I Surrender (Can I Raise a White Flag?)

Surrender, White People!: Our Unconditional Terms for Peace by D.L. Hughley and Doug Moe

I’m not sure it’s appropriate to wave a white flag right now, but I truly believe that we need to surrender under the conditions that D.L. Hughley and Doug Moe lay out for us in this brilliant book.

So here it is, my surrender.

I am doing this because . . .

“Peace and reconciliation will only happen . . . when white people surrender their unjust privileges and their delusions of ‘supremacy.’ Look your history in the face, put aside all your visions of superiority, open up your institutions so they benefit everyone in this nation, and join the rest of us as equals. That’s what I mean by surrender.”

Of course, we know Hughley as a comedian, and while this book has moments that will have you laughing out loud, it does so with a bright outlook for social change. The authors give us a brief history lesson to shed a light on systemic racism and awaken us to things we might never have considered before.

“There are people in America who think just not having slaves anymore was all we needed. Because you freed the slaves in 1865, we good. But it was a hundred years later before you gave us the ability to eat at the same restaurant as you. So you gave us freedom, but not a fork.

You gave us the right to not be slaves anymore, but then you changed the vagrancy laws, the housing laws, and the voting laws to make it almost impossible for us to really be free. All these changes were just designed to keep us slaves. You reincarnated the incarceration.”

I learned things while reading this book that I had never heard about before. We haven’t been taught much of the horrific history of the so-called free world. We certainly don’t learn about it in school.

“So our history books and yours don’t match up. What you’ve done is you’ve co-opted truth. These false notions get stuck over time and are never challenged. According to my history classes, we didn’t do anything but invent the peanut. I mean, the only black person I ever learned about in school was George Washington Carver.”

Here’s a great bit on statues.

“Let’s stop making bronze statues: it’s expensive and maybe racist. Why do we gotta keep all these statues forever anyway? Let’s make statues out of something easy to get rid of. Statues should be temporary, like your emotions. If you’re feeling so excited about someone that you want to put a statue up, you should put it up in something easy to knock down in case you change your mind. You know? It’s like a tattoo: you don’t get a tattoo for every girl you go out with. You might love somebody one day, but then things change . . .

That’s why we propose a time limit on statues. A statue of limitations. I mean a Statute of Statue Limitations. We gotta limit statues, is what I mean.

Let’s call it seven years. Seven years per statue, then you have to re-up. That way no one statue gets too comfortable clogging up a park where people don’t want it anymore. After seven years, give another statue a chance!”

What a great idea. I think we need to think about the same thing when naming buildings and schools. A school should never be named after a historical figure. I don’t think one should be named after the most upstanding proponent of education either. What happens when the school falls under bad leadership and earns a terrible reputation? Imagine renaming schools every seven years. Yipes!

This book was a great read. I think we need to surrender. We also need to consider that the most racist word might not be the n-word; at least not the on you are thinking.

“I really think that some people only believe you’re racist if you say “nigger.” But the most racist N-word I’ve ever heard is “no.” No, you can’t vote. No, you can’t own a home here. No, you can’t go to this school.”

Powerful words right there. It’s time for a change. Black Lives Matter. We all need to do the work to make this world a better one for everyone. Let’s topple the structures that are in place that are inherently racist. It’s time to wake up, take action, and raise the white flag (and not that one – I mean a plain white flag.) Let’s surrender, white people!