• Carmen Milligan

Blood-soaked soil

The more I think about and consider the racial divide in my country, the more I have to look to history to fully understand what is happening.

The first question is why did Europeans come to America in the first place? It is commonly accepted that it was to find economic opportunity and to escape religious persecution. It is well documented that the Vikings had numerous conflicts with the indigenous Inuit when they come over long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. But if we skip to Columbus, we start to see the seeds of greed, lust for power, and fight for the land and resources that would bring both.

And why would Europeans come over to escape religious freedom, only to seek to convert the "savages" they encountered in North America? Didn't they see that they were doing the same thing from which they had escaped?

We haven't changed much, have we? Basically, even today, if you do not look like a white man, you are less. You have fewer opportunities, make less money, have less status. We even had to amend our Constitution, federal laws, and state laws to allow women to vote, abolish slavery, and establish equal rights and protection for all people. The Amendment for equal rights and protection, the 14th Amendment, is the most litigated part of our Constitution. Why? The people in power don't like change.

The preamble to the Constitution starts with, ""We, the people of the United States". Instead, what it should say is, "This handful of white, powerful men"...and go on from there. Because they were the only ones to whom the document applied. Minorities couldn't own land, have a bank account, vote, serve on a jury. Who could? White men.

This country was founded by white men, for white men. Everyone else was here for their comfort, security, pleasure, wealth, and everything else they needed. White men were to be served.

And look around. Isn't it still like this? Colin Kaepernick can take a knee on a fricking football field, and he is "disrespecting the flag"; but scores of white men can paint the flag's colors on their faces and naked chests, wear clothing depicting the flag, and carry the flag while they are storming the United States Capitol, standing on the furniture, and defecating in the offices of our elected officials. That's not disrespecting the flag? That is being patriotic?

Europeans came to America to escape persecution, then slaughtered Native Americans. SLAUGHTERED them. If they didn't die through overwork, slavery, rape, and starvation, they were killed by diseases to which they had no immunity: small pox, influenza, and malaria. During the French and Indian War, military leaders were instructed to "use every stratagem in our power to reduce them.” The President of the United States, Andrew Jackson, defied an order from the United States Supreme Court, and issued the "Indian Removal Act". Why? White men needed that land, of course. It didn't matter that these indigenous peoples had families, had lived on that land for hundreds of years, and considered it sacred. White men had more firepower, so white men won.

And, now. Breonna Taylor was asleep in her bed when she was shot by a police officer. An Indian grandfather visiting his family was thrown down on the sidewalk, breaking his back, by a police officer, because he didn't understand English and what the officer was yelling at him to do. A black woman was eating an ice cream cone in her car, sitting in the parking lot, because the dining room was closed. Someone called police to say that she was threatening another woman with a gun. Police arrived, and she was pulled from her car, forced to her knees, and held at gunpoint while another officer searched her car. Oh, and she was 8 months pregnant. What did the search find? No weapon. Do you think for ONE MINUTE any of these things would have happed to ME?!

When is it going to be NOT OKAY that this is happening at all? What are you doing to enact change? White people need to stand with their fellow Americans, lift up one another, help one another, and stop the petty bickering. You are not better than I am. I am not better than you are. We are both human, and we need one another to survive.

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