Florida racial incident: The Deadly Consequences of Political Extremism

14,317 views 7 mins 0 Comments
Florida racial incident: The Deadly Consequences of Political Extremism

Hateful speech breeds a hateful culture, a political and social Petri dish. The words we use become the actions we take. What happened in Florida is no different.

Sunday saw the continuation of law enforcement’s investigation into the mass shooting that occurred on Saturday at a Dollar General Store in Jacksonville, Florida.

The sheriff of Jacksonville, Florida, said that on Saturday, a man who “hated Black people” killed Angela Michelle Carr, Jerrald Gallion, and Anolt Joseph Laguerre Jr. at a Dollar General store.

You aren’t paying attention if this development came as a shock to you. Every day, politicians in high positions in Florida use nasty language in public. From the governor on down to the past president, anti-Black history, anti-wokeness, anti-trans, anti-immigrant sentiment runs rampant.

Edward Waters University, which is the essence of the very history and stories that Ron DeSantis, the governor, and others are saying are bad for America, is where the shooter apparently put on his vest and mask. The gunman likely went there after being indoctrinated with hate speech by extremist politicians and religious leaders, and as a result, he or she may have been motivated to take violent action against school staff and pupils.

The Birth of a Nation was reputedly recommended to Woodrow Wilson’s staff as “history written in lightning” by Wilson himself. After returning Black troops from World War One were targeted for brutal execution during the subsequent Red Summer. A newspaper journalist named Wayne Greenhaw described George Wallace’s “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever” inaugural address as “vehement… mean spirited… hateful.” Wallace served as governor of Alabama for four terms and incited violence with his divisive language. Like the hiss of a rattlesnake, almost.

Southern governors were vocal in their opposition to the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. They warned that it would lead to the sexual assault of young white women. After that, what happened? Assasins killed Emmett Till.

In 2013, a state senator made racist comments about our involvement during Moral Monday rallies. In just a few days, I was receiving death threats. More recently, Trump’s divisive rhetoric helped spark the uprising of January 6.

Let’s be honest: this is nothing new. And we have no choice but to face it head-on now.

When politicians like DeSantis depict “wokeness” and diversity as problems, they follow in the footsteps of violent figures like Wallace, who sowed the seeds of bigotry by appealing to voters’ baser instincts.

Dr. Eddie Glaude, a writer and professor, has pointed out that the original March on Washington was so powerful because it was sandwiched between two acts of racist violence: the sicking of dogs on children in Birmingham and the bombing of a church containing four young girls.

Those involved in the civil rights struggle were aware of the challenges they faced. They were well aware that there were powerful and dangerous opponents to the policies they were fighting for. They were also fighting for economic problems like equal access to excellent jobs. They were aware of the aggressive nature of their culture.

We must not become complacent. As they did, we must acknowledge that this is a fight for democracy and civilisation.

You would have seen that if you watched the Republican debate from last week. The pace is picking up. Healthcare for the poor isn’t even being discussed. They only know how to attack, attack, attack when it comes to matters of culture.

We must remain focused and expose the true nature of the fearmongers. Distracting as they may be, cultural conflicts can have severe consequences. They sow the seeds of hatred and justify bigotry. They breed hatred until it shows up not just in words but in people’s actions.

To put it another way, “death and life are in the power of the tongue,” and “those who love it will eat its fruit.” The power of the tongue is truly limitless; it may bring about rebirth, harmony, and love, or it can bring about a nightmare like what happened in Jacksonville this past weekend.

After we have grieved and buried the dead, we must unite with the political forces of love and justice to remove from office and exile the advocates of hatred and the advocates of laws that make firearms more accessible than education.

We need a massive voter registration drive and mobilization effort. It doesn’t matter what party you support; we all agree that people who abuse their power in government should be removed from office. Although they have the same views, they do not have equal access to the same podium.

Promoters of violence are elected when voter turnout is low. The populace stays at home, and radicals rise to power. When extremists are in charge, they will exploit every opportunity to further polarize the population using the power of the microphone. They’ve been following this policy ever since former president Richard Nixon initiated the so-called southern strategy. They dubbed it “positive polarization” and tried to set previously allied poor whites and Blacks against each other regardless of the repercussions.

We need individuals from all over the country to band together to form a voting bloc of love that can effectively counteract the political influence of hate.