by Pearlette Springer
Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace
“Whoever is without love does not know God, for God is love.” – 1 John 4:8
In the past several days, I have read several statements and articles regarding the deliberate killing of Americans on American soil in Buffalo, New York. Yes, people of African descent are Americans too. Truth be told, some of our ancestors were here before most white Europeans. Unlike the white Europeans, very few of us came over of our own volition. To be exact, white Europeans armed with guns, whips, and whatever came into our space. Sound familiar?
They targeted dark-skinned people of African descent. Sound familiar?
Tied us up, dragged us to a chapel, baptized us Christian (and some Catholic), chained us to the bottom of a boat, and shipped us to the Americas – South America, Caribbean, Central America, then finally North America.
These white Europeans intentionally separated us from our families and friends. Sound familiar?
Worked us until some of us died. Raped us to replenish the laborers.
And beat, hung, and burned us to death if we did not comply. Sound familiar?
All based on our skin color.
Oh… wow… that is right… this is still going on in America.
Trayvon Martin was executed in the streets for defending his right to walk home at night. Michael Brown was executed in the streets for being… oh yeah… a person of African descent. George Floyd was executed in the streets in full view of a crowd because…
So, what is the difference between the executioners of George Floyd, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Buffalo, New York? The number of Black people that were killed at the same time.
What is the commonality? White males were the shooter. Black males and females died.
Now people will argue that the person that killed Trayvon Martin was Hispanic. Let me clarify… the killer was a Hispanic male who not only identified as white but received all the privileges of being white, especially after he murdered Trayvon Martin.
In April of 1999, two white male teenagers shook the U.S. to its core when they premeditated and executed a plan to kill students at Columbine High School. Fourteen people died. Twenty-three years and hundreds of mass shootings later, white American males are still premeditating executions. Over the last several years, the change has been the narrowing of its target. Less and less the killing of everyone in the room, more now of Black and Brown bodies.
Does it not sound like we have a white male problem in the U.S.?
There has been lots of discussion on banning critical race theory from schools in the last two years. Why? Because of its effect on white males. But… does not the ‘great replacement theory’ affirm critical race theory? Is not white male domination the cause of racism, genderism, fright-ism, and every other -ism in this country?
Yeah… I am angry. Fiery anger.
My first remembrance of anti-Black racism happened in a predominantly Black neighborhood at a public school in the 7th grade. My son’s first anti-Black racism experience occurred in kindergarten. Again, in a predominantly Black neighborhood, at a Catholic school.
I no longer feel the shock. Nor do I live in denial that it will not happen to me or my family. It is our lived reality.
The lack of action of white people with good intentions and their need to sympathize makes it harder and harder to come to grips and move forward in the grief process. We do not need your sympathy. We need action. We need you to stop your sons from targeting and killing us. We have enough problems.
That is what I want white people to do. I want them to stand up in a public space… the town square… the pulpit of every church… every park in every city, in the Senate/House, Congress, in the jails and prisons… on television and the radio, and in newsprint… and tell your sons to stop targeting and killing people who look like me.
Stop making it difficult for Black people to succeed.
Take your foot off the neck of that Black person that you refuse to promote or acknowledge their contribution.
I want you to say that white male domination must stop, it needs to stop, and it stops today.
I know that is not going to happen. Not even from the good-intentioned white people. Our humanity desires power and authority and control over other human beings. And Black people are easily targeted by the color of their skin. Black people are an easy target because of the 500-plus years of dehumanizing, criminalizing tactics that have yielded results that will last for centuries.
Listen up brothers and sisters of goodwill…
Listen up Asians, Hispanics, Latino/as, Native Americans, white women…
When they have finally broken us… When they finally bring people of African descent to their knees…
They will, believe me… They will come after you in full force.
May God have mercy on your souls.
Actions You Can Take:
- View the movie, A Place at the Table: Six African Americans on the path to sainthood
- Learn about the history of Buffalo, NY, and take a tour through this link
- Learn the Black history in your town, city, county, and state. Take a tour through the Black community.
- In your church, go to the pulpit and ask the congregation to talk to their sons about white male domination and privilege.
- At least once a quarter, grocery shop in a predominantly Black community. If there is no store, begin the petition for a store to be opened.
Pearlette Springer is the chair of Pax Christi USA Anti-Racism Team and a Pax Christi USA Ambassador of Peace. She also works as the coordinator of Black Catholic Ministry for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis. She is presently completing her dissertation on the religious coping strategies of Black males.