Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dear White Americans Who Don’t “Get” Race/Racism

Greetings RLWT readers!! Ya'll already know I couldn't just let that verdict last weekend slide and not write anything about it. While I was gathering my thoughts I came across the article below and felt like this man completely nailed it. So rather than try to top him I think what he had to say about it will convey my point to the masses maybe better than I could have.

Just so that he also gets proper credit please see the bottom for the original link to his post and his blog.
Thanks for reading

Dear White Americans Who Don’t “Get” Race/Racism

(Unnecessary disclaimer: This is not a letter to all White Americans, but it’s for those who “don’t see color” or who feel that we are post-racial in America, think racism is a thing of the past that ended with the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, Amendments 13-15 of the U.S. Constitution, the Civil Rights Act, the Voting Rights Act [which was just gutted to remove racial protection enforcement], President Obama’s elections, or any other law or event that somehow magically changed the hearts and minds of Americans. We are not post-racial and y’all really aren’t the proper authority to teach minorities about what is or is not racism in America.)

Dear White Americans Who Don’t “Get” Race/Racism:
I know that it’s hard to explain racism these days. I mean, with the absence of Jim Crow laws and slavery mandates, it’s hard to see racism clearly.
Racism is a gut feeling that something is wrong; an intuition, if you will. But most times, it’s not an intuition that is felt by you, white American who doesn’t “get” what racism is. Racism is associated with power and the ability to oppress others to the point of setting up self-propelled societal systems in which more power flows to one particular group than another. Most minorities don’t have that power unless they are in a management position at a job in which you work under them. What you may feel most times, however, is prejudice. Other races can be prejudiced against you to automatically assume that you prepare bland foods, maintain a washcloth-free irregular bathing schedule, constantly place bewildering and complicated food orders despite a long line behind you, have good credit, have a lot of money, or that you can’t dance on-beat. Social awkwardness, yes. However, none of these prejudices lead to your being part of a group that is maligned in society and thought the worst of enough to have a legal system validate that perception and do things like incarcerate you four times more than someone else of another race for the same crime.
You might believe that I’m a violent suspect by nature and that I am a thug when I wear my hoodie in the rain while walking back to my own home. George Zimmerman racially profiled Trayvon Martin and aside from wannabe white Republicans like Clarence Thomas and attention-seeking @GOPBlackChick from Twitter, most of George Zimmerman’s supporters are conservative white people. Generally, black folks are mad about the verdict and what it represents about the justice system as well as how race was used in the event that killed Trayvon Martin. We know that the way the facts were laid out and presented by the less-than-stellar job the prosecution did could have resulted, at best (according to instructions and Florida law), in a mistrial and felt that it probably was going to end up with a not guilty verdict, but no, we cannot simply let it go because of the overarching problem the entire trial and verdict represents. Are you getting it yet? Rest in peace, Trayvon Martin.
Telling me that race doesn’t matter in the justice system’s application of said justice, or that we are somehow magically post-racial thanks to apparent sorcery afoot from electing Barack Obama president twice, is offensive. Stop it. Your ancestors are responsible for setting the tone for race relations in this country and they failed at repairing those relations starting in 1865, and relatively few have bothered to care ever since. Your ancestors were conquering, enslaving people, yet somehow also the most timid, constantly doing things to oppressively ensure their safety on “top” of the people they conquered. (See: Manifest Destiny.) Conduct a séance to hash that out with your bloodline and stop blaming me and mine for those problems because we “won’t let it go!” Nope. Not going to. Never. Never ever ever.
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Nahhh…huh uh. We ain’t doing that.
Richard Cohen, inexplicably still-employed Washington Post opinion writer, stated that black people need to stop being so threatening by fashion choices and perceived violence (I guess from movies, from what he describes). Look here, the onus is not on black people to dress or act in a way that makes you more comfortable if they act just like you. You’re allowed to be yourselves while you riot after your team loses the Stanley Cup or an Orange Bowl. You’re allowed to fall out of bars, drunk, at 3 a.m. on Sunday morning and risk getting hit by passing cars as you bump into them or pound them as they pass.
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You’re allowed to do this:
When I moved into my mostly white neighborhood (I was the second person of color in my building and the only black person for over a year, and the only people who said “Hello” back to me for the first six months were my neighbors who parked beside me), I was changing the tags on my car in the parking lot on my birthday. I was dressed in a fitted T-shirt and jeans that hugged my legs pretty well. (I don’t sag my pants.) I also had on casual Skechers shoes and my hair was trimmed neatly and cut close to my scalp. I finished changing my tags and was checking to make sure I hadn’t dropped any screws that could puncture my tires. I had just finished when a couple from my building saw me looking around my car WITH MY OLD TAGS, REGISTRATION, AND TAG HOLDERS IN MY HAND, and asked what I was doing.
Her: “Can I help you?”
Me: *ignores her*
Her: “Can I help you?!”
Me: “Excuse me? No.” *continues to look*
Her: “Well, it looks a little odd with you snooping around the parking lot looking at cars.”
Wisely, her husband noticed my face rising up with the fury of my whipped ancestorsand quietly ducked around her, put his suitcase into the car and got inside. Smart man. On the other hand, this dumb, racist, inessential waste-of-creation [expletive deleted] decided to keep standing there.
So, I canceled out the idea of loudly cursing her out in my quiet neighborhood so bad that Eve would feel it in Heaven, and decided (staring her down, voice shaking with anger and wanting to lodge the old tags into her skull) to say, “I just changed the tags on MY car.” I showed her the visible tags, looked at her with disgust, and loudly armed my own luxury car.
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(Fellow beloved Negroes, I know I owed her no explanation.) I wasn’t dressed in any fashion foreign to how everyone else dressed in the neighborhood. Enjoyably, her face was broken and she always spoke to me after that, even going so far as to hold the front door open for me, even if she saw me coming from a half block away.
Stuff like THAT doesn’t make ME feel safe around YOU. Yet, you’re allowed to live and not considered violent, even though most murders of white people are committed by other white people (Justice Department PDF), which is very high considering y’all are the most populous group in the U.S. and more spread out than minorities, who mostly stay concentrated in one area. So, let US live in the peace and freedom from prejudice that you so obviously enjoy!
You picking up what I’m putting down yet?
Racism, American-style, today is more like this: Let’s say that I punch you in your neck with all my weight behind it. You can’t see the pain. You tell me that it hurts and you might be irreparably damaged from it. I tell you that it doesn’t hurt and it’s not really pain. You’re exaggerating. I whine about how you’re accusing me of doing something that no one can visibly see until someone comes to my aid to scold you for speaking up about your pain and your accusing me of something no one can see. I’m whisked away somewhere away from you where I can resume punching folks in the neck. You’re still there in pain, hurting, and no one believes you or cares about your pain.
That is how racism feels – unseen and ofttimes subtle. And you can’t tell me that it doesn’t hurt just because you can’t see it. I say this all in love because God knows I don’t hate white people, but I really want those who don’t “get” it to hear me and get it together. We all have biases against someone for something, but let’s stop saying racism is over. Because, NAWL!
(P.S. – Stop Trayvoning too. Like, really?)

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