“I’m not saying I’m gonna change the world, but I guarantee that I will spark the brain that will change the world.”
Tupac Shakur


“Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete? Proving nature’s laws wrong, it learned to walk without having feet. Funny, it seems to by keeping it’s dreams; it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete when no one else even cared.”
Tupac Shakur


Today, June 16th, is Tupac’s birthday.

Which leads me to discuss embedded racism.

There is probably no better tangible example of embedded racism than the term and activism surrounding ‘Black Lives Matter.’

Just use that phrase and there is a visceral pushback response <mostly from white people>. What about all people? Don’t all lives matter is the kind of strawman argument.

Its either ignorance or purposeful ignorance but that ignorance contains some essence of embedded racism in order to even be a ‘thing’ to say.

Of course, all lives do matter.

As a logical extension, black lives matter as well.

That is sort of the point of the entire idea.

Black people have the right to stand up and point out that a certain issue exists <a complex one which often gets lost under a simplistic banner>, black people have a particular disproportionate lethality issue with police and black people have a particular disproportionate issue with opportunity and second chances. I believe it is fair for people to continue to suggest Black Lives Matter as long as white people <mostly male> make up the bulk of the power structure that may not overtly suggest black lives don’t matter but through their power have created a system in which black lives certainly appear to matter less. So the point of Black Lives Matter is maybe we white folk should accept the burden of responsibility and maybe elevate the importance of black lives within a general belief that all lives matter.

I have a hard time disagreeing with black people on that. Any of that.

Which leads me to a discussion on ‘progress.’

Because if you accept that we will always be a work in progress than saying things like ‘but it is so much better today than it was’ is not acceptable <this is also a ‘go to’ white person statement>.

Racism has always existed and in some extent.  And while it certainly exists now and there are some vocal aspects to racism today as a country, we have struggled with this since day one. And if you believe African Americans are more divisive today with regard to the issue <often blaming a black president for creating a divisive environment> I would like to point out that one of Tupac Shakur’s most popular songs addresses all of these same issues … in 1998: Tupac “Changes

Just take a moment and think about how crazy some of his lyrics are <saying a black president is about as unbelievable as pigs flying>.

At that moment and time, he sang those lyrics he couldn’t conceive the possibility it could ever happen <too bad he couldn’t see the day>. And you know what? I can hear a bunch of white people shouting at me “see!! This is proof we do not have racism and that we aren’t like in 1998!!!”

That’s bullshit.

The song is as relevant today as it was then.

Look. Have we made progress? Absolutely. Have we achieved what we should achieve? Absolutely not. Do I view progress through a “white perspective” and therefore judge progress as “I have improved”? Absolutely. If I were black and 60 years old and assessed ‘progress’ and the fact I had been stopped on streets throughout my life, saw blacks systematically fail in a white privileged system, watch how many white kids get second chances for mistakes black kids never get, and had to listen to white people pat themselves on the back for ‘making progress’? Whew. I am not sure I wouldn’t be pissed.

Only an idiot denies the existence of racism, and embedded aspects within the system, but there are very few people who are conscious enough of what needs to take place as we progress and have the courage to consciously address it.

Frankly, I struggle to believe white people, and black people, in America are prepared to let go of their cultural identities and begin forging a new reality in which all are equal within every situation and at any time & place.

Well. Not yet.

I do believe blacks have earned the right to be angry <not the right to act inauspiciously upon that anger though>.

And I do believe the burden white people <mostly male because they own the power structure> have to earn the right to NOT have blacks angry at them.

Let me say that again.

Whites have to earn the right for blacks to not be angry with them.

This means whites need to do something about embedded racism as well as actually acknowledge it <not argue about it>.

And in saying that … well … looking around it sure seem like most of us white folk want black people to be angry at us every time as we stand on some pedestal and shout “all lives matter … not just black lives.’ It shows a lack of awareness to the real issues at hand and a lack of awareness to who is at fault in addition to lack of awareness with regard to who is truly the victim here. Or, as an acquaintance of mine suggested, “its some absurd attempt at an ideological Switzerland.”

It is hard to suggest racism doesn’t exist in USA and is embedded in its various structures. And I believe that to deny it simply cripples society in some fairly insidious ways.

I just wanted to say this on Tupac’s birthday.

Written by Bruce