My word of the year is AUDACITY. I LOVE this word. It has especially gained significance in my life since the election and observing all of the down right hate and distortion of the truth I have been seeing in this country. I truly can’t believe that people have the AUDACITY to say or do the shit they have been doing. It truly is incredible….incredibly painful.
By now, I am sure you have seen the CNN video of Tamika Mallory (a prominent figure in the Black Lives matter movement and coordinator of the massive Women’s March) and Dana Loesch (an NRA spokesperson who has accused the Women’s March to be sexist and the BLM movement to be violent and unnecessary) discussing the case of Philando Castile now that the trial is over. In particular, Tamika was discussing the NRA’s new ad essentially condemning the Black Lives Matter movement; accusing it of causing significant harm in our country and creating a biased divide in regards to racial disparities.
Now, the interview on CNN was not anything unusual. Right wing and liberal ideologies clashing while a news anchor tries to calm them o get both of their voices and points of views heard. It was a heated debate, people talking over each other, cutting each other off, same ol’ same ol’. I was annoyed at Dana’s conservative philosophies, but was not particularly surprised. However, there was a quick sentence that Dana said right towards the end that had my mouth drop to the floor. As the moderator was closing out the interviews, Dana said “I was interrupted a lot,” insuniating that Tamika had been the one to do the interuppting.
Now….this is where my issues seriously lie. Over and over and OVER AGAIN I see how folks from the super conservative alt right (mostly white folks) continuously silence black people whenever they try to speak up against racial oppression. They continue to spit the “all lives matter” banter and accuse black people of being racist (which is not even a thing), aggressive, physically violent, and creating a huge divide between races in the U.S. They essentially say that there is no racism (particularly since there has been a black president) and that they experience the same struggles that people of color do.
As a result of the alt right wanting their voices to be heard, they continuously shut down those who are actually being consistently denied jobs based on their race, forced to live in low-income communities, are more often incarcerated for low-level crimes, don’t have equal access to quality education and so much more. People of color deserve the right to speak up about their oppression and to ask people to fight with them to create a more equitable society.
That’s why this CNN video INFURIATED me. Dana had the AUDACITY to say that she was cut off so many times by Tamika and acted as if she didn’t get enough time to speak her points or was not being genuinely listened to. Let me break it down by numbers.
- The video itself is about approximately 10 minutes long.
- In this 10 minutes, Tamika spoke for approximately 2 minutes and 30 seconds.
- In this 10 minutes, Dana spoke approximately 4 minutes. This does NOT include the one minute NRA ad in which she was the “star” of. So she actually got about 5 minutes of air time. Twice as much as Tamika and half of the overall interview time.
- In this time Tamika was cut off three times. Once by the moderator and twice by Dana (and the interruption from Dana was quite lengthy).
- Dana was cut off 5 times, more than half than Tamika. But, she was cut off 4 times by the moderator and only once by Tamika.
- Towards the end of the interview (during the last interruption of Dana’s point) she had the AUDACITY to say that Ms. Mallory would “not let me speak.” Mind you, Ms. Mallory only interrupted Dana once.
- Dana also had the AUDACITY to say that Tamika’s point about police violence towards black people was null and void because “white people get killed by cops too.” Which is a WHOOOOLLLLEEE other blog post, but you can get the gist of what I am going to write about by going HERE.
And this is exactly the problem, for me, with these types of debates. They AREN’T REAL. They are based off of feelings, not facts. I have yet to see arguments from the alt right based on FACTS. There have been dozens and dozens and DOZENS of case studies on the disproportionate amounts of police violence and incarceration of black people. Hell, you don’t need a case study, just go to a prison and see for yourself (although many conservatives will blame black people for those stats). The alt right (from what I have seen) has yet to come to the table with any tangible proof to support the extravagant statements they continue to spout off every time they get a mic near their face. They speak from their white fragility because they are so desperate to prove they are not racist and that they are good people; completely denying the fact that they thoroughly benefit from a racist society. Time and time again I see people of color talked over, told they are aggressive and unreasonable, told they are perpetuating racism, and everything under the sun to “prove” that black people are actually the reason that racism is so prominent in this country….which, ironically, is an inherently racist statement within itself.
I really hope to see more journalism that actually engages people in different political standpoints in having GENUINE dialogue. It is possible. There are so many ways we can approach and engage each other without hate, defensiveness, or trying to put the blame on one particular group of people for the problems in America. We must not avoid accountability. We must not avoid our own privileges. We must not avoid the racism that is instilled within us and the benefits we experience from it. By doing so, we will continue to give life and grow the hate that is within our country. We will continue to see black lives be lost at the hands of police (and see those same cops not receive any repercussions for their heinous crimes), we will continue to see a disparity between black and white people in our education system, we will continue to see more black people homeless in the streets and in prisons than white people, we will continue to see this incredible divide that fuels our hatred for each other. These conversations NEED to happen. We don’t need to try to convince each other to “switch sides,” but rather to become a more empathetic country that will hopefully live up to the “freedom for all” mantra it so proudly boasts.