Friday, May 2, 2014

Intriguing Thoughts About Racism

Just saw this most intriguing post about racism, How I Discovered I Was Contributing to Racism.
We started off arguing, but eventually we started talking—really talking—about racism.

I started to become aware that racism was not just about bigotry, using the N' word or arguing for racial supremacy.

But that is all superficial, the most important thing that occurred to us both came one day when I asked Edgar a straightforward question, “Do you think of yourself as a man or black man, Edgar?

“I think of myself as a black man,” he replied.

“Well, I just think of myself as a man” I countered, thinking my answer superior.

“That’s because you can,” he rebutted. Then he explained how that day he’d gone to a corner store that day.

Edgar earned a good living and lived in a well-off neighborhood. The shop owner watched him the whole time he was the store.

There were other people in the store too, but they didn’t get nearly the “attention” that Edgar did.

The owner wouldn’t say it, and he certainly wouldn’t admit if he were asked.

And that’s when it occurred to me, I was an unknowing racist.

Here I had been, existing in my own little world where I’d always assumed that racism was just about how I perceived blacks. It never occurred to me that the other side of that is how blacks are perceived. ...

I can say I don’t see race—because I  really don’t see race—but I’m not constantly evaluated based on my race. I don’t think of myself as a white man because I don’t have someone else looking at me that way every day or week of my life.

I’m not constantly told “You’re a white man” by the world I live in. The black man is. I was raised in a world to go to college, not trade school. It was on my TV. It was in my schools. Who I am as a white man is just a man. Who a black man is really is portrayed differently to him.

White people have a different kind of self-identity because they’re allowed to. Blacks can gain the view that they can grow up to be successful too, but they have to overcome the way society looks at them in order to do it. Whites don’t.

Blacks receive less education, less income, and get incarcerated at a higher rate. They don’t live in the same world. The institution exists. I won’t get into a big stat-filled explanation, but suffice to say, it does. If you want proof, start with Googling “institutional racism. My objective isn’t to prove it here, it’s merely to acknowledge it as something separate from the idea of racism.

The problem is that whites who aren’t racist very rarely stop to think about racism beyond their own experience. Many whites, be they Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Party are not “racist” in the sense that they think they are better than blacks. Sure, there might be some, but the vast majority aren’t.
Well this certainly explains how white men like PCG's Joel Hilliker would devote an article to fear mongering that "devastating racial violence" based on the (admittedly quite disgusting) ravings of just one extremist African American man mentioned by Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and then makes no specific mention of the white right wing extremists and incidents they commit that SPLC have been carefully documenting. All Joel Hilliker has to say about that is ...
SPLC is a nonprofit civil rights law firm in Alabama that tends to go after white racists. Its tagline on its publication “Hatewatch” is, “Keeping an Eye on the Radical Right.”
Many white right wing extremists do not just talk about violence like that African American extremist, but have committed all sorts of frightening acts. One would think that one who supposedly spends so much time watching world events would be more concerned about right wing extremism.

No comments:

Post a Comment