By Samantha Pree-Stinson
There has been a lot of talk lately about institutions that assist Black people, such as NAACP. There are various award shows and TV channels that recognize or focus on Blacks. I can completely understand the concept of why someone would say that these things further segregate us.
However, just because that is what people are saying does not make it true. Those who believe that focus on African Americans create segregation do not understand the history behind why these institutions exist.
Black History Month, for example, is about the preservation of culture and making sure that the accomplishments of Black males and females are not forgotten. Black history is and should be part of American history but it is not.
Proof of this is in how history is taught in high school. Students have to take a class that focuses on the history of Black and other people of color as an elective. Contributions of people of color are not taught as part of the whole history of the United States. History is segregated and I believe that is what leads to animosity, “White guilt,” and other social issues.
No matter what color your skin is, your ethnicity, or religion, this part of history belongs to us all. This is important to remember not only because we want to avoid repeating history but also for social context.
A lot of what we see today is typical of what we saw in the past to varying degrees. Instead of water and dogs, it is stun guns, Tasers, and profiling. Instead of hangings, it is mysterious deaths in prisons or holding cells. Instead of public murders it is planting evidence to support the officer’s rationale for murder. All of these things are not drummed up to cause issues and create animosity, they are really happening.
The other sad part is that the victims are often blamed: “He should have just…” or “She had a history of crime.” What kind of society do we live in when the victim is dragged through the mud without a complete investigation?
In order to truly heal, we have to start listening and stop talking over one another. Feelings are real and indisputable. No one can tell anyone what they feel is wrong or that they are not feeling it.
If we start to listen and look at the context behind what is upsetting people, we can start to put plans into action and make a difference. Some of what needs to be done is within the communities that we live in. If you live in an all-Black community you should be one of the main ones involved in lifting that community up, to make sure that jobs are available, schools are on par with the schools in other areas of the city, affordable housing meets code, and communities are safe.
Those who are entrusted with keeping communities safe must be invested in the communities but it does not stop there. There are a lot of people that pro-Black is anti-White, but pro-Black is not a negative term and it is not used in opposition of anyone. It means that we support and love each other and are dedicated to keeping our traditions and history alive so that it is not lost. There is nothing anti-anything about it.
And you do not have to be Black to be pro-Black, either. It’s the same concept as pro-choice. You do not have to be a woman to support it. We have to work together, with each other and with our equity allies. We cannot complain about segregation and then be involved in it ourselves. Diversity and equity are important for any community to thrive and prosper.
Samantha Pree-Stinson lives in Northeast Minneapolis.