My belief that is supported by facts: America is a country built on racism.
The Founding Fathers owned Black human beings whom they considered property without any legal rights because they were not considered citizens of the United States. Structural racism is so ingrained in our identity that when we speak out against it, we are considered traitors. The author of ‘What the Constitution Really Says About Race and Slavery’ claims that
“The argument that the Constitution is racist suffers from one fatal flaw: the concept of race does not exist in the Constitution. Nowhere in the Constitution—or in the Declaration of Independence, for that matter—are human beings classified according to race, skin color, or ethnicity (nor, one should add, sex, religion, or any other of the left’s favored groupings). Our founding principles are colorblind (although our history, regrettably, has not been).”
I’m not even going to justify that foolishness with a rebuttal. Moving on…
I am not one for oppression Olympics. I will not minimize the abusive treatment of minorities in America, but the centuries of the oppression and abuse of Black people in America are distinct from that of Native Americans and other ethnic groups.
Racism, microaggressions, gaslighting, discrimination, cultural appropriation, and unconscious bias tell me that those who believe in equity and equality must unite. We don’t have to unite in approaches, but we do need to unite in the belief that diverse tactics are required to combat structural racism. We need to unite in the idea that there is enough room for all of us. Anti-racism is a marathon, not a sprint.
Since there’s never been an acceptable way for Black people to protest, I believe that we need to combine our strategies. Consider that students use different learning styles and study habits to pass a chemistry final and doctors prescribe different medications to different patients to treat the same illness. We must bury the one-size-fits-all ideal. There is a time and a place for everything – protests, praying, marching, legislation, combat, lawsuits, preaching, boycotts, education, voting, entrepreneurship, and I’m sure there are other things I haven’t considered but help us in the fight. Does that mean that I have to accept that there is also a role for respectability politics and comforting the oppressors? Nope, I’m not there yet!
There was more than one brutal road that got us here, so we need to take more than one strategic road to get us out.
There’s room for all of us!
Nicki Sanders, MSW, CEO, is a Career and Empowerment Strategist who helps high-performing women of color in management go from overworked, underpaid, and unappreciated to energized, well paid, and appreciated. Through Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, she also helps businesses recruit, hire, train, and retain great employees. Nicki has an extensive background in developing and managing successful programs and leading high-functioning multi-disciplinary teams. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life she loves. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.
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