A time to speak – What are white Americans afraid of?

Lolita Ewing

*A Time To Speak columns are reader-submitted opinions and do not represent to views of the Archdiocese of Louisville or The Record.

White America, why are you so afraid of African Americans?

Since all the protesting has been going on for the last two weeks, I have been asking myself, why are white Americans so afraid of African Americans? It has really been baffling me. No matter what harm white Americans bring to African Americans, it seems it is okay or can be justified.

This started 400 years ago, and in the whole scheme of things not much has changed. Just the personnel.
Let’s go back some 400 years ago, when we, as African Americans, were at home on the continent of Africa minding our own business.

All of a sudden, we noticed some strangers in the back yard. We were curious to find out who these people were that didn’t look like us at all. So, we went to greet our visitors. Little did we know this was the beginning of a massive trap, as our greetings turned into capture.

We would be taken from our homeland to be put on a boat to travel, chained on our backs, for two to four months. About one-third of the slaves would not make it due to disease, lack of nourishment and closeness. The sick and dying would be thrown overboard. It could be as many as 200 to 600 people starting the journey.

The slaves that made it would be separated from their families and sold in an auction. They only wanted the strongest and the healthiest to work in the fields from sunup to sundown.

We were beaten miserably, stripped of our very existence, our names were changed, we were forced to learn a new language. We were put with other slaves who did not speak our language even though they looked like us. The nightmare was just beginning. They only wanted the brightest, healthiest, and the best workers.

So, all during slavery and up until now white Americans have gotten what they wanted. African Americans have been protesting since we stepped on the soil. There have been wars, civil unrest, demonstrations, walkouts. You name it, it has been done for African Americans to be treated equally and fairly all across the board. But it has never happened.

Yes some things have changed. A few laws were put into effect so that some could get a decent education. But it came with a price.
We could move into what we thought would be a better neighborhood, but it came with a price.

Yes, what few accomplishments we have gained have all come with a price of racism:

“We don’t want you living close to us. We don’t want you eating with us. We don’t want you to socialize with us.”

So, it was okay for us to nurse your children, be raped by the men and have your children, build your country, but you don’t want to have anything to do with us and you have the audacity to be fearful of us African Americans? Help me to make sense of this.

We didn’t come to this country voluntarily. We were stolen from our own country. We did everything you asked of us when we got here and that wasn’t enough. You separated us from our families and that was not enough. You put the fear of God in us and brutalized us severely. Yet you, white America, are still afraid of us 400 years later. Talk about holding on to a grudge.

What used to be subtle racism has become full-blown. Racism varies all over the country, but one thing remains the same: It is still there. It never left.

Now, you want to know what is the problem? You are afraid because you have a guilty conscience about what you did to two continents of people — the Native Americans that were already here when you got here and the people you stole to help you build a country to your suiting.

We have talked to you until we are blue in the face and you still aren’t listening. Leave us alone.

ALL African Americans are not criminals. Open your eyes to see who we really are and work on your own issues.
Just because we don’t look or act like you does not mean we are problematic.

Lolita Ewing is a member of St. Martin de Porres Church and founder of Hands Across Louisville, a local organization that promotes unity and advocates for an end to gun violence in Louisville.

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