The Naked Truth/Jamala Rogers
Warning! The U.S. is Hazardous to
Black Life
Jamala Rogers
The totally predictable events in Charlottesville, Virginia ripped another scab off the post-racial wound that was
exposed with the election of Barack Obama. The uninformed, white electorate who bought into trump’s claim to
“Make America Great Again” are now angry. Angry that the new administration hasn’t re-enslaved Black people,
put bare-foot and pregnant women in the kitchen and built a wall to keep anyone darker than the orange
president out.

Since the trump election, a tsunami of hate-motivated, mean-spirited, anti-Black racist incidents have occurred
in St. Louis, in Missouri and in the U.S. It reminds me of a favorite saying of my mother: This country is going to
hell in a hand-basket. To that I reply, we’re already in hell!

The NAACP’s travel advisory for African Americans coming to or through Missouri could’ve easily been
expanded to be a cautionary reminder for Black folks living in the U.S.
Coming off the third anniversary of Mike Brown’s murder by former Ferguson cop Darren Wilson should give us pause. Are young, Black and
Brown people any safer today? Are white people supporting racial justice safe?

In Missouri, Black drivers are 75 times more likely to be stopped by police than white drivers. We’ve been collecting the data for years with no
abatement of the problem.


Black students already face disproportionate suspension and expulsion rates. The Republican-dominated General Assembly felt the need to
add another criminalizing element in public schools by making it a felony for students who end up in a fight and someone gets hurt.

Living in certain zip codes in this country can be dangerous to Black folks’ health and wealth. That’s whether it’s 63106 in St. Louis or 53206 in
Milwaukee.

Whether we’re talking about racism in policing, housing, voting, employment, education, health care and all other areas that affect quality of
life, there are anti-Black practices, policies and laws that continue to erode the lives and life-styles of citizens.

The NAACP was correct in bringing national attention to these practices, policies and laws, centering on the most recent one signed into law by
Republican Governor Eric Grietens.

The NAACP’s advisory is the first action of its kind in the history of the civil rights group. The NAACP advises “African American travelers,
visitors and Missourians to pay attention and exercise extreme caution when traveling throughout the state.” What I find implicit in the alarm is
that there is no place to hide for Black folks and no real relief for us when we are wronged.

The whole damn country has become a dangerous place for Black and Brown people. trump has spewed out misogynous, racist and
Islamophobic rants and provided political cover for those who violently acted against others. Acts of racist domestic terrorism like
Charlottesville, VA will only increase with frequency and intensity. We can bet on that like we can bet on trump’s daily tweeting.

What people in this country should be real clear about by now is that fighting for social justice and racial equity are not spectator pastimes.
Because we must deal with the racist injustices daily, Black folks stay in perpetual defense mode. We need to go to the next strategic mode of
struggle.

Blacks shouldn’t have to go it alone. White people have a colossal stake in this fight for sanity and humanity. After all, this capitalist system
was designed to ensure and protect their white privileges. White people must aggressively take the leadership in protesting racist acts like
those of “Unite the Right” and racist symbols like Confederate statutes. Those protests must also be taken to the corporate board rooms, to the
legislative halls and to any other space where racist schemes are being hatched to disenfranchise people of color, over-incarcerate them or
deny their basic human rights.

When people are passive, indifferent or cowardly, our fragile democracy pays the price. How heavy a price depends on how serious and
decisive citizens are in defending those democratic ideals. Right now, racist bigots are calling the nation out on the commitment to its values.
We need to be strategic and steadfast in our organized opposition to the growing fascist tendencies swirling around us.

Let’s not get it twisted. trump is not good for America and America is hazardous to people of color and poor folks. Most of us in Missouri didn’t
need the NAACP to warn us. We know all too well that Ferguson is America, and Missouri is America.