Today, we celebrate Juneteenth to commemorate the emancipation of our ancestors who were enslaved and highlight the amazing contributions of Black Americans across the globe.
Here in South Carolina, peaceful protests continue and some of our white brothers and sisters are now asking how they can be part of the solution. One way is to stand up and speak out about the injustices and inequities that have come to light. Another way is to help restructure and reform the institutions that have oppressed and discriminated against black people for decades.
Sadly, many of our government and corporate leaders are not only comfortable with the racism that continues to wreak havoc on communities of color, they’re emboldened to stand firmly in their own hatred, bigotry and indifference.
For example, SC Treasurer Curtis Loftis is an elected official who oversees billions of our state’s public money. Last week wasn’t the first time he has posted and later removed a racist social media rant. And as vile as his recent post was, I decided that neither he nor his post was worthy of a response. But then, the SCGOP Chair weighed in with, “I’d like someone to tell me what they disagree with in his post.”
So…let’s start with Treasurer Loftis’ opening line, “I was born a free man and I am reclaiming my freedom…”
My ancestors weren’t born free. And centuries later, we still aren’t.
Not sure how you can reclaim something you’ve never lost. Part of your “white privilege” includes never having to affirm that your life matters. Never having to worry about being profiled, detained, harassed or threatened by police because of the color of your skin or followed in a store while trying to make a purchase…or having a white woman clutch her purse at just the sight of you approaching on the sidewalk…or whether you’ll make it home alive after an afternoon jog, quick trip to the store, night out with friends or ride to a Wendy’s drive-thru.
And when you say, you’re “tired of being a second-class citizen…”
Do you mean second-class like Ahmaud Arbery, who was hunted down like a wild animal and murdered in broad daylight because he was jogging while black? Or second-class like Philando Castile, who was killed by 5 of 7 shots fired at close range, seconds after telling the officer he had a license to carry a concealed weapon? Or maybe you mean second-class like 12-year old Tamir Rice, who was gunned down by police from their patrol car, seconds after they arrived at the park where he played?
Sounds like you’re just tired of being forced to look at the carnage of your own hatred. George Floyd’s face is on every major media outlet. A constant reminder of your metaphoric “knees on our necks” and the countless unarmed black men and women whose senseless murders sparked the global unrest that is the source of your inconvenience.
And to what “mindless chants” are you referring?
“I can’t breathe” or “Black Lives Matter?”
Either way, your privilege allows you to use a public-funded position to perpetuate your hatred for black and brown people. That’s probably why you’ve outsourced the management of untold billions of dollars in public funds. Wonder how many of those fund-management firms you’ve chosen are owned by people of color.
As a State Senator, I can’t change your heart, but what I can do is formally request that the Legislative Audit Council investigate and evaluate the EEOC numbers for the State Treasurer’s Office, including fund-management opportunities that have been awarded to firms owned by people of color in the 10 years you’ve been State Treasurer.
In the meantime, here are a couple of ways we can keep our “hands off your wallet.”
Just refund the portion of your $92,000 salary that black and brown tax-payers pay.
As owner and president of Home Pest Control Company, Inc., stop marketing to and taking money from the very communities you loathe, since your residential and commercial customers include black and brown people who have absolutely no idea how you really feel about them.
Guess that’s why you’ve recently deleted your company’s name from your online profile. But, a screenshot is worth a thousand words.
Knowledge is power, Mr. Loftis. And I have to believe that when black and brown people across SC know who you really are, our votes and our money will be cast and spent, accordingly.
John 8:32 says, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Truth is…our black lives matter. Our votes matter. Our money matters.
So today, we’re celebrating those truths and reclaiming our God-given freedom. Happy Juneteenth, South Carolina!