We have all, myself included, lived our lives under the disillusionment that the real dangerous racists were all ignorant, unemployed, one-dimensional caricatures. The kind who had broken down Chevy trucks, drank Papst Blue Ribbon beer, lived in trailer parks and barely had a junior high school education. We thought we could spot them a mile away. We thought we knew them so well that there was no way they could sneak up on us because, hey, they had nothing to fuel them but their hate and we believed our power to love would always outweigh their hate. We have hoodwinked and bamboozled ourselves.
Racists, the real dangerous ones, are everywhere. They have infiltrated our government. A vast number of them are the ones who shape the laws and decide who gets the "lighter" sentences and who gets to serve for life. They also get to vote up or down on issues that will send clear messages to the poor and disenfranchised, to the black and brown, and to any others who are not white, wealthy, male, Christian, heterosexual, and able-bodied -- messages that say, "we will destroy you one unfair law, one unfair practice at a time." Some of them are doctors and nurses, making sure the poor and disenfranchised don't quite get the same attention as those who look and sound like them. A few of them have found their way into our schools, "educating" our children by leaving out those parts of history that show a more well-rounded version of what really happened in our nation and our world. And some of these racists benevolently tell one group of children that they are "hyper" and "loners" while telling another group they are "bad" and "thugs." And some of them actually have the unmitigated gall to stand in our pulpits on Sunday, preaching "God's word" to their flock, while knowing there sits among them the biggest Judas Iscariots of them all. And finally, quite a few of them have befriended us on social media, making us believe they "don't understand" all of this "race stuff" because they don't "see color" and they wish everyone would just "move on" and "let it go" because, anyway, "all lives matter."
Meanwhile, they cling to their racist flags and statues of killers and slave owners desperate for those iconic symbols of hate to stand in our government buildings so that they can very consciously send the message to all black and brown skinned people, "you do not matter." They make martyrs out of little known family members who fought in the Civil War in order to make the owning of brown and black people an institution that would have quite possibly continued for another 400 years had the south not lost that war.
Racists, the real dangerous ones, are everywhere and not necessarily where we all thought they were hiding because, really, they aren't hiding. They work with us. They live around us. They wave and smile and wink, making us believe they aren't a threat when really, they are the biggest threat of all because they are undercover racists. They wear business suits and sensible shoes. They vote. They drive nice cars. They eat at fancy restaurants and they own property. But as more and more changes begin to happen in society where they are seeing themselves lose their stronghold, they are weakening and outing themselves and not just in a subliminal manner. They are spewing their hate and showing their disdain of black and brown people by giving press conferences and status updates on social media. They are starting arguments at the water cooler and disrupting meetings in order to try and regain their power. I say we let them self-destruct. It's time they get the picture.
We will not surrender. We will not retreat. They will not win.