Waging Today’s Racial Struggle
In a 1961 address, Dr. King spoke about the student movement at the time, “[There is no denying] the fact that we confront a crisis in race relations in the United States” (A Testament of Hope, 1986, pp. 43-53). That was then, yet the current racial climate begs a question that Dr. King posed in his speech to consider: “How will the struggle be waged” (p. 44). I add, how are we, you, and I doing in 2022? More importantly, what efforts am I willing and prepared to make amid a divided nation? Where and when should I promote my efforts from this racial struggle?
I tend to have hope beyond what I see or what I think I know. I’m quite cognizant, however, that life isn’t utopian nor solely about me. Weighing the questions to pursue my commitment for human dignity, I am first struck with my personal beliefs and faith: It’s the Golden Rule; it’s loving people as I would myself; it’s caring for the beauty of nature; and it’s a tenderness for animals. I can love and care for my animals; gather to enjoy the love of my close circle of friends and family; sense the wonder of a warm evening breeze; and marvel at the beauty of a flower. But, do I advocate to respect and honor the gift of life and extend dignity for the marginalized (LGBTQ)?
Racial inequities pose a paradox that is uncomfortable for many, especially Whites. In Robin Diangelo’s White Fragility, Why It’s so Hard for White People to Talk About Racism, the author hones her white experience. At issue is ignoring racism which she poists as unacceptable (2018, p. xv). I know many do not welcome Diangelo making money at the expense of Black oppression. I agree, but she is accurate. Racism cannot be ignored. How To Be An Anti Racist by Ibram X. Kendi–an African American professor, writer, and Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University—offers concepts to dismantle the racism (2019).
As a Latinx, I shied away from calling out racism because I grew up in the era of the melting pot society or assimilation into the dominate culture. To be honest, I really didn’t give thought to racial disparities until I became an adult. Since George Floyd’s murder, however, a cataclysmpic shift occurred: The casualness of Mr. Floyd’s death did something to my soul. I had to listen no matter how uncomfortable I felt. I sensed an urgency to extend beyond my empathy. Using social media and dialogue with my close friends and family, I honored and wrote about human dignity. I don’t write about color. I write about humanity. I journey to work with the power of story about systemic racism. I choose to carry a new message for equality and justice.
How we move forward seems an insurmountable feat, yet doable through mutuality. “If such a [fair] world is created in our lifetime, it will be done in the United States by . . . [African Americans / people of color] and white people of good will. It will be accomplished by persons who have the courage to put an end to suffering by willingly suffering themselves rather than inflict suffering upon others” through racism (1986, p. 61). Personal pain often produces peaceful pleasure if we allow ourselves to traverse through the process of speaking out against racism.
As I relearn overlooked history, I reframe and recalibrate my thinking. I continue to share words and actions on social media platforms. Waging the struggle for racial justice and equality in the 21st century begins each day. I hope you might join in the conversation as we wrestle with Dr. King’s question and lead within our spheres of influence. Even if we do not agree politically or philosophically, urgency cries out for social justice. Our interconnectedness might just be the creative tension that is needed to move our voices toward a more just and equal nation.