I’m Just Sayin’ (The More Things Change, the More they Stay the Same)

John Belleci
The Social and Global Justice Project

In the last couple of months, I have had the opportunity to watch two feature films concerning race in America, Django Unchained and 42, a movie about Jackie Robinson. After watching these films and putting them into context alongside the War on Drugs and its effects on inner city Black America, I have come to the conclusion that the more things change the more they stay the same.

In short, watching two films about atrocities that were heaped upon fellow Americans in the past, but which also continue to be heaped upon them today, really pissed me off.

Americans need to understand that we do not live in a post-racial society, and that Whiteness is a state of mind that runs deeper than even the color of one’s skin. It is impossible not to get angry while watching films that portray the brutal and cruel ways that White Americans have treated Black Americans. Where is the Christian compassion and humanism that this country was supposedly built on? Where are the principles of democracy that were spelled out so eloquently in the Declaration of Independence stating that ALL men were created equal?

Like many women past and present, people of color, particularly Black Americans, have always known that this was pure unadulterated bullshit. Though oppressive American aristocrats may speak the language of freedom and justice, they have wielded the lies of history and religion for over four-hundred years. They have honed it as a weapon, and have used it to suppress the truth and indoctrinate the masses into believing in their nationalistic and patriotic rhetoric.

White folks have been kicking ass since they arrived here. Americans need to wake up and ask themselves: How long will this bullshit go on? How can an individual be proud to be an American when this nation has obtained its power through the subjugation and oppression of people of color? I for one am ashamed of the treatment that paternalistic armies of Christian “Do-Gooders,” masked behind the veil of their supposed religious beliefs, have heaped upon our brothers and sisters of color since Jamestown. Sometimes I think we would all be better off without the repressive handcuffs of organized religion. Maybe we should just look within ourselves for our own spiritual salvation and not worry about worshiping the dogma created by men in a building built by men who take our money every Sunday. These places of Christian worship often teach that we are all human beings regardless of our skin color. But churches in America remain some of the most segregated places in our society.

Inevitably, some conservative right-wing religious racist wacko will argue that racism no longer exists in America because the president is Black. While it is true that individual members of oppressed ethnic groups have prospered and done well, it does not change the fact that systemic institutionalized racism is alive and well and ingrained into the very fabric of American society. I can also hear that same zealot arguing that America is now racist towards the White man—another line of oppressive propaganda. In fact, I would argue that the only people capable of being racists are White males because they control the wealth and power. Granted, anyone can discriminate or be prejudiced, but without power, it is impossible to be racist because you do not have the ability to institutionalize racist ideology and practice. Racism has migrated from the outward practices of slavery and Jim Crow into the subtle language of law and custom.

The War on Drugs is a prime example of how racism has become institutionalized. Instead of the overseer assaulting his slaves physically and verbally, and instead of white baseball players and managers blatantly taunting pioneering sportsmen like Jackie Robinson, it is now the police, prosecutors, and judges of America’s judicial system who, with the backing of the legislature, subjugate Black Americans. They have written laws using camouflaged language that subtlety targets inner city Blacks. In other words, racism has evolved into a systematic destruction of inner city Black Americans who appear to have less hope and promise now than at any time since Reconstruction. The decimation of the urban manufacturing base, the underfunding of public schools, the gentrification of inner city neighborhoods, and a host of other aspects combined with the War on Drugs, has turned the Black male into an endangered species.

It does indeed appear that the more things change, the more things stay the same.

Americans need to wake the fuck up! We need to see ourselves as global citizens of this planet we call earth. We are not just Americans. First and foremost we are human beings. Stop the bigoted racist bullshit and come together as one. We have to change our mindsets. Teach our children that we are all equal, and that we are citizens of the world. Stop rationalizing patriarchal behavior with religion. Stop justifying idiocy with nationalism and patriotism. Nothing good ever comes out of these ideologies. For too long Americans have rationalized and justified rude, repressive, and racist actions. That tired-ass line that if you work hard you will succeed only works for White people, and particularly White men. Ask any person of color if that’s true and they will simply laugh. These actions are a lie and when you realize you have been lied to and that everything you hold true is bullshit, your entire world comes crashing down around you.

People of color know this is bullshit. White people, quit lying to yourselves, because like masturbation, rationalization and justification are just ways of fucking yourself.

I’m Just Sayin’.

Other articles by John Belleci include Nottaway Plantation: How to Profit from an Ugly PastI’m Just Sayin’ (An Open Letter to Historians) and I’m Just Sayin’ (Warning Shot: Explicit Thoughts Contained Within).

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