More Racism…

I read a really horrible stupid illogical racist rant last night on my neighbor’s Facebook page. I got where the writing was coming from, but so much is wrong and inflammatory. I wrote a long response as a comment on my friend’s post, but I hate when people take over my Facebook with their rants, so I quickly deleted it.

I realized it might belong here. Race again… Sorry.

First of all when it comes to fundamentals, there’s no such thing as race. It’s pretty certain we all came from the same gene pool long long ago and, for us in the United States, far far away. What we call “race” is essentially skin color, though I remember as a kid in school, in social studies, we had a two page spread of the “World’s Races” and their pictures. I don’t know what was originally meant by the term “race” and the older I am the less I understand it.

Second, I think it’s probably true that a lot of white people don’t like darker skinned people. I don’t know why other than they were taught to mistrust darker skinned people or they are (as are all humans) afraid of what is unfamiliar.

OK. Here it is. I’m going to attempt to knock it down point by point. My refutation is in green (Kennedy, dontcha’ know). The “article” is in black italics.

I have often wondered about why Whites are racists, and no other race is……

Other races are equally racist. I learned this as one of the few whites in China in the early 80s. I became very familiar with the stereotypes of Americans, the images, the attitudes I was supposed to have. I experienced it every day, sometimes in expressions of surprise that I WASN’T like the stereotype. It was still there. I learned more about international racism teaching international students and hearing things like this which came out of the mouth of a Korean girl, “We don’t have racism in Korea. We all the same.” She didn’t mean “all the same” as “equal.” She meant they were all JUST LIKE HER physically, culturally, linguistically, a homogenous culture. She thought Koreans were better than Americans because Korea has no racism, but without the challenge of living with different ethnicities, how would they know?

Someone finally said it. How many are actually paying attention to this?
There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, etc. And then there are just Americans..

“Just Americans” are, by this implied definition, white Americans. All these other people are referred to euphemistically by their nationality. If this idiot did the same with “just Americans” he’d have to describe us as “Irish Americans, German Americans, British Americans, Scandinavian Americans, Russian Americans” etc. which is, actually, what we are. We might have white skin, but we come from different places. These terms – Asian Americans, African Americans, etc. — are ways of emphasizing that though these people look different from “just Americans” they are Americans, just the same.

You pass me on the street and sneer in my direction.
You call me ‘White boy,’ ‘Cracker,’ ‘Honkey,’ ‘Whitey,’ ‘Caveman’… And that’s OK..

I have never experienced this and I lived in a ghetto, a barrio, in California for 17 years. After reading this, if I passed this guy on the street and knew it, I’d probably cross to the other side to save myself from getting into a fight. πŸ™‚

you say that whites commit a lot of violence against you….

Which is evidenced on film and police reports.

So why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live?

The problem in “ghettos” is less skin color than poverty. Please refer to the video at the bottom of this post. As I said, I lived in a ghetto as one of the few white people. I was always safe even though it was the second (or first sometimes) highest crime neighborhood in San Diego. It was a dangerous place to live FOR ALL OF US so we looked out for each other. Violence existed — too much of it — but it was perpetrated by a few and was usually related to drugs, the sale of drugs or guns, and gangs — all of which were related cause and effect to poverty. The vast majority of people in my “hood” were, like me, hard-working people trying to hold their shit together from one end of the month to the other.

There are PLENTY of white people living close to the edge, yet, we think of these neighborhoods as where minorities live. That right there is racist. My white friends and co-workers wouldn’t even come to my neighborhood to have dinner at my house. They were that afraid. White privilege might be coupled with white ignorance.

A police station was set up in our hood in the building that was once our Safeway. The cops set out immediately getting to know the people who lived there. They saw their job as law enforcement but also as becoming part of the hood. Their program worked. Violent crime went down without a single incident of “police brutality.” We residents wanted the police there. We wanted the crack houses gone. We wanted the gun violence gone. The police made a huge difference.

You have the United Negro College Fund. You have Martin Luther King Day.
You have Black History Month.
You have Cesar Chavez Day.
You have Yom Hashoah.
You have Ma’uled Al-Nabi.
You have the NAACP.
You have BET….

We “just Americans” have everything else. The United Negro College Fund was set up to provide money through donations to black kids who otherwise wouldn’t have had a chance. MLK day was established to honor an American hero who happened to have been Black. Cesar Chavez? Same deal, but a Hispanic dude. Yom Hashoah? Honestly, I was once on the fence about that, but having witnessed the reality that fascism is still alive and well in this world, I say we need MORE days remembering the Holocaust. Ma’uled Al-Nabi? For Muslims it is essentially the birthday of Mohammed, their prophet. Merry Christmas, dude.

If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we’d be racists.

This is petty. TV is nothing but a way to sell products to a market. BET is an avenue to sell stuff to Blacks, stuff that they like and use.

If we had a White Pride Day, you would call us racists.

We have St. Patricks Day, we have Octoberfest. Columbus Day is a big deal in Italian neighborhoods, however you might feel about it. There is a HOST of other ethnic celebrations of our various European heritages. We have the Sons of Norway, the Daughters of the American Revolution, the Sons of Italy, annual festivals at the Greek Orthodox churches — and more depending on the various regional concentrations of various European nationalities. All of these are “White Pride” events. It’s ALSO important here to note that every group of Europeans who came to this continent took shit from whoever was here before them. “Irish need not apply.” “Park closed to Italians.”

If we had White History Month, we’d be racists.

Black history month was devised as a way to help schools bring the achievements of black people into a curriculum that was absolutely Euro-centered. I think it’s fair to say that we have 11 White history months.

If we had any organization for only whites to ‘advance’ OUR lives, we’d be racists.

As the dominant culture, we don’t have to organize to “advance our lives.” WE ARE that organization for ourselves. That is the definition of White Privilege.

We have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Black Chamber of Commerce, and then we just have the plain Chamber of Commerce.
Wonder who pays for that??

Ah, here we go. The salient point seems to be that this guy doesn’t like spending his money on this stuff.

A white woman could not be in the Miss Black American pageant, but a woman of color can be in the Miss America pageant.

Again, petty. Beauty pageants are questionable at best, and the Miss Black America Pageant is a relic of black protests of the late 60s when an African American woman was very unlikely to be named Miss Anywhere.

If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships… You know we’d be racists. There are over 60 openly proclaimed Black Colleges in the US . Yet if there were ‘White colleges’, that would be a racist college.

Black colleges emerged because Blacks were not admitted to colleges anywhere.

Ok, now the rant gets really ugly. The guy wants us to believe that we need “white pride”? I’m not even “white”. I’m pink with brown spots, but I can’t even summon up “pride” for that.

I think many of us are proud of having come from this or that nationality. I am, but I know it’s absurd. I didn’t earn my Irish, Swiss, Scot and Swedish heritage. It’s an accident of parentage. That I think they’re all cool cultures is because I was taught to and because I took the trouble to learn about them. That’s WHY we have Black History Month etc. So kids from THAT background (gruesome though it is) can learn about their roots and be proud of the courage of their ancestors.

I can’t even refute the rest of this bullshit. Everything about the conclusion to this diatribe is illogical and wrong. Essentially, when some of the people in a culture have ALL of the rights offered by that culture, and some of the people in that culture are DENIED (palpably and demonstrably) SOME of the rights offered by that culture, those people are oppressed.

I’ve seen some of my Mexican friends treated badly by some white people. I’ve seen white people say to them, “Learn English. This is America” after laughing at a mistake the Mexican made in English. It’s totally possible for those white people to learn Spanish, too, and live in a larger world, but they’re busy being white. Because I speak Spanish well enough, I got to experience so much more than would have if I were “English only.”

I taught a class that was ALL black students and my first job was combatting their suspicion of me so they could learn during those three hours a week, succeed in my class and move on with their dreams of entering a university and finding a career. In that class, I taught a black girl whose last name was O’Shea. On learning that is an Irish name, she decided to embrace her Irishness. When I said, “You know how your family got it, right? Some slave owner or overseer back in the day…”

She said, “But I’m still part Irish, right? That’s an Irish name.”

I said, “Yes,” but I had tears in my eyes. Kennedy here, right? Lots of Irish immigrants ended up overseers in the South. It’s a big part of Gone With the Wind.

“I’m proud to be part Irish, like you.” Wow. I was full on crying at that point. It occurred to me then that it meant a lot to her — and maybe my other black students? — to find a concrete bit of commonality, a link to a white person that they liked. It happened several times over the years.

She came to class the next night with a big green shamrock on the front of her notebook and wore green for St. Patrick’s day.

Maybe a lot of white people haven’t had my advantages, you know, living in a ghetto and teaching in an inner city community college or a community college on the border of Mexico, or working three or four part-time jobs to hold life together. Maybe a lot of white people haven’t had their garage filled with fatherless boys from every racial group working together on their bikes with the Good X, or of teaching a little elementary school Mexican boy to draw every Saturday, then being taken to lunch by that boy when he got to be 15 and had his first job. Maybe a lot of white people have lived white lives and haven’t been able to experience the struggle of other people, people we identify by the color of their skin, the most superficial thing there is.

Here’s the video I promised followed by the guy’s bullshit rant, with its obligatory guilt trip at the end.

Here’s the Whole Absurd Mess

I have often wondered about why Whites are racists, and no other race is……
Someone finally said it. How many are actually paying attention to this?
There are African Americans, Mexican Americans, Asian Americans, Arab Americans, etc.
And then there are just Americans.. You pass me on the street and sneer in my direction.
You call me ‘White boy,’ ‘Cracker,’ ‘Honkey,’ ‘Whitey,’ ‘Caveman’… And that’s OK..
You say that whites commit a lot of violence against you….
So why are the ghettos the most dangerous places to live?
You have the United Negro College Fund. You have Martin Luther King Day.
You have Black History Month.
You have Cesar Chavez Day.
You have Yom Hashoah.
You have Ma’uled Al-Nabi.
You have the NAACP.
You have BET….
If we had WET (White Entertainment Television), we’d be racists.
If we had a White Pride Day, you would call us racists.
If we had White History Month, we’d be racists.
If we had any organization for only whites to ‘advance’ OUR lives, we’d be racists.
We have a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, a Black Chamber of Commerce, and then we just have the plain Chamber of Commerce.
Wonder who pays for that??
A white woman could not be in the Miss Black American pageant, but a woman of color can be in the Miss America pageant.
If we had a college fund that only gave white students scholarships… You know we’d be racists.
There are over 60 openly proclaimed Black Colleges in the US .
Yet if there were ‘White colleges’, that would be a racist college.
In the Million Man March, you believed that you were marching for your race and rights.
If we marched for our race and rights, you would call us racists.
You are proud to be black, brown, yellow and orange, and you’re not afraid to announce it.
But when we announce our white pride, you call us racists.
You rob us, car jack us, and shoot at us.
But, when a white police officer shoots a black gang member or beats up a black drug dealer running from the law and posing a threat to society, you call him a racist.
I am proud…… But you call me a racist.
Why is it that only whites can be racists??
There is nothing improper about this post. 
Let’s see which of you are proud enough to send it on.
I sadly don’t think many will.
That’s why we have LOST most of OUR RIGHTS in this country.
We won’t stand up for ourselves!
BE PROUD TO BE WHITE!
It’s not a crime YET…. But getting very close!

19 thoughts on “More Racism…

  1. Thank you. I have responded to similar from members of my own family. It is tiring. You’re more eloquent than I am. These are strange times made stranger by plenty of time for mindfulness and protest.

  2. Bravo Martha for taking on this guy’s rant. No apology needed. He has such tunnel vision that I doubt he would see your very logical and well though out points. The story of your student and being Irish American really touched me. And I hadn’t connected that reference to “Gone With The Wind” before. Scarlett O’Hara. Of course.
    A lot of white people are so privileged that they can’t get out of their own racist ways. I am glad you wrote this post. We all gotta keep the discussion going. My favorite: 11 White history months. Excellent point.

    • Every day something happens to make me see what unusual (for an upper middle class white kid) corners my life has taken me. I’m grateful but sometimes I’m also shocked. My neighbor posted that rant. I commented with the video about race. Her kids “liked” it and commented favorably. We’ll see. I loved most of my black students. The hard ones were tough, but all of them just wanted connection because they intuitively knew it would help them succeed and learn. All we have to do is be human beings to each other. 😦

    • At one time in this country, the Irish were not very welcome. Today we have St, Patrick’s Day. Maybe someday we can get past this and everyone will want to be black and party on Martin Luther King Day.

  3. I was just thinking today about how I put “neighbors” in a different category than “friends.” Had a friend posted that rant, I would have quickly, without guilt or remorse, removed them from my life. No space in my life for such people. Neighbors are trickier, however. You live near them. You try to co-exist amicably to avoid discord and stress. The fact that your neighbor’s daughter approved of your response to the rant (the video) means there’s some hope of change on the part of your neighbor. My experience is in those cases, teaching by example is your best hope. Good luck.

    • I feel the same way about friends vs. neighbors. Neighbors are almost a kind of family and here we do depend on each other. I just figure she hasn’t had the disadvantages (ha ha) I’ve had. πŸ™‚

  4. Oh wow. There’s so much to unpack there. The comment about BET, for one, is laughable. TV and movies have been WET since they started. And what rights exactly has he lost? Sigh.

  5. I’ve never seen the point if racism. When I was about five I remember being on a bus and saying to my mom “but black people are not really black and we are not white, we are pink”. It was the 1960’s and I don’t know what prompted this. I went to a school where there was a mix of ‘races’ and had Indian and Pakistani friends. We had a sikh (don’t know how to spell it sorry) temple as well as churches and chapels nearby. I usually say to racists if you peel the skin off us we all look the same underneath. People change colour because of how sunny a place is. We all evolved from Hominids originating in Africa. Racism is stupid. X

  6. “Other races are equally racist.”

    Wow. Oh yeah. And there are plenty of equally horrid attitudes regarding religion, gender, sexual orientation, ethnicity, nationality, any of the many ways we have to divide ourselves. Tribalism… otherism. All those streets have 2-way traffic, even if the flow isn’t always equal in both directions.

    I doubt there is a mutiracial society on earth that doesn’t reek of it.

    Butt alas! In the process of studying for my emergency teaching credential, I had to take several classes that had a sociological element. In every one of those classes, it was drilled into us that only whites can be racists and only men can be sexists because they are society’s oppressors. It was an accepted doctrine. That notion sounds both racist and sexist to me.

    But as my daughter tells me, I am old and out of touch with reality.

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