For the greater part of three decades, the Republican Party, conservatives of all sorts, and their corporate news outlets have focused much of their efforts on gaslighting the Black community by denying the existence of their grievances.
In this effort, everyone from conservative radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh in the early 1990’s to political commentator Ben Shapiro in the late 2010’s have effectively denied the existence of institutional/systemic racism and have actively worked to belittle or to deny the continued and expressed experiences of the Black community in this country.
It didn’t matter how many statistics were thrown at these corporate pundits proving wealth, education and health disparities, or videos proving the existence of differential policing and elevated incarceration rates, the Black community’s grievances were purposely ignored and laundered towards right-wing scapegoats charged erroneously with “riling up” Black people to “vote Democrat” and “accept handouts.” Consequently, social pressure in the Black community continued to accrue until one too many Black people were murdered. Now they respond with justified outrage.
Instead of accepting responsibility for helping fan the flames of social discontent, conservatives have now opted to indulge in critiques of “riots,” claiming that they “hurt their cause” and “won’t bring justice to George Floyd.”
In light of these misguided critiques, my message to conservatives is simple: Shut the f**k up.
You do not get to comment on the current reactions you have created.
You do not get to tell Black people that they should channel their grievances differently when they cannot even kneel without being chastised and ordered to leave the country.
You do not get to quote Martin Luther King, Jr. as if you were an ally.
You do not get to lecture Black people on how they are “destroying” the community you segregated them to, or how their actions will not resurrect the fallen.
You do not get to talk about “fixing the problem” that you fail to acknowledge even exists.
It took lighting a city on fire for you to notice the grievances of the Black community, and yet, you have the audacity to comment on what must be done.
The only things you are permitted consist of the following: accepting responsibility for gaslighting the Black community, listening to the Black community, and ensuring concrete steps are taken towards ending differential policing and structural racism at large.
Anything that falls short of this is a reinforcement of systemic racism and will not be tolerated.
A diasporrican in solidarity
Jenaro Alberto Abraham II is a PhD student at the Department of Political Science at Tulane University. He tweets from @JenaroAbraham.