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Perspective: Racial Groundhog's Day

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Tumisu
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Pixabay

I love movies. One of my favorites is Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray. Basically, it’s about a weatherman who must once again begrudgingly report on Groundhog’s Day in Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. He wakes the morning of the eponymous holiday to Sonny and Cher’s “I Got You Babe” and goes on his day. 24 hours later, the loop begins, and he finds himself repeating the day, incessantly.

Unfortunately, sometimes Groundhog’s Day is real.

On May 14, an angry White male executed a racially motivated mass shooting at a grocery store in a predominantly Black Buffalo, New York neighborhood, killing 10 people. The shooting was planned and the shooter left a manifesto, explaining that his act of violence was based on the White replacement conspiracy theory. This theory basically argues that White folks are being purposefully replaced by immigrants and the growing racial diversity in the US.

Charleston, El Paso, Pittsburgh, San Diego, and on. A lone White supremist shoots up a public place. He kills a number of minorities. The media issues wall to wall coverage. The pundits, like me, get called for interviews. Investigations and commissions are called. Reports are issued. The news cycle dies down. People wonder what they can do or read to understand. And then we move on. And then, a lone White supremist shoots up a public place, and Groundhog’s Day restarts.

It is exhausting that we see these crimes against humanity happen so regularly but as a nation we seem to not move too much beyond our self-righteous indignations. It is the epitome of frustration. But, just like the Bill Murray’s character, I will wake up again and do it all over again, except without the romantic interest or humor.

I am Joseph Flynn and that is my perspective.

Joseph Flynn is an associate professor of curriculum and instruction and Associate Director for Academic Affairs for the Center for Black Studies at Northern Illinois University.