Dear Kentucky GOP, Stop Using The Fear of Black People To Keep You In Office

Sep 15, 2021 at 10:41 am
Protesters raised their fists in solidarity during the Breonna Taylor protests last year.
Protesters raised their fists in solidarity during the Breonna Taylor protests last year.

Over the weekend, I watched an exchange with USA Today reporter Phillip Bailey and the Louisville GOP about an email sent by the Kentucky GOP titled, “Does Democrat Craig Greenberg Stand with Greg Fischer on Critical Race Theory?” This is a tried and true method of the Republican Party — use racism to scare people into voting for them, but I can guarantee, if you were to ask all the members of the Kentucky GOP to define critical race theory, they couldn’t answer the question. (These are the same people that question science during a pandemic. Reflect on that.)

Critical race theory is a straightforward concept. It is a practice that seeks to understand the role of race and racism in society and how racism impacts systems, particularly the legal system. Critical race theory examines social, cultural and legal issues primarily related to race and racism. One tenet of critical race theory is that racism and disparate racial outcomes result from complex, changing and often subtle social and institutional dynamics rather than explicit and intentional prejudices of individuals. I have said this many times, and I understand this is difficult for some people to fully grasp, but racism impacts every system in America.

Many people don’t want to think of racism in that manner, because it is easier to point to a person and say, “If we just get rid of that person, we will eradicate racism.” For instance, after the 2020 election, when Joe Biden was elected, many thought all would be right with the world because they saw Donald Trump as the source of racism. However, we have clearly seen removing one person doesn’t end racism. You have to view racism as the Hydra — a monster with many heads. While many attempted to defeat the Hydra by cutting off one of its heads, they failed to understand if you cut off one head, two more grow in its place. They had to completely cut off the Hydra’s main head. That is how I view racism. Removing one person doesn’t make a difference because racism is baked into every single system — banking, housing, education, policing, etc. So, to truly impact racism, we cannot focus on one person; we must focus on racism as a whole and understand how racism has played a part across systems in America.

Critical race theory is not about saying all White people are evil. Many of those in power know that, but they understand they can toss out these phrases that they have worked to place negativity around, and their base will fully support them. Critical race theory has become the Willie Horton issue of the upcoming elections. It is a big, bad theory that many elected officials cannot explain. Still, they know their constituents immediately associate the concept of critical race theory with being Black, and in America, that is often enough to shift the results of an election.

That is why the Kentucky GOP sent the email. They are betting on racism working in their favor because it often does. What they really want to say is, do you want your children learning about Black people? Do you really want your children to learn about the true history of this country? Do you really want your children to know that white people were not the victors but, in fact, victimized Indigenous people, enslaved Black people and committed some of the most heinous crimes against humanity? But, that is the history of this nation. That is what happened. There is no getting around it. You cannot change it. It happened, and what happened in this country occurred. I know it may not feel good. People may not want to accept it. They may not like it, but history is simply history. Period.

When Bailey posted his comments, Louisville GOP responded, “Since half agree with us already, we’ll take those odds.”

Half of whom is my question. Since the Kentucky/Louisville GOP wants to focus on critical race theory, let me tell you what I view as critical.

What is critical to me is that thousands upon thousands of Louisville/Kentucky citizens are sick.

What is critical to me is that Louisville/Kentucky doctors, nurses and hospital staff, need relief and are suffering under the weight of your willful ignorance, since many in your party refuse to believe the basic fundamentals of science.

What is critical to me is that over 600,000 Kentucky residents have gotten sick from COVID-19, 103,000 of them in Louisville.

What is critical to me is that over 8,000 Kentucky residents have died from Covid-19, over 1,000 of them from Louisville.

What is critical to me is that your party weakened the Governor of this state in the middle of a global pandemic because of your gluttonous desire for political power.

What is critical to me is when Kentucky residents were leaning on those we have elected to political office to have a backbone, you chose the jellyfish route of politics.

What is critical to me is that when we needed every politician to lead, your party failed and passed the buck to school boards while our teachers and kids are sick and dying.

What is critical to me is that you spent time in a pissing contest living out your high school fantasies of playing quarterback only to age poorly and now play armchair quarterback, and what we found (which we always knew) is that you have no plan to help the citizens of Louisville or all of Kentucky during this time of uncertainty.

What is critical to me is that we are burying young Black boys and girls killed by senseless violence daily.

What is critical to me is specific areas of our state do not have access to clean drinking water.

What is critical to me is that women have the right to govern what happens to their bodies.

What is critical to me is that you have taken a concept like Defund The Police and distorted it instead of acknowledging what would help Louisville/Kentucky when dealing with crime is for communities to have their basic needs met.

What is critical to me is that we are a city and state in crisis, and now is not the time to play games with our very lives.

What is critical to me is policing, fair housing, environmental justice, employment, health insurance, etc.

What is critical to me is that all Louisville/Kentucky residents have the opportunity to thrive and give back to their communities so that we can all be better.

How dare you, Kentucky GOP! How dare you, Louisville GOP, as if you are oblivious to the protests of 2020. As if you are oblivious to the pain and heartache that still roams throughout our bluegrass. Louisville is a city that is fighting for some semblance of restoration and reconciliation. Instead of cooperating with that effort, the GOP decides to do what it always does, use fearmongering, dog whistles and racism to influence a political campaign. And then the Louisville GOP has the audacious audacity to claim half the people agree with them. Half of what people in Louisville?

Because I stood on the front lines during the 2020 protests.

I stood with Black people.

I stood with white people.

I stood with brown people.

I stood with LGBTQ people.

I stood with those with disabilities.

I stood with men.

I stood with women.

I stood with the rich.

I stood with the poor.

I stood with lawmakers.

I stood with teachers.

I stood with pastors.

I stood with business owners.

I stood with doctors.

I stood with journalists.

I stood with all walks of life.

Rest assured, what I can tell you is that Louisville is tired of the fuckery. We are tired of the bullshit. We are tired of the dog whistles. We are tired of the games. We are tired of the tomfoolery. We are tired of the shenanigans. We are tired of the racism. We…are…tired.

It is easy to sit in some office and send out an email when you have no skin in the game, but Black people and others have given their very blood, sweat and tears trying to impact this city and state. In 2020, we were fighting for our very right to breathe. We were fighting for Breonna Taylor — for a 26-year-old Black woman murdered in her home. And we are still fighting to find some point of restoration and reconciliation. Something it would be wise for the Louisville GOP to contribute to for the betterment of this city. But that isn’t your goal. Your goal is division. Your goal is to sow and water seeds of racism. Tell me, Kentucky/Louisville GOP, what fruit do you want to bear within this city? Have you not seen enough?! Are you living in the same Louisville that I am?! Because I am tired. I want to live somewhere, where every day isn’t a fight. Where, every day, I don’t have to try to prove to you that my life matters. I want to live somewhere, where those in positions of power are not working overtime to divide us. Where those in power are not sending out emails to scare people into hating me because I am Black. I want to live somewhere, where we are not fighting to survive but for once, just once, we all work together to create a world where everyone can thrive.

Shouldn’t that be your goal too, Louisville GOP? Ain’t you tired?

Here’s an idea, and I know it’s one you have never thought of, stop using the fear of Black people to keep you in office. Stop using racism to keep you in cushy seats so you can create laws that do not seek to benefit the whole. If you have a candidate worthy of running, put them to the test. Let the people decide. Try to do something without racism and fearmongering for a change. Try to do something that is going to bring this city and state together and not further pull it apart. Try that.

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