Did seeing the dogs and water hoses night in and night out on network television in the early 1960’s, motivate white people to support the Civil Rights Movement? Or, did white people merely get sick and tired of the nightly broadcast television interruptions of Negroes being bitten by police dogs, sprayed by powerful fire water hoses, and beaten bloody and to death by the cops’ Billy clubs?
I think the answer to this question lies in the tensed racial climate in today’s America. Police brutality, injustice, media bias, intolerance, privilege, religious intolerance, domestic terrorism, racism, prejudice, homophobia, xenophobia, and every other type of other phobia is running rampant in America with white people being the primary perpetrators of these hateful beliefs and practices, that they primarily perpetrate on Black citizens and other American citizens of the Global Majority.
Today, it is much easier to change the television channel to one of the other one thousand cable channels or streaming services to simply ignore these atrocities. In the early 1960’s it wasn’t quite that convenient with only three network stations and one television in most households. Today, it is rare to see white people speak out against any of these atrocities except for homophobia. This is probably because they are just as subject to the hate and prejudices that any other homosexual receives. You might see the occasional white person here or there in a sea of dark-skinned people marching and protesting one of the hateful beliefs or practices I mentioned above.
It is estimated that only 25% of white people have more than just a casual or professional relationship with non-white people. You would think that that percentage would be extremely low with America’s reputation of being the “melting pot” and with the extremely fast growth rate of non-white people in America. The only thing these facts proves is that the browner the country gets; the more motivated white people become in segregating themselves. White flight, redlining, and gentrification are not figments of the imagination. Like the one thousand cable channels and streaming services, white flight, redlining, and gentrification may be just another way for white folks to get away from all these dark-skinned people so it’s much easier to ignore atrocities against human rights.
In no way I’m I trying to minimize the courage and contributions of white citizens like Goodman and Schwerner during Freedom Summer of 1964, but just because a bunch of white citizens demand legislation to change human and civil rights inequities, doesn’t necessarily mean it was an act of the heart. There’s been no other time in the history of the world where people has had so much access, almost instantly, to information. The growing incidences of all these hateful beliefs and practices proves that much of this information is ignored or interpreted to suit specific or personal agendas. Although I believe that some white people are calling the police on Black people for simply living while black, simply because they can get away with it, I also know that some of these illegal phone calls are made as a direct result of self-segregation and gentrification. In other words, more and more white people are panicking when they see Black people in their “spaces”. The revolution won’t be televised.