From the Whitest City to the Chocolate City

While living in Portland, Oregon for several years, which has a history of racism and has witnessed racism first-hand, Portland has notoriously been called “the Whitest City in America.”

After witnessing the largest audience around 75,000 people watching Senator Obama give a powerful speech in Portland as a presidential candidate in 2008 whom I proudly grabbed a tee that day and became part of history. I voted for Obama twice in 2008 and 2012.

It has been a mind-searching journey, before it began, first begun to study hate crimes in 2007 became my immediate equality as the demand to dismantle white supremacy in the Deaf community.

The last eight years of the journey have been unforgettable. As learning the news that the National Archives would show a special display of the original document of the Emancipation Proclamation signed by President Abraham Lincoln for three days only, it was the very last day on Jan 1, 2013, as I had few hours left and wonder if I would make it, and good enough, I made it! 

In October 2012, since moving to Washington, D.C. showing appreciation of the old city, understanding the deep-seated racism as embodied in unpacking white privileges, and see the need to strike a balance between the right of free of cruel and unusual punishment and the right of human dignity, seven years later, a book published, Chocolate City: A History of Race and Democracy in the Nation’s Capital published by Charles Myers Asch and George Derek Musgrove, explains that District of Columbia as the nation’s “Chocolate City”, and the first majority-Black major city in the United States.

Unfortunately, gentrification is happening at this hour in Chocolate City; Years ago, one night, I was chatting with Deaf white people, brought up some concerns about the topic of “gentrification”, I asked them, and they had no idea what gentrification is. That’s the sign of a failed social experiment.

While living in D.C. for only two months, there would be no way to miss this special display. Seeing the writings of Lincoln on this most important document in American history, nothing can beat this. It was a special and a pivotal message.  

From the Emancipation Proclamation document, Lincoln writes on January 1, 1863, I got to witness exactly 150 years later on the same day:  

And by the virtue of the power, and for the purpose aforesaid, I do order and declare that all persons held as slaves within said designated States, and parts of States, are, and henceforward shall be free; and that the Executive government of the United States, including the military and naval authorities thereof, will recognize and maintain the freedom of said persons. 

And I hereby enjoin upon the people so declared to be free to abstain from all violence, unless in necessary self-defence; and I recommend to them that, in all cases when allowed, they labor faithfully for reasonable wages. 
And I further declare and make known, that such persons of suitable condition, will be received into the armed service of the United States to garrison forts, positions, stations, and other places, and to man vessels of all sorts in said service. 

And upon this act, sincerely believed to be an act of justice, warranted by the Constitution, upon military necessity, I invoke the considerate judgment of mankind, and the gracious favor of Almighty God.” 

Upon returning home that afternoon, the master plan was to visit several American presidents’ homes in the next few years, acknowledging racism and continue to unpack my white privileges, I volunteered for the Obama inauguration ball in January 2013, where the same president signed a federal law in 2009, The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Actwhich is an American Act of Congress, earned my utmost respect. 

Three years later, a fatal heart attack for long ten minutes on the Election day at Gallaudet University, hours later, after learning the final results of election where Trump became the White Supremacist in Chief has been difficult enough to fathom, a year before the fatal heart attack, a friend from Canada and I visited four American presidents’ homes three days in a row, in order, Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, George Washington, and Abraham Lincoln summer home.

We both saw the unknown tombstones of slaves on Jefferson and Washington’s lands, has become harder to witness, that the fault lies with slaves, it was totally different experience while reading books and write long essay papers about Jefferson and Washington;

Four years later, visiting Philadelphia to enter Independence Hall, where the United States Declaration of Independence and the United States Constitution were formally examined and signed. It was only Ten Amendments that time that lacked why the problem of the constitutional root of white supremacy in America is still a social problem today. That tee I was wearing in that picture symbolizes to stand up against hate and bigotry.

After the tour of Independence Hall, across the street, I visited the Liberty Bell, the grandfather of the nation’s human values: freedom, unalienable rights, and equality and felt the presence of my favorite sociologist, William Edward Burghardt Du Bois few miles away in the Seventh Ward, where he did his brilliant sociological study, The Philadelphia Negro, it became part of my soul-searching experience, he saw the fuel that revolution would be necessary to go against the power dynamics of hate.

Du Bois coined double consciousness, “One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

There would never feel so much tension in this country, the nation has been suffering enough, seeing thousands of candlelight vigils in the normalization of hate. Pittsburgh synagogue, the killing of innocent and unarmed Black people. Out of many, one is painful enough. The nation mourned long enough, growing tired of the surge of hate crimes more than ever.

The National Museum of African American History and Culture, is the best museum to visit in Washington, D.C. Hands Down.

Come near the end of the election, the role played by the general American society in making hatred by adding oppression elements for ignorance is responsible for the fact that it launches the language bigotry, generating the hegemony of minorities, though today this stand implicitly and tactically writing only for the choice of the white supremacy for political and economic purposes. 

Dr. Cornell West: “We are witnessing America as a failed social experiment.” 

White supremacy, visible and invisible alike, is a hate speech, and a hate crime. Hate crime is a noun phrase is a collective term that represents the American life. Crime is an action that is judged injurious to the public welfare that becomes or disliked the lead the occurrence or belittlement, bigotry or hegemony. 

Turfism is something that we would not see that word everyday.  It is an act of possession. For example, in the United States, the state is turfed by people while the other state is turfed by the others. This land is mine. That land is yours. People who think of education and teaching are possessed by them.

When people carry the ideology of MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN, let’s reflect back to 2001, Barbara Perry, the author of In the Name of Hate: Understanding Hate Crimes, writes: “The “American” is no longer (as if it ever were) an uncontested vision. Instead, the very meaning of American identity, and especially the meaning of “whiteness” has been seriously thrown into question.

Hate groups have mobilized in an effort to reassert a narrow, exclusive understanding of the national identity.” Is that why we are failing social experiments?

When seeing bigotry and language racism in presence, they push it out and believe their own biases and teaching are better and should be followed. That is a good example of turfism. Turmoil would tell them is ineffective or useless, that puts people in a state of extreme confusion which happens in the spectrum of hate crime. 

We need to be aware about atrocity, one of the greatest invisible human traits. It is a state of bullying, brutality, or oppression. In the United States, there were fancy water foundations for white people while the rotten foundations for colored. Black people felt completely oppressed which is atrocity as well. White people were arrested in a generous way while Black were taken down brutally, that is the finest hour of atrocity.

Victimization as an act of accusing and faulting someone or a group with hatred. The word “victim” comes from Latin, meaning one that is sacrificed to oppression, hardship or mistreatment. For example, people would have enough money to blame someone and sacrifice them. That leads to the violation where it is an act of interruption or irreverence to their rights, and when hate is involved, victimizes someone and violates afterwards.

Hate crimes are everywhere in Trump’s America. He was asked a question why he calls Black Lives Matter a “symbol of hate“, he could not explain why he retweeted a video of supporters chanting “White Power!” Let’s rewind back to 2017, he forgets about “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville, Virgina, telling the world that the white supremacists are “very fine people” where there is a deep, generational dysfunction in white supremacy. It reeks of denial, anger and determined prejudice.

Want to know the most scary part? Trump’s MAGA eyes filled with disdainfully stereotypical eyes, when we talk about the rise of white supremacy, we become highly conscious of how it operates by comparing and appreciating our differences. Defeating the higher power of white supremacy and hate crimes enhances economic competitiveness, promotes a healthy society, and strengthens the community of higher learning and teaching.

Could we make a conscious effort to build healthy and diverse learning environments appropriate for the life of American according to “violence directed toward groups of people who generally are not valued by the majority society, who suffer discrimination in other arenas, and who do not have full access to remedy social, political, and economic injustice.” (Wolfe and Copeland, 1993: 2001) The strength of our democracy depends on it. There are so many cultural differences, working to enhance their success in the mainstream community.

Time is of the essence! Black Lives Matter is not a symbol of hate that the truth is that the white community needs to become better critical thinkers according to “what is the basis for such exclusionary conceptions of Americanness and belongingness? Why and how are the racialized Others distinct from white America? (Perry, 2001)

Last summer 2020, standing on the street in the Nation’s first majority-black major city, painted: BLACK LIVES MATTER in America as the first street ever to be named with BLM name, and if you are tired of white violence tearing apart the fabric of communities symbolizing human vulnerability across the streets of America, aren’t we tired of it?

I have voted. The strength of democracy is highly conscious on the OFFICIAL BALLOT to overthrow the greatest pandemic: HATE. The stake is higher than anything. We cannot let another four years of undermining our freedom. Picture below where I was wearing a red pin, “STOP HATE”. Simple.

-JT

Copyright © 2020 Jason Tozier

This text may be freely copied in its entirely only, including this copyright message

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