E. Faye Williams: Discomfort

by Dr. E. Faye Williams, Esq.

(TriceEdneyWire.com)—I believe that the TRUTH will always be revealed. It may not be as we want or expect, but TRUTH will overcome the attempts of those who would conceal it.

Most, who witnessed the civil rights struggles of the 1950’s and 1960’s, offer the fact that until White America witnessed and grew uncomfortable with the brutality and violence perpetrated against the “children of the movement” by the reactionary racists of the period, there was no true movement in the direction of social justice in America. Scenes of the beatings at the Edmund Pettis Bridge and memories of children being hosed in Alabama would not allow America to rationalize the existing social inequities which prevailed. The televised, visual TRUTH of the injustice which enveloped the African American community created White discomfort which led to a modicum of action.

Dr. King’s excursion for housing justice into the racist hellhole that was then Chicago and the sadistic reaction to his efforts in the Gage Park area of the city mirrored a national resistance to social mobility. Yet the violent reaction to his efforts created the White discomfort that eventually caused a national reflection on the implications of fair housing on social progress.

The recent acknowledgment of the 1918 lynching of (pregnant) Mary Turner, the Red Summer of 1919, the Tulsa Massacre, and the publication of the 1619 Project have all caused a renewal of the discomfort engendered by this nation’s Original Sin. The only difference is that the resulting White discomfort in these new revelations is causing a reaction of ignorance and a demand to remain ignorant of the truth.

America’s history is replete with White violence against African Americans, Indigenous People, Asians and other persons of color, yet there is a movement to fabricate this nation’s White history into a kinder and gentler lie. This is done to prevent White discomfort. An (abbreviated) example can be found on the homepage of the Governor of Florida:

WILDWOOD, Fla.—Today, Governor Ron DeSantis announced the Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees (W.O.K.E.) Act. The Stop W.O.K.E. Act will be the strongest legislation of its kind in the nation and will take on both corporate wokeness and Critical Race Theory. Today’s proposal builds on actions Governor DeSantis has already taken to ban Critical Race Theory and the New York Times’ 1619 Project in Florida’s schools.”

DeSantis states: “In Florida we are taking a stand against the state-sanctioned racism that is critical race theory. We won’t allow Florida tax dollars to be spent teaching kids to hate our country or to hate each other.” Like his counterpart in Virginia (Youngkin), DeSantis demonstrates a misunderstanding of CRT and equates it with the TRUTHFUL presentation of historical information.

It is understood that the ostensible purpose of this historical revisionism is to prevent the discomfort of Whites, but what results can be expected for people of color?

I offer that the efforts of these Republican Governors are designed to leave people of color ignorant of their histories and accepting that their status in this country is a result of the efforts of their ancestors. It disconnects people of color from an understanding of historical influences that limit their social progress. Most importantly, it makes Whites comfortable with any argument that refutes their responsibility to take a stand against discrimination.

My only admonishment to those who would take this course of escapism is: You cannot be held responsible for the injustice that precedes you, but you ARE responsible for ignoring and taking no action against the injustice that supports and sustains you.

(Dr. E. Faye Williams is National President of the National Congress of Black Women, Inc.)

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