I debated whether I wanted to say something. I had this internal battle with myself about how I wanted to say this without sounding angry, or apologetic, or redundant.
I have always had this belief that people are inherently good (still do, it’ll never change). I know some people aren’t, but I know that most people are, or they try to be. So then this happens, and I stay up until 2 a.m., writing about this on my iPhone, and trying to translate tired, frustrated words into something that makes sense. So, I waited a day or two to revise it, and I came up with all of this.
I wasn’t surprised when I saw the video of the SAE OU chant (I won’t link it, and you shouldn’t look it up). I didn’t flinch, I wasn’t stunned. My jaw didn’t drop, and I didn’t well up with outrage – I’ve been there before. I’ve been angry, hopeless and TIRED. I think my exact words were “Why do we keep living like this?” Other people around me were surprised, but it didn’t surprise me because I KNOW people who likely would’ve sat on that bus with their peers and spewed a hateful message if they didn’t think anyone was watching. So sad, but so true.
Maybe not the best reaction from a young black woman, but I couldn’t help but to think that I wasn’t outraged because I thought this happened for a good reason. People needed to see that it’s not just old WASPy men doing this shit, its people my age; People who grew up after segregation, after Jim Crow, after actual lynchings. After Bloody Sundays and Marches on Washington. After cross burnings and firebombing buses and churches. People who likely (but I guess not) weren’t taught that anyone who doesn’t look like them doesn’t fit in with them. People who should be passed this already. People are outraged because they’re seeing it, and hearing it in 2015, but it needed to happen because this sort of “private” moment happens far more than you’d think. It’s only outrageous because it’s in front of us, playing over and over and over – probably with millions of views on YouTube now. This type of moment isn’t just a one-off. It happens behind closed doors all the time, without someone taking a snapshot of it to share with a hashtag to post to the world. We only feel outrage because we’re witnessing it in its raw form, disgusting form.
I think this needed to happen so we could talk about it.
People believe we live in a post racial society. So this is a bunch of stuff that we don’t have to talk about anymore. Some of us can live that way, but most of us cannot. We don’t talk about race because we’re scared of it. It’s hard to start the conversation. So many things can go right when we just stare it in the face and talk about it. It’s when we don’t address it that it feels tense, and wrong. Now we get to feel uncomfortable seeing these stories everywhere, and we finally get to talk about it.
I think this needed to happen so we could see the good.
It shows that there is good in situations like this – the person who filmed it, recorded it and shared it because they have a conscience (I hope, I’ve tried not to read too much into this because it just frustrates me more), the student publication that published it, the University President who kicked the fraternity off campus for being a bunch of racist a-holes, the people who understand why it’s a critical situation, and that it isn’t brand new. The light shines bright in these people and more people who face it head-on.
This needed to happen because we have to stop blaming the WRONG people.
This isn’t the fault of hip-hop lyrics, or black culture. No one asked for this. Period. Seeing this story all over the news shows that we continue to blame and point fingers instead of addressing the real problem.
This needed to happen because it shouldn’t be tolerated anymore, and it should be blasted out loud.
What you do behind closed doors isn’t secret. Eventually, like the DOJ Ferguson reports and the realization of systematic discrimination, like SAE’s DUMB CHANT where young men make a joke of lynching black people, it comes out, and it’s so much worse than we think it is. Everyone needs to see it as an opportunity to learn, have the hard conversation, and never forget it.
This needed to happen because this is what happens when people think no one’s watching. Now the world is watching, hearing half-hearted apologies, and waiting for the world to open up about it, talk about it, and CHANGE, because we’re better than racist chants in a party bus the way to a frat party…