Opinion: People deserve respect


Marcus Rogers

Members of the Prairie News sit together during a training while advisor Nancy Garcia and WT staff, Rick Andersen, work to fix some technological difficulties. From right to left: Blass Guerrero, Jolina Lopez, Kaylee Jo Neeley, Filiberto Avila and Jeanine Fabri.

The Prairie News is a student-led free press organization. All opinions expressed herein are solely those of the writer and not those of WTAMU.

In light of further questions surrounding the recent “OP/ED: WT and the support of a white supremacist, in 2022” I feel that, as the author of the article, several key points need to be addressed for clarity.

White supremacy is a complex social structure that impacts everyone. Whether you’re a white person or a person of color, white supremacy is a part of our culture. This structure has multiple facets and there are several different types of people and actions that are involved in this system. There is no single person at blame for white supremacy, however there is blame to be directed at those in power that do not stand up for marginalized people.

Ronny Jackson, the feature for the article, is an elected representative that holds power. He is serving in the United House of Representatives as the representative for Texas Congressional District 13. This district includes thousands of different people, but the majority of the voting population is white and live in rural communities. People of the Texas Panhandle, who elected him, are working-class people that hold bias. Everyone holds a bias, including myself. However, the decision to deny or accept a part of yourself and your beliefs is a decision that determines what side of history you’re on.

Racism is the visible effect of white supremacy. White supremacy is the overall structure that encompasses the different actions of racial fear. Actions range from acts of violence to microaggressions. Also, people can be white supremacists and not be visibly racist, because they are still upholding the structure of white supremacy. My belief over Congressman Jackson voting against H.R.8404, the “Respect for Marriage Act ” is that it’s an act of violence. My beliefs don’t discriminate; I believe that people in power like Joe Biden, Donald Trump, and so many other people in our government and society are white supremacists. Please do not disregard me as a person who is filled with hatred, I came to this conclusion long ago from my lived experiences and I choose to love people.

Voting against this bill means that you support the reversal of interracial marriage, the reversal of Loving v. Virginia. The people who are given the power to vote for these rules and laws are not everyday folks. They are powerful people that never have to interact with us. We, working-class people, are powerless in the face of these actions when we must follow the rules that they force us to follow. People in positions of power, whether that be police officers, mayors, presidents of universities, reporters and so many others have the responsibility to be biased against structures of white supremacy.

There is a danger in showing respect for people who commit acts of violence against people that you supposedly care about. The danger is that some people will not be protected when there is a need for solidarity.

I do not believe that under our current state of affairs this will be accomplished. Only when we remove the disease at the source will people be able to live. You don’t need to have complex ideas to have a meaningful impact in your community, but you do have to be conscious of the choices that you make.

To be anti-racist means putting a target on your back. The same way that a target was painted on the backs of indigenous people when white settlers of America and Europe violated treaties signed to protect their way of life. The same way that targets were put on the backs of Black people who were forced to come to this country and to be forced into chattel slavery. The same targets that are on our Muslim brothers and sisters who had no role in the actions of 9/11. Being anti-racist means acknowledging the past and continuing in your journey to make the world a better place for everyone.

Very few people in power do the right thing, as money, influence, and politics impact their decisions. It’s up to the collective to determine how to respond to people in power who fail to do their job.

Every day working-class people have to get out of bed and go to work to be alive. If they fail then the security of life, at least in our society, is threatened. People lose their homes, their livelihoods and their lives if they fail to do their job. People in power need to follow the same rules that working-class people have to follow every single day.

I do not fully blame Congressman Jackson for the failure to protect Black people, people of color, queer people and others to the extent that we would protect ourselves. I blame the system of white supremacy that forces working-class people to save themselves so that they will not be pushed aside or chastised.

American society is built upon the American myth, pulling yourself up by your bootstraps, but if you look at that argument it makes no sense. Why must we go the extra mile to exist safely? People shouldn’t have to yell and scream to live, and yet we must struggle out of bed every day to put food in our mouths. Society has evolved and yet the wealthiest and most privileged people in society get to continuously ignore the fights that working-class people face every day.

White supremacy is just one problem in our system and its interests always intersect with power and politics. Not standing up for people because of “politics” is a conscious choice to side with the oppressor.