structural deprivation of rights and equality to the Black man? There must be a nationwide review of policies and practices of Federal, municipal, state and local governments to root out and remedy these continuing constitutional abuses.
Now that we’ve documented the problem to the extent that the racist practices cannot be rationalized or theorized beyond the cold hard facts, it’s time to fashion a remedy. Call it reparations or call it a remedy. You can call the legal and economic mechanism used to address and redress these continuing harms to African Americans whatever is most palatable to the power brokers in the halls of Congress and the Executive Branch. (Just don’t call it a hand out. This money is owed!) But whatever you call the remedy, it must be comprehensive and it must not only address the problem and the solution, but also the victims and the financial harm that they have suffered. Economic redress for the systemic, racist policies and practices of state and local governments must be a part of any solution or comprehensive remedy. No matter what the cost, no matter how long and laborious the process, if America is serious about correcting a system of governance which has engaged in patterns and practices of discrimination which are deeply rooted in the fiber and fabric of this nation, it must be done and it must be done now.
If America can spend a billion dollars a day to finance imperialist military interventions across the globe, it can afford to redress the continuing civil, constitutional, and human rights violations of its most marginalized and historically oppressed people, African American citizens.
Gerald Torrence is a lawyer, educator, writer, social and political activist, and motivational speaker living in Atlanta. You can find more insightful opinions from TheTruthTeller at the-truth-teller.com. You can follow Gerald on Twitter @tttspokentruth.