Uncomfortable Truth

July 20, 2015

When the subject of systemic racism is mentioned, some of my well intentioned Caucasian friends would rather we not have that conversation. Analysis of this established societal pattern apparently gives way to pause, creating feelings of discomfort. Unfortunately, when the truth brings feelings of discomfort, I say “be uncomfortable.” Systemic racism saturates our lives daily.

The Black community continues to repair itself from the cultural, psychological and economic effects of slavery and Jim Crow. Today we have overseer brutality, and mass incarceration, embodied in systemic racism. Change your ways when bitter truth makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t ask truth to tell you a sweeter story. Every system within our society has been infected with racism. With this racism, have come crimes against humanity. These crimes must never be forgotten. The wounds are still open to infection. They have not been allowed to fully heal. When the day arrives and BLACKLIVESMATTER, all lives will truly matter. Selective amnesia is not the cure.

This country was founded, with overseers exterminating innocent Black and Brown lives; all with impunity. They were far too quiet and comfortable, when unarmed Medgar Evers, Martin Luther King Jr. and Emmett Till were assassinated by systemic racism. Quieter still, the powers that be, sat motionless, when systemic racism recently stole the lives of Trayvon Martin, Oscar Grant, Walter Scott and Andy Lopez. Some have the audacity to suggest that assassinations, such as those of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and Andy Lopez are largely exaggerated. In the United States of America, a human life is exterminated by overseers, every 8 hours, yet silence is the action that is taken.

First, I must confess that over the past few years I have been disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler or the Klu Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order”,  than to justice; who constantly says, “I agree with you in the goal you seek, but I cannot agree with your methods of direct action”; who paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s freedom; who lives by a mythical concept of time and who constantly advises the Negro to wait for a “more convenient season.” Shallow understanding from people of good will is more frustrating than absolute misunderstanding from people of ill will. Lukewarm acceptance is much more bewildering than outright rejection.

                – – Martin Luther King, Jr.

                Letter from Birmingham Jail

                April 16, 1963

Black and Brown citizens are disproportionately fed into the ‘Prison Industrial Complex, as the populace remains mute. To close our eyes to systemic racism, as some do, would be lacking in empathy and in wisdom. Discourse leads to solutions. Silence leads to perpetuation. This malignant cancer, complicit with an abrupt silence, is decimating humanity! There cannot be a cure, without acknowledgment of the truth. In order to correct this White Supremacist mindset, which has attained a position of comfort, we must analyze this historic problem. At what point does global systemic genocide take precedence over the oppressors’ need for comfort?

Those who fail to resist the clouded glare of White privilege have erroneously identified with our oppressors. Some have even become apologist for police terrorism. Their uncomfortable feeling is referred to as cognitive dissonance. This means that they are conscious of the atrocities of systemic racism, but choose to ignore them. Regrettably, they imagine themselves to be color-blind. They do not understand, nor do they suffer from the systemic racism that destroys lives daily. On the contrary, they unknowingly benefit from it, in large proportion. Aware of this oppression, they ask that we stop speaking ill of our oppressors. They are not necessarily the enemy. We consider many to be friends. Therefore, it is imperative that we enlighten, instruct, and hopefully reach their hearts and minds. Directing their paths into the higher self of human evolution is imperative, if we are to see honest unity.

As we ‘Know Thyself’, we must understand our common enemy. White Supremacy is much more than a single person. It is a system that has been ingrained into every single aspect of society. It is the evil psyche and the destructive root from which ‘Manifest Destiny,’ colonialism, and systemic racism has evolved. Misguided Black and Brown people have refused to stand up to this permeating force that dominates society. Traveling the cowardly course of least resistance, they are susceptible to self-hate and to the divide and conquer tactics, employed by our oppressors. This combination of variables has the potential to lead to a fratricide, capable of weakening any chance of forward momentum. We must acknowledge these challenges, as we move forward.

Systemic racism is a global issue that must be conquered. As oppressed people of the earth, we must connect the dots, in order to bind and strengthen our forward journey. We make up the majority of the population, worldwide. In this 21st century, there is a desperate need for major, revolutionary change. The battle is ongoing, and may take many generations to fulfill, but we must begin with steps; steps that will lead to humanity.

Revolution: a forcible overthrow of a government or social order, in favor of a new system.  Revolution: a great, far-reaching change. While the chosen method remains undetermined, a definite choice must be made. Without action, there can be no change. We are positioned, standing in the ‘belly of the beast’, and speaking truth to imperialism. These words are written with love for the people, and love for the struggle. Our oppressors’ will have no peace, until our people are free. In 2015, we must think global, while taking revolutionary steps. One Love.

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Donald Ray Young is an innocent man, wrongfully convicted and sentenced to San Quentin’s death row, in 2006. Mr. Young is a certified paralegal, with an Associates of Arts degree in Sociology. He is pursuing additional education, including a law degree, which will assist him in seeking exoneration. His memoir will be published this year.

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DONALD RAY YOUNG

E – 78474 (5 – EB – 106)

CSP San Quentin

San Quentin, CA  94974

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