What Does It Really Mean?
Once upon a time, there was a young teenage girl named Sybil Ludington. She was only 16 years old when she set out on horseback at 9pm on the night of April 26th, 1777. By the time she had completed her mission around daybreak, having rode on horse over 10 hours, she had covered nearly 40 miles through upstate New York and outside Danbury, CT. What was her mission? To warn over 400 men they needed to defend themselves from the British troops who were about to secretly attack Danbury. As a result of her actions, the troops were able to push back the British and defend their colonial lands.
Not only did she receive personal thanks from both General George Washington and General Rochambeau, she has since been recognized an American Patriot. She braved rugged and dangerous roads, fighting off several men along her way, and all at only age 16! Thanks to her heroism and courage, the whole regiment was gathered by day break to organize the defense, and defeat the British in what would now be seen as the first battles of the American Revolution. Without the actions of Sybil Ludington, we may not ever have even been able to celebrate an Independence Day! I think we can all agree that Sybil was a great American Patriot, right?
WHAT IT REALLY MEANS: SYBIL LANDINGTON’S IMAGE:
Well, the British didn’t view her as an American Patriot, she was seen as a traitor. And, even though she traveled further and warned more troops than Paul Revere, it’s Revere’s ride that is remembered in the history books, not Sybil. So as we transition from celebrating Black History Month to Women’s Herstory Month, and the recent observance of President’s day, the idea of American Patriotism keeps coming to my mind. What does American Patriotism really mean, especially under the dark cloud of white privilege in Amerikkka today?
What it means today is that anyone who challenges white supremacy, especially male white privilege, ie Black Lives Matter, Standing Rock, the ACLU, or “nasty” women’s groups, is deemed “unpatriotic” and “unAmerican”. There are even t-shirts, bumper stickers, and signs that say, “My country, love it or leave it!” that have been used by white middle and working class folk for decades to protest the protesters! IRONY at it’s best!
There are so many things to say about white privilege today, but one that really stuck with me recently was when I watched two videos that came across my FB newsfeed the same day. One was a video of a white woman working out, which had thousands more views & likes than a video of Alicia Keys and other celebrities speaking out about police brutality against Black Americans. So why is the Black Lives Matter movement so offensive to many white people? Why is the public miseducated about the actual platform of the Black Lives Matter movement?
COMPARING YESTERDAY TO TODAY:
The BLM organizers and protestors are not armed, have not shot at police, and have only engaged in nonviolent protests and civil disobedience. They are not calling for overthrowing the government or an armed revolution. Their basic platform is to demand equality for blacks in jobs, housing, banking, education, protection from police and the criminal justice system. To me, these issues are as American and patriotic as baseball, the pledge of alligence, and apple pie. But because they are being requested on the behalf of brown and black folk, because the people asking for equal treatment are not white people, as those in the American revolution, and because they are making white people uncomfortable, they are painted as traitors to the American way of life.
Most white people don’t want to question American institutions or our way of life because we fear that by fighting for true equality, we have to sacrifice our own skin privilege. Too many white people buy into big-corporate media propaganda that the BLM movement is a threat, unAmerican, and unpatriotic. When in fact, if you actually read the BLM platform on their website, their actions and requests are benign compared to the colonists that started the American revolution itself!!
We as white people have a choice though! We can choose the media sources we listen to and we can choose to support groups and organizations who are doing their PATRIOTIC duty to fight for our civil rights. Now more than ever, it is time we ALL, white women & men look at all we have to gain by ending systemic and institutional racism. The proof of what happens when well-meaning white liberals look away from the fight is sitting in the White House and Congress as we speak! Who will be next? How much will we have to sacrifice for us to be WOKEN UP!? Let us stand in our PATRIOTIC DUTY to fight to end RACISM and SEXISM! No one is free when anyone is oppressed. The time is now!
Want to get involved and do something but not sure how? Subscribe to http://theblackmedia.org/category/christinascorner/, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow me on FB at https://www.facebook.com/christina.wallace.583 to learn more about what we white people can DO to end racism and bring true patriotism back to this nation! Viva la revolution!
– The Phoenix
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