So lovely to see the city where I live in the national news! What a surprise it’s because of a racially-motivated crime! (Do you detect sarcasm, because I keep having to wipe it off my keyboard.) Have you wondered what the average local citizen thinks? Well I am here, as an average local citizen, to do an FAQ for you.
1. Well you’re all racist and backwards down there anyway, right?
I know it’s hard to believe, but no, we are not. Yes, we have racists like anywhere else, and yes they tend to be more vocal and in positions of power down south, but many natives do not think this way, and many of us down here (like myself) are Northern transplants. Being Northern by blood doesn’t mean non-racist by any means, but we are not all backwards Confederate-flag waving, cousin-humping bumpkins down here. Truly. Promise. Also, in this area there are many immigrants, both legal and otherwise, who have different perspectives and are also victimized by authority…..but that’s for another post.
2. Do you think this crime was racially motivated?
Absolutely, and if anyone tries to deny that, they are either kidding themselves or are flat-out racists. It shouldn’t come as a shock to anyone that the south has a huge issue with race, and modern times has only made it less outspoken in public. We all know actions speak louder than words, and if Walter Scott had been white, do you think he would have been shot? (The answer is no. There is no other option. No.)
3. How is Charleston going to react to this incident?
Surprising everyone including myself, the officer who killed Mr. Scott has been arrested and charged. He will face the court, and if he is found not-quilty….well….in my eyes they better have a legit heapload of evidence to back that up; at this time there is no reason to find him anything BUT guilty.
There are memorials and marches ongoing, and currently the city government is doing the right thing. “Currently” is the key word, stay tuned.
4. How can we fix racism in the south?
The easy answer is education. We have Black history month once a year, and barely any in schools. When African-Americans are not represented as equally contributing to our nation in school, how can (some) adults then see them as equals? Unless they research on their own…..and how many adults do you know that rationally say “hmmm….I better look into this topic I am unsure of before I form an opinion…..”……..they are going to only pick up on and believe in how the media projects different races. For example, a quick scan of television would reveal: Asian: smart; Middle Eastern: dangerous; Black: criminals; Whites: over-privileged. Stereotypes influence how humans think of others more than most of us would like to admit.
To fix racism, we have to ensure equal opportunity in EVERYTHING. No, that is not a reality in our world yet. Only when we are all given equal opportunities on this planet will we be judged by our actions instead of our skin. So, yes, it’s a damn-near impossible goal. We have a long way to go with that, and the best way to see it come to fruition is to accelerate the process. Teach our kids in school and at home that we are earthlings in this together, that all races contribute to society, and never deny that injustice has been done in the past and those cruel injustices reverberate today and still effect people’s lives.
It’s quite utopian, I admit. It can’t happen overnight, but that’s no reason to give up the dream.
5. Are you annoyed with all the media hoopla?
Yes and no. In one way, the overhyped media can cause one to become numb to the stories. It’s so in your face everywhere that you tune it out and become annoyed even if at first you were glued to the updates and details. In another way, the media attention means the issue will be big enough (and it should be) to not be dropped or swept away. It will stay in the mind and on the tongues of citizens. When it comes to this type of situation, this is more important than any Kardashian and should rightly have precedence over more trivial news. Racial violence effects everyone in America and we need dialogue on it. It’s real and happens every day and its been ignored for much too long.
6. What’s next for the average citizen of North Charleston?
We’re getting on with our lives, work, and families, but those of us with an iota of reality are increasingly wary of authority figures. We know power is abused and it will only get worse if we don’t take a stand. We know the “good guys” in each bunch, but we are aware of corruption at every level, and honestly? We feel a bit powerless to stop it. We need our local government behind us, not against us, or we will not feel safe. The average citizen truly hopes this will be a turning point for change in our society, and not just another lesson in lip-service bark-but-no-bite politics.