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By Kojo Asamoa-Caesar
I used to point out people like this to my “sensible” white friends and they would tell me that we shouldn’t pay them any mind, that those folks are on the fringes and are dying out. Then we came to find out there’s enough of them (and others) to elevate a demagogue into the role of leader of the so-called free world.
For many of us, one of the “bright” spots of the Trump presidency is that we no longer have to argue with our “sensible” white friends about whether racism is still alive.
The hurdle now for those friends is: is racism a deal-breaker or nah?
“Okay fine, my uncle is racist, but he’s still my uncle.” “The president of the United States is racist, but the economy is doing well.” “I hate his tweets but I like his policies.” “This stuff is not so black and white, bro.”
First of all, don’t “bro” me if your uncle that still comes over for thanksgiving dinner thinks I’m a piece of shit and I should go back to where I came from.
Republicans, Republican leaders, evangelical Christian Republicans, those who support Republicans, those who donate money to Republicans in office and anybody else who has not come out forcefully and made it absolutely clear that they do not support a racist as president of the United States—we can’t be cool or friends or united when you are enabling a man who is actively perpetuating an environment that puts my life in imminent danger.
For so long, we’ve had to endure the moral grandstanding of Republicans who would often quote one of their conservative heroes, Edmund Burke: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” Now instead of admitting that ol’ Edmund is screaming at them from the grave, they want to gaslight us into thinking that we’re the ones who are out of line for pointing out their moral negligence.
Black folks and people of color don’t have a choice as to whether racism is a deal-breaker or not. We pay the cost of American racism with our very lives.
You are entitled to make your own decisions and choices about what you will stand for and not stand for, but we’re not going to pretend that we don’t notice the role, wittingly or not, that you play in perpetuating an environment of racism and white supremacy. Sins of omission are sins nonetheless.
And in the end, whether evil triumphs or not, those so-called good men will have to join ol’ Edmund in the grave and give an accounting of why they did nothing. And we will remember the words of our enemies (how can we forget), but most disappointingly, we will be haunted by the silence of our friends.
Kojo Asamoa-Caesar’s passion is to build communities where everyone can achieve their highest potential. He believes education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world, and he wakes up and works hard every day to do just that.