I have recently heard at least a couple people comment on how Obama’s time in office has deepened the racial divide in the U.S.. The first time I heard this, I was taken aback, the same way I am taken aback by anyone I know stating they are supporting Trump and offering reasons why.
What they do not understand is that the racial divide has always been there – but it did not filter into their protected lives until it made mainstream media. There has always been a degree of racism in our country ranging from the highest during slavery to the now. Racism exists – not any worse now than eight years ago – and I would venture to guess that it is better now than eight years ago even as people admit to their varying degrees, of how a black man has served as president.
The “divide” that people see is the empowerment given to individuals and groups that are influenced by the Obama presidential years and the presidential contest playing out before us.
Empowerment has been given to the voice of the black man, the black woman, the family and friends of the black citizens who are mistreated, singled-out, put in prison and murdered by individuals paid to protect its citizens. Whereas pre-Obama reactions to these practices did not receive the open publicity and media attention they do now, not as many people were made aware and it didn’t touch their day to day lives. The empowerment of having a black man as president, that somehow there is understanding “from the top” that these atrocities are happening, has led to a movement to call them out.
Empowerment has been given to fear-ridden individuals, white individuals and groups from the outspoken rhetoric of a presidential candidate. This candidate is firing up a group who is now free to openly admit their racial bias and fear of other-than-themselves. Supporting a candidate who assuages their fear of immigrants, black people, women-in-power and/or change in general, gives them a voice to air a stance that negates constitutional laws of governance and equality, not to mention human dignity, respect and compassion. I remain optimistic that the militia groups speaking of patriotism and threatening a civil war are a small percentage of this group.
The current “divide” we see is media-fed, public and on the forefront – not because it exists more now than 8 years ago but because now it is loud and proud and in our media streams.
When I see a “Blue Lives Matter” sign – I see someone defending a group that we all believe “matter” – it needs no defending to anyone. So my interpretation becomes “Blue Lives Matter More” which is wrong. ALL lives matter the same. “Black Lives Matter” asks for that equality. No one is asking for black lives to be considered MORE than any other lives – but to be considered the same, equal.
Anyone believing that black lives ARE equal, can benefit from reading statistics and researching the facts. “Equal Rights” are not found in law, they are found in each one of us and the dignity and respect we offer to our fellow man or woman, no matter his/her race, religion or skin color.