When I was a little boy, I grew up in the town of Pulaski, Tennessee. This town has the misfortune of being the place where the Ku Klux Klan started. Every year, a group of Klansmen would come to the town square and march in circles touting their white supremacy. Most of the town just shut down for that day and people largely ignored the brazen ignorance displayed by this group of racist, insecure white men. Looking back on this now, I believe people ignoring the marching Klansmen was indicative of something that actually continues today. All too often, the social wounds of racism continue to fester because people do look the other way. By turning a blind eye, particularly as white people, it is very easy to say “I am not like those racist people marching” and go about our day. However, by doing this, we become complicit in allowing the hate and division to fester. Now, as an adult I realize as a white middle class male that I do have a sense of privilege in this world. With this realization comes a sense of responsibility to support justice for others. At its core, racism and other forms of hatred and discrimination stem from the same thing. They stem from one group of people attempting to subjugate another group of people. Now, people seek power over other people for a variety of reasons, but with racism in particular, the sole purpose of seeking this power is to have an outlet for hatred. Racism allows unevolved people to blame someone else for their problems. It affords the ignorant and those lacking in self awareness the opportunity to project the things inside that they hate about themselves on to another person and it allows for the insecure to feel a sense of perverse power and control. By its nature racism is violent as it stems from a deep, dark, and carnal place within the human condition. Because of this, it cannot be solved with violence. A person must “evolve” out of having a racism mentality. Peaceful protest is important. For each Klan March there should be a counter protest; not to be violent, but to be a face of support for those being oppressed. Every time someone says something racially inappropriate or discriminatory, rather than being silent and letting it go we should make it clear that we are not “ok” with that type of dialogue. We mustn’t turn a blind eye or simply accept things as they are. We must participate purposefully in assisting those who are actively held back by society. We must search for ways to educate the ignorant and to shrink the division. We must seek out ways to recognize and validate the commonalities of humanity that exist in all of us. Racism is not overcome by huge marches or by wars in the street. It is fought by each one of us and our actions on a daily basis. Each day we make choices. Those choices can dehumanize another or they can validate the beauty of that person’s existence. We must take responsibility. Even though I am not marching in a Klan parade, I am still part of the problem if I remain silent in the face of injustice. My hope is that all of us moving forward would be more sensitive to the subtle cues of injustice around us and address them rather than turning a blind eye. Those of us that have some privilege must use it to empower those less privileged. Only by doing this can we beat back the tides of racism and discrimination and move things in the direction of justice and true equality.-

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