I’ve been thinking about this a lot. And, those of you who follow me on Twitter, and know me personally know that I have not been silent about this (and not just since this weekend).
Now, there are a lot of musicians/bands that say, “Leave the politics to politicians, and us bands should just play music.” Even one of my biggest influences, The Ramones, felt like that.
However, I don’t see this as politics, and it hits home.
I am, after all, Ecuadorian born in New York. I have very brown skin, and my daughter does as well.
I have been lucky enough to not feel any overt racism for most of my life. I’ve always known it’s there, and I’ve always known about the KKK and such (the idea of the Aryan Nation has always fascinated me). And it’s only in the past two years that I’ve really really started to feel uncomfortable (starting to feel those feelings that most African Americans live with day after day). Yesterday, I went shopping with one of my daughters, and I felt myself being suspicious of everyone, and watching everyone’s move and examining every escape route… just in case.
Because white supremacists have been taken off terrorist watch lists; money has been taken away from groups that are trying to keep watch on these hate groups, and that are trying to educate the members of these groups to potentially “rehabilitate” their hate; and there are way too many people who want to be polite, or who want to somehow stick hard to being peaceful that they don’t want to even call these groups “Nazis”, “White Supremacists” or hate groups…. not to mention that open carry laws are sweeping through the country (with no waiting periods, no safety courses).
I am a peaceful person. I don’t own guns. I try to help insects get out of my house, rather than kill them. I believe in intelligent conversation, in knowledge, in education. I try to help people in my personal life and professional life.
And I don’t understand what is wrong with calling out racism. If you don’t call it out, then that is allowing it to continue, and you become complicit. Calling out racism is NOT abridging freedom of speech. Go ahead be racist. Shout your White Nationalist chants. And I will be there saying, “See… you’re a racist.”
That’s how Freedom of Speech works. Freedom of Speech does not protect you from responses to your speech. It does not protect you from opposition to your speech.
But, I am brown skinned. So, my responses to White Supremacists mean nothing. They will only listen to white skinned people. So, to anyone who is reading who is white skinned – make noise! Call out racism! Let them know that you don’t agree, that it’s disgusting, that They.Are.Wrong!
As the great pacifist Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”
Because if they continue feeling comfortable being out in the open, with their cache of weapons, thinking that the President of the US is backing them up, thinking that they have the support of all white people around them, then my daughter could be the next victim of a white supremacist driving a car who sees her brown skin and decides she doesn’t belong in the US.