Wait, what happened?
On what is normally marked as a day of loving kindness ended in tragedy at a high school on Parkland, Florida. On February 14, 2018, at least 17 people were killed after a teenager opened fire with a semiautomatic rifle (AR-15). The suspect is identified as 19-year old Nikolas Cruz, a young white man whom Donald Trump refused to call a domestic terrorist but quickly pivoted to “mental disturbance.”
You seem untroubled about this, Danyelle.
You’d think I’d write this with more emotion but the reality is this it he 29th mass shooting in the United States in 2018. If you’re doing the math, you’ve concluded that we’re only a mere 46 days into 2018. While some of us struggle against our desensitization of merciless gun violence, others are in the comments sections of every news story singing their well-worn chorus, “we don’t need to change gun laws, guns don’t kill people, people kill people.” Of course, Cruz was apprehended alive. Good thing he hadn’t done something horrific like sell loose cigarettes or get pulled over for a traffic stop.
Well, don’t we have to speak out about these things?
We go through this cycle every shooting: news emerges and abysmal career politicians in congress tweet their “thoughts and prayers” while enjoying the accoutrements of the National Rifle Association’s Political Victory Fund, a reward for their “A”-rating voting records against gun policy reforms. We, the sensible people across the political spectrum, continue to ask what it will take for gun reform to finally happen. Lather. Rinse. Repeat.
Well what are YOU going to do about it, Danyelle?
Well, Friends, I’m pleased to announce that I finally have the solution. If you want to quickly reform gun laws, reduce or eliminate mass murders, and bring a sense of peace to America, you needn’t look any further than employing racism.
If you want to quickly reform gun laws, reduce or eliminate mass murders, and bring a sense of peace to America, we only need to use our familiar friend: racism
Wait, what? Are you saying racism can be a GOOD thing?
You see, like violence, racism is as American as Apple Pie. And damn it do Americans LOVE their Apple Pie. Violence is quite literally the American way: the slaughtering of Indigenous Americans on the Trail of Tears; the theft, rape, destruction, and murder of Black bodies in the Transatlantic slave trade; The lynching, hosing, and immolation of Black [and defending white] bodies during Jim Crow; The destruction of thriving Black communities from postbellum to present day; The imprisonment of Japanese bodies in Concentration Camps. Well, I think you get it by now: White America really, really loves violence.
But you know what White America loves more? The preservation of socioeconomic power and all the privileges whiteness embodies. Enter stage left: the power of racism.
You know what America loves more than its guns? The preservation of socioeconomic power and all the privileges whiteness embodies.
Explain it to me like I’m 5, Danyelle.
You see, the (white male) powers that be in this country will never act in the best interest of the entire population until there is a threat that encroaches on the freedom and power of white men. You needn’t look further than American history of drug regulation to know this.
Are you telling me that drugs aren’t outlawed just because they’re bad?
Haven’t you ever wondered why we must now lobby to “legalize it” with cannabis? Turns out, it’s because of racism. The prohibition of Marijuana, pushed by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (the predecessor to the DEA) because of its “effects on the degenerate races.” With their fearless leader at the helm, Harry Anslinger, these racist beliefs were institutionalized, making its prohibition a top priority. Here are just a few of his most famous (and most racist) quotes:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” 
Even the term marijuana is rooted in racism. The word, which began as a Mexican slang term for cannabis, was popularized in the US by racist-ass William Randolph Hearst. He was so committed to the prohibition of cannabis because – wait for it – it threatened his timber investment . I mean, I did just tell you white men only respond when their power is threatened. Anyway, he published many patently false and salacious stories about Black and Brown men’s usage of cannabis. And, well, the rest is history. White men found a way to regain power with cannabis sales and Black/Brown bodies continue to languish in prisons over canna-convictions. Ooh, delicious.
Okay but some states are legalizing weed. So what?
Well then there’s the prohibition of opium, first by local law in San Francisco (1875) and by the feds in 1909. Smoking Opium was targeted as illegal because it was a habit of Chinese men. White men were convinced that Chinese men were luring White women into opium dens for sex. Of course, the 1909 Anti-Opium act only made smoking it illegal. Exceptions for opium use in drinking or tincture form were made. It’s only a minor coincidence that those consumption methods were common among white folks. 
And it doesn’t stop there. Cocaine regulations were enforced in 1914, linking the drug to violent, anti-social behavior in Blacks. Prison sentencing disparities are a secret to no one. Of course, we can’t forget the sudden “public health” crisis of White America’s opiate usage while the crack epidemic of the 80s was merely a personal and “bad” community problem for Black Americans.
So how can RACISM fix the gun problem in America, Danyelle?
Well it’s quite simple: if more people of color, especially Black people, start applying for gun licenses, purchasing guns, and applying for NRA memberships, we’d see gun law reform in a matter of months. The arming of Black bodies is an imminent threat to the bastion of white male power. If we organized a National Minority Gun Registration Day, we’d have gun laws in place by next Monday that would better protect this nation’s children.
So Annie Antoinette, get your gun. Black folks must save this country – yet again.
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