For years now, I have witnessed both coffee shop and Twitter arguments over social happenings as it applies to race. African-Americans unite over the fact that their is a prejudice within the American justice system: witnessing the wrongful execution of Troy Davis and the release of Casey Anthony. We often relate the inequality to the color of our skin, seeing as facts presented in court do not withstand a chance. In Davis’ case, for example, he was convicted after several witnesses attested to his guilt, but almost all of those witnessed recanted their statements and admitted to perjury and bribery by the police. In Anthony’s case, she was held throughout the investigation of her daughter’s disappearance and death, but was acquitted because of ‘lack of evidence’. Situations like these stir up our silenced, and often repressed feelings, about race in America (and especially the South).
On Sunday, December 1st, as we welcomed the end of the year, Twitter took to the latest trend “#RacismEndedWhen”. The purpose: the 58th Anniversary of Rosa Parks’ movement in the Montgomery bus boycotts. The initial tweet: “@GOP: Today we remember Rosa Parks bold stand and her role in ending racism.” Attached lies a picture with a quote from Parks herself reading, “You must never be fearful about what you are doing when it is right.” Almost instantly the replies to the Twitter responsible for ‘updates from the Republican National Committee’ streamed in and the hashtag trend “#RacismEndedWhen” became a Top Trend. Among some of the answers was, “…when we got a Black President” and “Reagan solved it”. However, it got me thinking… racism never ended. Perhaps the manager of this account is defining racism as laws that single out a race, but calling the START of such an indefinite task the end of a long struggle was not the best way to commemorate a major accomplishment of the Civil Rights Movement
As a region, the South gets hit the hardest with the racism card. With many of our state capitols and major cities being monumental, tourists from all over always wonder if there’s still nooses on the sides of roads in Mississippi or if they’ll be looked at sideways in some parts of the city. Truthfully, I must acknowledge that both are probably true, not because we failed to evolve after we lost the Civil War, but because we all act off of learned behaviors. Not every city is a melting pot, nor are they all evenly distributed. However, racism persists in our workforce, marketing, and educational settings based on what we allow. Racism has become such a large issue because we have gotten into the habit of deciding what other people deserve for them, instead of asking. For example, Hispanics are often used for non-contracting jobs because it benefits the employer. We see it as us giving them a job, but water down the fact that they are too often being underpaid. I guess you could say #RacismEndedWhen we stopped lynchings and began organized suppression. Otherwise, there’s no such thing.