When speech becomes text, hate-speech can become hate-tweets.

Yes! Once again racism is at the forefront of our Nations dialogue. Not race. Not abstract expressionism one has to guess at, like people hanging empty chairs from tree limbs. No, my friends. For the first time in, I don’t know…four years (?), we’re getting a deluge of blatant, anti-black speech and text from people all over the nation.

These people are afraid of the world that changed around them while they were busy fighting against that change with everything inside them. And, as Rachel Maddow pointed out in a brilliant post-election delivery, those people thought their candidate would win. They were bamboozled in a sense. They bet against progress and now they fear some justice from on-high.

Perhaps this is it. Not that justice was the intent of the prevailing electorate, but that this is deserving of a group who would be so singular in their mindset about what this country should look like and how it should be run.

We keep hearing about demographic changes. They are as real as “the struggle” for equality. America is “browning.” With that shift comes the shift in power dynamic. And if racism is about anything, it’s about power.

Now that the citizens of this country (a large number of whom are black and brown) have elected a brown person for a second time, and those who perceive that shift as something negative are reverting to their subconscious defenses: racist speech.

I use “subconscious” because I don’t believe a majority of people who are now spewing tripe actually engage their own racism on a daily basis. Americans are subject to programming from various sources, and some of those sources (parents, religious groups, media) are inherently biased in some way. When those biases are meshed with the complexities of our history in this country, we get more outrage than we’ve seen since Casey Anthony got off.

Thought I was gonna mention O.J., didn’t ya? Dammit, I just did! Anyway…

Because dealing with racist ideologies is so hard that most people would rather try calculus with their eyes closed. Chances for dialogue come up and are brushed under the rug because we haven’t been taught how- as citizens with particular histories- we are supposed to unpack these moments and grow from them.

Something as simple as welfare provides a great example of history vs. perception. The system that was enacted primarily assisted white women, war widows I believe, but now assists a plethora of people. The perception, however, is that welfare is mainly abused by young black women who figured out how to game the system.

Sadly, that’s an easy thing for all kinds of Americans to accept because of the programming inherent in our culture. Due to the vicious legacy of white supremacy, many don’t give a second thought to whether the negatives presented about blacks represent a reality. Layer this with internalized racism and one finds even blacks are all to eager to back up the fiction created about us.

This is why I can’t really be mad at these people who have been subjected to programming with racist undertones their whole lives. Of course, they’re going to be upset! Of course, they’re going to shout, text, and tweet “nigger” until they’re blue in the face or their thumbs break off. It’s all they have to fall back on.

And it doesn’t help that both sides have been telling their constituents and their viewers “If the other guy wins, you’re f*cked.” That’s not an actual quote by the way…I don’t think.

Now we’re saddled with a large group of people who’s racism has been brought to the forefront, and the psychic violence has begun. What are we to do?

Engage.

This is, once again, something we have to face head on. We can not continue to pretend like people don’t feel this way, nor can anyone pretend that these outbursts are valid. I will not for one moment argue freedom of speech. I will, however, argue that there is no freedom from responsibility, for either side. Racist speakers must be held accountable, and the enlightened among us can not shirk from the grand opportunity to dismantle ignorance in a way that many only wish they could: by talking.

But we’re so afraid of hurting feelings, stepping on toes, revealing our true motives or discovering another’s. We can’t be afraid of “the truth.” “The truth” is the reason why the people who have been lied to are losing their minds now. People are flipping out because they weren’t given (or didn’t seek out) the facts on the ground. And the facts on the ground predicted the changes in our country for years. That doesn’t mean Obama’s election was a certainty. It means something like it was, and is, an inevitability.

It happened once. Must have been a mistake. It happened again. Oh, sweet, white Jesus…this must be real!

Well, it is. And people who aren’t white, or male, or heterosexual will continue to get elected to public office. And if this country can survive itself, we will see more of them in the Oval Office. Then we’ll get to deal with ideas about the effects of menstruation on U.S. foreign policy, or if our military will be required to do dance numbers instead of drills.

Foolishness abounds, but so does hope. Isms are prevalent, but so is acceptance. For every riot, there is a peace rally. For every lie there exists a truth to undo it. The old axiom holds. The truth will set you free. But it seems incomplete without the addition that has recently become so popular. Yes, the truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

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