Sunday, July 14, 2013

just my ideas on race

whew! hotter than hades this summer...and i don't mean just the weather...the simmering pot of racism has finally bubbled over and spilled all over the stove...no, america doesn't believe in 'melting pots' more of a vanilla milkshake...

i am white...let's be honest, i resemble casper's girlfriend i am that white...i grew up in rural places and i didn't mix it up a lot...there really weren't many folks of color in my community in upstate new york and when i lived in rural florida- well, the people of color 'knew their place' and were consigned to shacks on the other side of town over the railroad tracks...the town fathers decided to throw the anti segregationists a bone and our middle school was built 'in the black section' of town and we were bused over every day so i actually got to see where the black folks lived...i lived in a trailer home so i figured their homes looked quite a bit like mine...

my father's mother's family was native american....but he grew up poor white american and his whole family- with the exception of his youngest sister- served in the armed forces...my father can't stand republicans...the entire rest of his family were republicans...go figure...

i say this because we have an opportunity...let's lay our cards out on the table...white people don't like people of color because

1) they fear them
2) they feel that they are inferior

what other reasons are there?  isn't that what it boils down to?  'but i am not a racist' most white folks claim- perhaps not but we white folks have to start by understanding a few things- and i am by no means an expert these things have occurred to me over a lifetime (so far) of learning and listening

white folks have 'white privilege' - yes, yes we do...our whole culture was set up to favor white males...now, that doesn't make all white males racist but like it or not- the culture still favors white males

it also favors white females over people of color in general although we ladies have our work cut out for us in the civil liberties department

white people 'don't get' black culture...well, we aren't meant to- it's their culture...we have spent centuries excluding them from ours...white people need to understand that WE excluded people of color from the mainstream white culture...we really can't get our knickers in a twist over that...

white folks believe that people of color are lazy welfare moochers...they should 'get a job' and 'speak english' and whatnot...well, since the pecking order is white men, white women, people of color....guess who generally don't get hired? guess who has to find other means of supporting themselves?

people of color should behave as 'normal' families and get married and settle down and raise kids...they should stop getting put in jail and having kids all over the place...yep...probably more stable for them but many of them do...surprise! many people of color work multiple jobs just to make ends meet and care for their kids and most of the folks taking advantage of our social services are poor white folks predominately in the south...again, that white prism to look through...

i was re-reading parts of 'league of the iroquois' by lewis henry morgan and as i read the passages that were written in the 1850's, i realized how that mentality still resonates with many in america today...the idea that anyone other than white folks are 'savages' who aren't as smart or innovative or 'good' as white folks...white folks have attempted to obliterate native cultures, african cultures and latino cultures on this continent and force them to assimilate to what? consumerism? capitalism? wanton resource taking?

the issue isn't so much with the overt racists in this country...the issue is with the many of us who aren't honest about how we feel about people of color and why...why is it that most of the people i have seen throughout my facebook world who were in favor of the recent zimmerman acquittal have been white? why is it that white folks still deny that there is racial profiling and incarceration of many more black and hispanic folks than white? why do we feel safe when we see white cops beating up on minority folks? why do we lock our doors in our cars when we see a black man walking down the street assuming he's going to pick our car to jack?

why don't we assume he's walking on his way to work or at the very least- why would we assume he would want to harm us- of all other people? those are the questions we have to ask ourselves because the reality is- white folks are becoming the minority around the globe and we should be asking ourselves- do we want to be treated the way that we treat others? we won't always have guns and bombs to 'keep us safe'...and isn't it easier to get to know each other as people- to pool the resources we have left and to realize that we are all the same underneath the skin? 100% human beings?

5 comments:

Spadoman said...

U. Utah Phillips, an author, poet, song writer and troubadour, now deceased, once said in one of his vignettes about life here in America, that as a white man, he knows he has privilege, but can't get rid of it, and he's tried several times and in several ways.
As usual, your insights mimic my own in most ways.


Peace

Anonymous said...

I don't understand psychology, or people enough to get this ambiguity:

1) they fear them
2) they feel that they are inferior

If they think they are inferior, why fear them? If they fear them, why would they think they are inferior?
Anyways, bigotry is a learned trait. No one is born a bigot.

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