In Jacksonville, Florida, a white man shot and killed three Black people simply for existing while Black.
It’s important that we talk about it in these terms.
I’ve already seen “mainstream” media spinning this as “racially motivated,” which I think is a whole lot of extra characters when “racist” is right there.
The Jacksonville shooting was a racist action, and it’s OK to say that. In fact, not saying it is a disservice to those who died.
The shooter’s manifesto detailed his hate for Black people.
The shooting was anti-Black.
Anti-Black racism is as American as apple pie. It built America. It has always been there. It is both out in the open and living on the down low, but it is always there.
It is one of America’s guiding principles, whether AmeriKKKa wants to admit that or not.
White people made everything about race
White people frequently tell us that we “make everything about race.”
They use it like some sort of “gotcha!” to derail any type of discussion on race, racism, or racial justice.
Never mind that the entire construct of race was conceptualized by white people in order to make themselves “superior” over everyone else.
They don’t want to talk about that part. Instead, they would rather use a twisted form of DARVO to make a villain out of anyone who brings up racism, white supremacy, white privilege, or whiteness. In their eyes, the problem isn’t racism, white supremacy, white privilege or whiteness; the problem is that we “darkies” won’t stop talking about it.
Their skin is so thin, and their egos are so fragile, that they have to legislate not talking truthfully about race and racism in order to create an environment where whiteness, white supremacy, and racism can exist and thrive unchecked.
Ron DeSantis makes it OK to be anti-Black in Florida
Consider the “Stop W.O.K.E.” legislation proposed by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis.
In his words, the “Stop the Wrongs to Our Kids and Employees Act will be the strongest legislation of its kind.”
Which kids? Which employees?
We know for sure it’s neither Black children nor Black employees.
The rest of the proposed legislation makes that blatantly clear. It prohibits the factual teaching of American history in Florida schools, and it bans any type of diversity or harassment training in the workplace that would discuss the impacts or history of American anti-Black racism.
Ron DeSantis is basically calling us the N-word in that legislation.
The wording in that legislation is very clear; he is protecting the fragility of whiteness.
He is also gaslighting Black people and denying our lived and historical experiences in this country.
Ron DeSantis is anti-Black, and he is legislating anti-Blackness.
Ron DeSantis makes it OK to be anti-Black in Florida.
The mistreatment of the Black children at Bunnell Elementary School
It is in the context of Ron DeSantis legislating anti-Blackness that we must view the mistreatment of the Black children at Bunnell Elementary School in Flagler County, Florida.
In case you missed it, Bunnell Elementary School pulled all of its Black fourth and fifth graders into an assembly and told them they were responsible for the school’s low scores on state assessments, and it put them in the position of fixing the problem, incentivizing them by offering a meal at McDonald’s if they were one of the students who did well on the tests.
That’s the short version of the story,
The longer version of the story involves understanding that no students of any other race attended a similar assembly, nor were they also held accountable for low scores on the tests.
An anti-Black PowerPoint presentation
The Black students were shown a PowerPoint presentation that identified them as the “problem” in the school’s low test scores and indicated that Black children had underperformed on state assessments for the last three years, and here is where I remind everyone that if students are consistently performing poorly on exams, that is not a failure on the part of the Black children; that is a failure of the system (whiteness) they are navigating in.
Nowhere in the PowerPoint presentation did it offer up a solution to the low scores. There were no bullet points that identified how the faculty and staff at the school were going to step up to make sure the children have what they need.
According to the presentation, only 32% of Bunnell students were meeting or exceeding the minimum scores required on the state assessments; the school is required to have at least 41% of students passing the tests.
The students were told they would have to commit to getting better scores on the tests but weren’t given any tools for success. Instead, they were told they would be thrown into a “bracket” in which they would compete against each other in pairs, and the student who got the better scores and grades would be rewarded with “a meal from McDonalds [sic].”
Keep in mind that every single Black student was forced to endure this presentation — even those who are already meeting or exceeding the state minimums.
Blaming Black children is questionable; the numbers don’t add up
School board officials have since apologized for the incident and vow to make things right, but how exactly they plan to do that remains to be seen.
In the meantime, the damage has been done. The entire debacle is anti-Black at its very core.
I’m not the greatest at math or anything, but if 68% of the students at Bunnell are not meeting the state standards for education, how is it you can lay that squarely on the shoulders of the Black children? Especially when there are Black children who are meeting or exceeding the standards?
Flagler County Schools in general has scored low on assessment tests, which is why it made news earlier this summer when scores in the district improved. Bunnell’s scores are the lowest in the district.
It is worth noting that Flagler County was the last county in the state of Florida to desegregate, and desegregation only came when it was mandated by federal law.
The separate and unequal treatment of Black children in Flagler County is nothing new, but they probably aren’t allowed to learn that since their governor wants the teaching of accurate history to be illegal.
I’ll assume this means even if said “history” is a current event.
But we have to consider the anti-Blackness of it all, and we have to consider how the anti-Black rhetoric of people like Ron DeSantis leads to an emboldened base that feels comfortable in being anti-Black — even in situations that may directly harm Black children.
Anti-Black rhetoric and anti-Black actions breed anti-Black violence
When you live in a state where the governor legislates anti-Blackness, it stands to reason you will feel comfortable acting on your anti-Black urges.
No matter how many times Ron DeSantis stands up to “condemn” the shooting, please understand that his actions speak louder than his words.
He has fostered an environment where whiteness feels entirely comfortable being aggressively and openly anti-Black. He has created a sunny Utopia for anti-Black white supremacists to flourish. He is repeatedly telling his base — through both words and actions — that he is as anti-Black as they are, and he’s going to do all that he can to uphold white supremacy.
And he’s running for president.
I don’t want to imagine what that would look like, but then again, maybe I don’t have to.
It kind of feels like we are already there, and we have been there since the groundwork was laid in 2016.
Donald Trump walked so Ron DeSantis could run a marathon.
At the end of the day, both of these stories are going to become footnotes to the “mainstream” media, and they likely never make it to the inside of a textbook because the way Ron DeSantis and his anti-Black racism are set up, it will be illegal to teach it.
We need to make sure the stories of the Black children at Bunnell Elementary school and those of Angela Michelle Carr, 52; A.J. Laguerre, 19; and Jerrald Gallion, 29, are never forgotten.
These stories have an incredible relevancy to the current anti-Black movement making its way across America.
To allow these stories to die would be anti-Black.
Monique Judge is a storyteller, content creator and writer living in Los Angeles. She is a word nerd who is a fan of the Oxford comma, spends way too much time on Twitter, and has more graphic t-shirts than you. Follow her on Twitter @thejournalista or check her out at moniquejudge.com.
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