I’ve noticed a few things when there are conversations concerning racism when people of different racial backgrounds share their views. I’ll try to list and describe them all. If you want to add a point or two, please do so:
“Racism is dead.” I know it’s more than obvious especially from the point of view of people of color (POC) who are aware of this sad fact. However, there are some people who are still naive, and some who avoid the subject at all cost. People still believe that since we have a black President then we live in a post-racial/colorblind society. BULLSHIT! Racism has become more open since Barack Obama took office. Anyone who disagrees must have something wrong with their brains.
“I’m not a racist because I have black (or other PoC) friends, I am dating a black (or other PoC) person, or I have a relative who is blacks (or a POC)!” (Thanks, Sepultura13) Whites who think they have friends, relatives, or lovers who are POC believe they are given a pass. They think they can not possibly be racist since their friends, significant others, or family members are not white. White people who are more liberal minded tend to use this excuse. The fact is that having POC within your life doesn’t mean that there isn’t a hint of racism within your heart especially for some whites who date certain races based on racist myths. But most of those relationships are fragile whenever the subject of race pops up. Those relationships hold together as long as race and racism are unmentioned.
“Avoiding racism will make it go away.” I never understood why some people believe that if we shut up about race and racism, then the problems will go away. That’s like if one sees a person out in the middle of the street about to get hit by a car, one will believe that by not seeing the car or the person will guarantee that an accident won’t happen. Some people strongly prefer the “ostrich” way of handling issues. We all know that’s not only wrong, but just plain foolish. Whites have tried to avoid racism for as long as humanly possible. Yet, not only did it not disappear, it underwent several transformations that resulted in the same outcome, giving whites incredible wealth, power, and of course, privileges making the world an unequaled playing field.
“The past is irrelevant.” Most white people have a problem when you bring up moments in history that doesn’t show their good side. That’s why they are all for celebrating the 4th of July but feel horrible talking about other events like slavery or the genocide of the first Americans. They love history only when it makes them feel proud. However, history is important when talking about racism because it reveals how whites got on top and stayed there for so long.
“Bootstraps work.” Most people believe that if poor POC would work harder, then they will rise out of their situations. The problem is that working hard doesn’t always a millionaire make. I know, there have been certain POC who’ve succeeded and are living large, but millions of other POC have worked hard all their lives only to end up screwed by an economy run by ravenous misers. This isn’t to say one shouldn’t work hard, but one shouldn’t be so fooled as to not play it safe in case of hard times as there is a web of crookedness in this nation’s economic and political structure. Also, keep in mind that whites here in America and other white dominated nations didn’t earn their privileges with hard work, at least none that didn’t involve death and destruction. Sad, but true.
“Don’t be angry.” Most whites in conversations about racism can not stand it if POC, especially black, get angry when they express their views. If you get angry, they get offended. The problem with that is that anger comes from living in a society where oppression is legalized and excused. So yes, we are angry. We are angry about living in such a world where our humanity is questioned, examined, or discarded, and we are angry that our thoughts, views, and even our emotions are also questioned, examined, or discarded. White people who participate in race conversations must understand that truth. If they take our anger and frustration personally, then it’s evident they are ill prepared.
“You are racist against whites.” I love this one. It means that any statement about whites is automatically racist. Right now many white people in America believe they are victims of racism. For some reason, whites believe they are “deserving” victims of any and all tragedies even tragedies that have little to no effect to their power structure. It’s part of their conditioning. They are also coaxed to believe that they are normal, superior, and just. So, anything said pertaining to white people including history and statistics, true or not, and is not pretty is automatically a racist remark.
Here’s the deal, POC are familiar with racist statements. We hear them all the time. Yet, when we call them out, white people will say or do whatever they can to avoid accountability. But, the main truth most whites don’t want to grasp is that racism begets racism. So, if a white person tells a black person that they are criminal minded thugs, don’t be offended when that same black person returns with a “At least we aren’t the majority in school shootings and serial killings.” As a side note always be on the lookout for the old “race card” ploy.
“Racism is based on facts about races.” This is the nexus of racial realists, Human Biodiversity (HBD) followers, and scientific racists. They believe that race can be scientifically proven mostly by genetics, and that racism against certain people is okay because it’s “proven” that they are not fully human. In other words they were born to be what “nature” tells them to be. Okay. This is just sugarcoating their true feelings, or rather they’re trying to mask their feelings for pseudo-science. Hell, some don’t even call it racism.
The truth is racism is always been based on myths, lies, pseudo-science, and negative emotions. There is absolutely nothing scientific or natural about racism. It’s all about social control for the benefit of one group. The only science used is the science of how to maintain power and oppression as long as possible.
“I’m here to start drama, derail the topic discussed, and make you all draw attention to me, the troll.” Of course, there have never been any trolls that will say it up front, but that’s how they work. Trolls don’t care about serious conversations pertaining to race or racism. Why they have personalities that rival meth heads is unknown. However, they are absolutely clear that they don’t take anti-racism seriously.
“I’m hurting because you said something to me I didn’t like.” White women are especially guilty of this. When POC tell the truth about racism or accuse a white person of saying something that is racist (no questions asked), they will get angry and(or) weepy. The messed up part is that they, who are guilty, are most likely the ones who get sympathy and comforted.
If your a white person, it is certain you will get support. This presents two problems: One, it’s the POC who really needs a hug given that he or she has likely dealt with racism often. And two, the crying white person is more upset that her(his) feelings are hurt, not because what they did was wrong.
“I’m here to help in order to feel good about myself.” White people fall into this trap often online. Most who participate believe that it’s for them. That is a common fallacy in forums and blogs. Most blogs dedicated in discussing and fighting white racism were never meant for white people. Which means that any white male or female who drops by must not expect to feel warm and fuzzy. Many topics on racism deals with truths and emotions from POC, and neither of those are pretty. So, white people should not be expected to feel righteous or pleasant. If they do, well…you know.
“I’m a POC and I agree with what white people say.” There’s nothing more saddening than a POC with a “slave mind”. Expect certain POC to disagree with your stance on racism. Expect them to say things like “If we wouldn’t do (A), than we wouldn’t be in (B), and we need to stop blaming the white man.” If there’s one thing most white people have a habit of is blaming POC, mostly blacks and Latinos, for national failures, and POC, including some blacks and browns, picked up that same habit.
The thing is there’s a double standard in the blame game. You can never blame whites, but it’s okay to blame other people. Another thing is that how white people think is not always the correct way of thinking. Lastly, POC who use that mentality are obviously suffering from mental oppression, self-hatred, the colonized mind, whatever you want to call it, they are POC with “white” minds. By the way, National failures, especially recent ones due to banks, were caused by corrupt white male who are the majority of CEOs in this nation.
“There you go, blaming whitey again.” Again, this is a double standard. Blaming whites is a cardinal sin to most whites and some POC. By the way, most of the time, the only people who use the word “whitey” seems to be white people.
“You people commit the most crimes in this country. So, blah, blah, and more blah.” This one is what overtly racist whites love to use especially regarding black people. There are no explanations except that they are black. They assume that since there are millions of blacks in prison, then they are guilty, and those who are free must be guilty of something but hasn’t been caught. To these people blacks are cosmically guilty the minute they are born. Keep in mind that these racists don’t seem to care about (violent) crimes committed by whites in the past AND present and those crimes greatly outnumber crimes committed by blacks in the past or present. This is just another form of derailing the issue. They rarely present any evidence, and will scoff at any counter evidence. So, just move on.
“It’s not about race. It’s about class.” Although racism and class do intersect, they also differ. In conversations about race, people will often deviate the topic into the subject of class disparities and make it seem that class-ism is the more important problem as oppose to racism. While it is an important issue, that is not what’s at the forefront when talking about racism. Racism includes economic policies that greatly effect POC. Those policies help widen the gap between the wealth whites and blacks have creating a perpetual underclass within black communities nationwide. This includes the troubling fact that a black person with no criminal record is least likely to get hired as opposed to a white person with a criminal record. In other words race is STILL a major factor.
“White privilege is about class privilege.” White privilege pertains to societal advantages whites have due to SKIN COLOR not fortune. Some white people often make the mistake that white privilege deals with wealth which explains why you will hear arguments like “I wasn’t born with a silver spoon!” from several whites. White privilege explains that even a poor white person has certain advantages as opposed to a middle-class black person. A poor white person must be a Regular Joe. A middle-class black person must be a drug dealer. See how that works?
“No matter what you say or how you say it, I will simply not listen.” I find it mind numbing that no matter what a POC says about how racism is hurting them, most whites in the end don’t want to hear it. Some who come to give their two cents imply in some way that they are not interested in your views. But then, why did they come in the first place? Because like I said, they think the discussion is for their well-being.
“Racism is very simple.” WRONG! Racism is anything but simple. If it was, it would’ve been taken care of a long time ago. Racism has created a complicated world from the structural level to the mental level. It includes much more than hate groups and epithets aimed at POC. Some people think that’s all there is to racism. However, it goes way beyond hooded men in white robes. It goes all the way to government offices to corporate offices. Many people are in extreme denial of this truth and other truths concerning life for POC in a white dominated society. Most POC are more than aware of the complexity of racism. Still, we are more than willing to face what comes. Whites who join in the struggle must learn to do just that, struggle.