Tearing down century old statues of confederate rebels who believed in white supremacy is just a cursory step towards gaining any type of societal racial justice. Why? Because, those statues have already performed the job they were installed to do. They provided a sense of racial fear during the period of time we knew as Jim Crow America. Most of those statues were installed during the period of time when along with white mob justice, the statutes supported the need to instill fear and promote white supremacy. So, in taking them down or allowing groups of people to take them down it is simply a case of racial pacification.
Changing the names of professional sporting teams is as Malcolm X, told us in the 1960s’ another meaningless step, or action that provides black communities a sense of accomplishing something. What is the accomplishment? Well, for the team changing its name it is the ability to increase team revenues. You think if the Washington Redskins changes the team name to the Washington RedTails that Dan Snyder, team owner won’t see a significant boost in his team’s bottom line related to increased marketing? How many black folks will be sporting Red Tail uniforms next fall? How much of that increased team revenue is coming back to our black communities? I’m waiting?
Today, July 6, 2020, I am releasing another Stokely “Kwame Ture” Carmichael teaching moment. This quote comes from a speech Stokely gave in Berkeley, California in 1966. This how I reflect on how that quote has maintained its relevance for over 54 years. If change is truly going to occur in any of our lifetimes in this nation. That change must be the complete destruction of the foundations of institutional racism that continues too foster and promote the massive societal inequalities that exists in this nation in 2020. Those inequalities weren’t supported by statues or professional team names. Sorry. They were supported and are still supported by unfulfilled bills of federal, state, and municipalities that maintain the social and economic inequities without any legitimacy of real change.
So when is real change coming? Not when you take down a statue, or change a team name. No, change will come when those individuals with the racist institutions that promote and feed off those in real need of change are torn down. Because, it is those privileged few who hide behind these pacification tactics and continue to feed on all levels of division.