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On White Supremacy, the Force that Divides Us

Gretchen Beesing, CEO, Catalyst Miami

Although mass shootings and deadly attacks on communities of color have become painfully commonplace in our lifetime, we must resist the urge to skip over the victims and jump right into the conversation. Please honor a moment of silence for the 10 people who lost their lives in Buffalo this weekend. They were mothers, fathers, sons, daughters, neighbors, friends… human beings, just like you and me. We honor them and hold them in our hearts.

The shooter, a racist gunman acting to preserve his white race as the majority and terrorize Black people everywhere, is one symptom of the larger disease that is white supremacy. White supremacy is the poison that permeates every system of our country and infiltrates individual hearts and minds. It is sustained and strengthened by elected leaders who fail to meaningfully make racial justice a priority. 

White supremacy is the infected root that anchors down all the injustices people face every day, the ones our communities fight so hard to overcome. From a housing system that was built to exclude people of color, to a lack of protections for Black and Brown communities on the frontlines of climate change, to laws that suppress voters and gerrymander districts to uphold white civic power… There is no present-day injustice that can be disentangled from white supremacy.

The shooter published anti-Semitic views and myths about other minorities, espousing views that are meant to keep us all in factions. In a time when racially targeted hate crimes have been steadily on the rise across our country, particularly against Black and Asian Americans, we are reminded that apart from the abhorrent belief that the white race is superior to the rest, we must also reject the notion that some minorities have more value than others. 

White supremacy and racist systems are weapons intentionally used to divide us; silence and inaction keep their firepower strong. By pitting any group of people against another, the powers that be can remain as such, and in turn keep us from achieving the prosperous future we envision. It’s well past time for all of us to stand up and stand together; only then can even the most seemingly impossible odds be overcome.

"For when a nation founded on the belief in racial hierarchy truly rejects that belief, then and only then will we have discovered a new world. That is our destiny. To make it manifest, we must challenge ourselves to live our lives in solidarity across color, origin, and class. We must demand changes to the rules in order to disrupt the very notion that those who have more money are worth more in our democracy and our economy. Since this country’s founding, we have not allowed our diversity to be our superpower and the result is that the United States is not more than the sum of its disparate parts. But it could be. And if it were, all of us would prosper. In short, we must emerge from this crisis in our republic with a new birth of freedom. Rooted in the knowledge that we are so much more, when the we in 'we the people' is not some of us, but all of us. We are greater than and greater for the sum of us."

Heather McGhee

The Sum of Us: What Racism Costs Everyone and How We Can Prosper Together


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