Written by Melody Brooks, Contributor
In the current political climate, the term “resistance” has become quite popular by progressives who oppose the current administration’s rhetoric and policies. There have been numerous protests and a flood of social media criticism from people who vow to resist the Trump administration until he leaves office, but the movement lacks depth and long-term solutions. From observing the backlash, one could think that racism begins and ends with this presidency. We know better.
This era has encouraged me to take a deeper look into history and where we go from here. When we make the connections between the detention camps at the border and jails that function as modern debtors’ prisons, we start to see systems that have always existed in this country. The systems we have now are nothing new, just different. We need to start with truth telling – what lead to this moment? Who are we? White supremacists and their policies are prevalent in U.S. politics. Segregation, the “War on Drugs,” and every version of law and order politics have created a criminal justice system that targets racial minorities, especially Black people. Let us not forget that this country that has had Klan leaders run for office and receive hundreds of thousands of votes. When we acknowledge that the United States has always disenfranchised Black Americans and never stopped stealing Native land and resources, we arrive at the proper context for action.
A systemic approach to justice is imperative. Race and racism where once just ideas, now they are embedded in institutions. If we want to loosen the grip that white supremacy has on this country we have to do serious anti-racist work with a focus on equity. We should resist the urge to oversimplify our problems and start questioning the racial disparities we see in housing, education, criminal justice, finance, and every other sector. Resistance should be about freedom not oppression in a nicer package. We have to discuss what freedom means beyond this administration and champion what we are for. This is where the real work happens.