By Irami Osei-Frimpong (January 30, 2019)
Heather Heyer died for going to a rally against White supremacists. She didn’t wake up that day to die. She woke up that day to go to a rally against White supremacy. But she paid the price. That’s simply what justice costs. Our unwillingness to pay that price is why we ended Reconstruction.
I think that not so deep down, we all know that the nation has avoided the task of directly addressing anti-Black racism. The Germans went through the work of de-Nazification; White Americans erected monuments to Confederates.
Maybe it’s because they wanted to keep our housing values, secure our inheritance, or send their kids to the school with the higher scores or didn’t want to offend their vaguely supremacist friends or boss or spouse or parent or colleague. Maybe it’s because they wanted to keep our kids safe, even when we knew the “stop and frisk” sensibility or targeted traffic stops were disproportionately taxing on Black men and communities, and the best way to do that is concentrate all of America’s race problems into Black neighborhoods.
But I think that deep down, White Americans know that the vaguely anxious feeling that White House staffers feel about Trump’s twitter account, petulance, and erratic decision-making is the same feeling Black Americans walk around with all of their life with White America. It’s a steady state of terror that starts as young as pre-school, when you see the stats on how 3 year olds are disproportionately punished before they can barely talk, and the trend simply doesn’t stop on through adulthood.