I just wanna say this because it boggles my mind.
Racism is more than just one guy calling another guy a bad name because of his hue.
Racism is the power that insult hurled has because of the history and because of the institutionalization that makes that power possible.
Racism is 400 years of black people allowed to be owned and another 100 years of black people allowed to be sorely mistreated. It’s a society that would not allow black people to learn how to read, to dine with the rest of us, to worship with the rest of us, to live with the rest of us. These conditions did not happen between individual people. These conditions happened because powerful institutions colluded to make it so, on purpose.
So here’s the fact that I wish all people could understand about racism: Black people cannot be racists.
Let me say this again in another way so that you might understand it better: If you are a black person in this country, you cannot possibly be a racist.
Because when white people mount up with the armor of racism, it’s a powerful mace indeed that they grasp, and it’s one that no African-American can even reach out to touch. Sorry, white people, but “honky” just isn’t drenched with hundreds of years of oppression and terror like that other word is.
So. The next time you hear Buchanan or any of these other jive turkeys on the television, and they’re accusing Shirley Sherrod—whom I am officially applying today to adopt as my third Grandma—or the NAACP or the Rev. Al Sharpton or whomever of being a “racist?”
They’re putting their stupid white foot into their stupid white mouth.