The hardest part about being black or any kind of minority in America is, America always wants to change the rules right around the time we start coming up. Every chance we’ve taken to knock down a wall has seemingly stood in front of an even higher, invisible and yet movable wall. Whether it’s economic, legislative or social walls, they’re always there. The intertwining of white supremacy, and the growing moat it keeps enlarging to keep us away from the great American Dream, has many minorities feeling as if we’re fighting an ever moving target. Each time we get the target’s center in our scopes, it somehow gets moved as if we don’t see them moving it. Each step we advance toward it, they methodically change its location. I’ve yet to figure out why such lengths are kept to hold a particular people group in bondage for so long. In all sincerity I’ve got it figured out pretty clearly but that’s for another, much longer, far more pointed piece.
The 2021 national elections were a perfect setup for this very thing. Throughout the country, Minorities and liberal whites showed up in record numbers to select Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as the next leaders of this nation. That sent a very clear message that we can legitimately determine the course of our local and national elections. The most surprising election took place in Georgia when 2 Democratic Senators were elected, thereby altering the makeup and power structure of the U.S. Senate.
In Georgia this past week, as no surprise to me or many other minorities, the Republican-controlled state legislature imposed an even stricter voting law. This law includes redefining which documents will be accepted for voter identification, absentee balloting restrictions, limiting the number of ballot drop boxes and it even went so far as to forbid handing out water and snacks to voters waiting in line. About this, President Biden said, “This is Jim Crow in the 21st century, it must end.” Black leaders around the country have said this law targets black and brown voters and is a battle for equity and representation. In addition, more than 24 Republican-led states are pushing forth bills which attack the right to and the process by which one votes. With great consistency, most of these new laws target mostly minority communities.
There is an obvious attack on the minority right to vote in this country. Whether it be to reduce the number of ballot drop boxes, remove post office sorting machines to delay the mail sorting process, question the legitimacy of a state’s ballot count or hand out water and snacks to those who choose to vote in person, the attack is appalling in its scantily-clad arrogance to uphold voter suppression. If you question who’s behind it, re-examine the January 6 events at the U.S. Capitol and who carried them out. The insurrectionists weren’t there to raise their voices to secure everyone’s right to vote or to support the legitimacy of the electoral process. By and large, they were white supremacists who were mad as hell that they were outnumbered by minorities and liberal whites and even madder that their one-term deity had to pack up and go back to Florida. And if they couldn’t win the election legitimately, they were determined to storm the Capitol to ensure that those who were freely elected could not be confirmed. And if they took out a few cops and senators in the interim, so be it. America, F-yeah!
So now what? The election’s over, Biden’s President and Georgia has 2 Democratic Senators. I know. How bout they change the laws, state by state, to make sure something like this never happens again? Introducing the latest Ever Moving Target. Exhibit A: We targeted slavery and got freed from it. That was followed by the Black Codes of the South which restricted our movements and forbid us the right to vote. Exhibit B: We protested for the right to vote and received it. We use our voices to vote and, again, they move the target to make it even harder for us to vote in future elections. This has to be stopped.
Built on the free and cheap-labored backs of minorities, America must be coerced, even if by one vote and one scream at a time, to tear down the poisonous buttresses which hold up the walls of white supremacy. With that in mind, our white brothers and sisters, who see what’s going on, are going to have to consistently stand up and say something about the ills of our land. To simply stand in the shadows and give ear and money to “the cause” is not enough. It’s actually tantamount to doing nothing at all. And for many of us that’s one of the hardest pill to swallow.
You count us as friends but, as you move in silence, your walls are the hardest to knock down.
Scott Mayo is a 35-year, Grammy-nominated studio musician and record producer who resides in Pasadena.