The freedom of speech is a very debatable-yet cherished freedom that we have in this country. It’s because of the first amendment that you have the ability to say what you want without being formally penalized by the government. But due to the system of racism-white supremacy, the government’s viewing of the first amendment is taken or left depending on the person, which most of the time comes from microagressions toward those who don’t fit the sphere of whiteness.
If you have been following the news, you have seen that the KKK has organized rallies in response to South Carolina taking down the Confederate battle flag, and that the New Black Panther Party had a protest to the KKK’s rally. Which is legal, of course, but at this point, we should really take a look as a country as to what we are approving, especially once we look at the groups we haven’t approved of in the past.
In general, we see the sphere of whiteness allow for mediocrity and racism-white supremacy to continue, thus disadvantaging people of color, the LGBTQIA+ community, and women. While at the same time, Eurocentric norms aim to shoot these people down with the shelter of the cis straight white male. White males have always dominated most of society, and today, it is no different. Derald Wing Sue, a professor and researcher of racism states in his paper “Whiteness and Ethnocentric Monoculturism: Making the ‘Invisible’ Visible” that “white men occupy approximately 80 percent of tenured positions in higher education and 92 percent of the Forbes 400/CEO positions; they constitute 80 percent of the House of Representatives, 84 percent of the US Senate, 99 percent of athletic team owners, and [98 percent] of the US Presidents.” So given this information, it would seem very reasonable to see these officials in other groups such as the KKK, which is known for terrorizing Black and brown bodies. to see this group not acknowledged as a terroristic groups despite their terroristic natures, and to see them have the ability to protest for the continued hate of black and brown bodies is simply a testament to white privilege and to the corrupt nature of the US government.
I do believe in the freedom of speech, but seeing this whole scene acted out and the government be so calm about the KKK is like seeing spit on the black community, Throughout time, we have seen multiple groups of black and brown bodies get obliterated by the government because they were seen as criminals. We’ve seen the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr., and the disbanding of the Black Panther Party and the continued watch on Assata Shakur, all of these people and groups and people who fought for the rights of black and brown people and who worked to make the black community better. But these people and groups have been ended because the government has not agreed with the words and actions coming from them.
According to Sue, “whites invoke the power to choose when, how, and how much to address or challenge racism.” The continuation of the KKK is a perfect example of this white privilege. The KKK has been very open about the desire to lift up racism-white supremacy, and even supported that terrorist who shot up the Charleston church, yet we continue to give them the time and space to spread their hate inspiring words, whereas we shun the words of the groups of people who wish to be heard.
Sue also says that “marginalized groups desire equal access and opportunity dictates differential treatment.” Having equality isn’t what’s always just for groups of people, especially since we don’t operate on a level playing field on a society, which is the premise of what the founding fathers wrote about in the Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights. These documents are based of the thought that we all start out equal and have the same ability to be visible in society. If we are even going to attempt to go and doctor some of the issues left from racism-white supremacy, then we must realize that being equal throughout may not be the way to go, and that the visibility of black and brown bodies is much more necessary than the continuance of the KKK and other white supremacist groups.