Jon Edwards: Racist attitude in Rapid City is far from imaginary

Cartoon by Ricardo Cate / Without Reservations

Jon Edwards addresses the racist mistreatment of Indian students at a hockey game in Rapid City, South Dakota:
When I read on social media last weekend of how 57 Oglala Lakota children (and the human race in general), was disrespected by what boils down to a hate crime, I was initially full of hatred and disgust. I thought to myself, well, this is the prevalent attitude of race relations in that city, in the State of South Dakota, the Midwest, and in some form or another, this country, this continent, this planet. There is nothing I can do about it. My first instinct was to drive to Rapid City and go look for one of the guys responsible for this act, and break his nose.

This attitude in Rapid City, in this region, is not imaginary. It is very real, this attitude that one person’s skin color is superior to another person’s. It’s in the hospitals, the schools, the police department, the fire department, the mall, the civic center, and on the streets. It’s everywhere. It’s a fact of life.

Now mind you, although there are racist people in all of these places, there are also people who don’t hold this kind of hatred in their hearts. There are also good people who are not bigots who work in the hospitals, the police department, the fire department, and so on.

Nevertheless, racism is an everyday reality. It is in the undercurrent of race relations in you, Rapid City. It’s in you, Mobridge. It’s in you, Bismarck. It’s in you, Pierre. It’s in you: Timber Lake, Newell, Spearfish, Sturgis, Belle Fourche, Harding County, Hermosa, Midland, McIntosh, Eagle Butte, Little Eagle, McLaughlin, Fort Yates, Pine Ridge, Rosebud, Sisseton, Flandreau, and so on. It’s in you: Sioux Falls, Billings, Minneapolis, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wyoming, America.…do you catch my drift? That it’s in you, right now. Can you feel it? Can you read between the lines and feel what I’m really saying to you?

It’s in you, and its finally boiling over, and it is about time. If the D.A. hadn’t stepped in and filed charges, if they don’t get convictions, if this incident goes unpunished and is swept back into the current, like so many in the past, then perhaps Rapid City you will boil over, because a line was crossed bringing children into this, and it is not acceptable. Perhaps it’s the right time, now, for things to begin to change. Perhaps it’s the right time for certain groups of people to realize what’s inside of you, and pull it out.

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Jon Edwards: Racism Should Burn To the Ground (Last Real Indians 2/6)

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