Why? And I’m asking out of curiosity because, as you may know, you’ve hearted a few of my black lives matter Medium rants, I find most whites to be in deep, deep, DEEP denial about America’s institutionalized racism. So what makes you different?
America does and always has run on racism. The last 20 year or so, blatant racism has become politically incorrect, so America now also runs on the denial of the existence of racism. Even though there are literally libraries full information on institutionalized racism, even though it is embedded in the f@cking constitution, for Christ sake!
Despite all that, most whites want to either want to quietly ignore it — stick in the box of inconvenient truths they absolutely will not deal with- or, even worse, do some crazy, belligerent 1984 shit, and tell us black Americans that our slavery really was freedom, and so shut up about it already, because all the heinous, diabolical, inhuman shit that was done to us via that institution, didn’t happen at all (we all just fucking imagined it, apparently — and are still imagining it in the horrors of our modern day criminal justice system and when we see black people shot down like dogs in the street by overzealous cops.)
And I get it. I totally get the behavior. It’s totally human. They want to ignore racism because it’s a fucking HUGE problem, like climate change, and addressing it probably seems fucking impossible. (I mean that’s how I feel about climate change, I’m all like Fuck!!!! This is a serious problem!!! What the fuck can I do? Yeah I’m going to recycle some shit…like that’s gonna work? Naw…that ain’t gonna do a damn thing, really…FUCK!!!! We are just fucked…I don’t know…I just don’t know what to do. I give up.)
And I imagine that’s how a lot of white people feel about American racism. Yeah it’s a problem that black and brown people keeping getting shot down in the streets like dogs, and snatched up into modern day slavery via brutal incarceration systems, but what are they going to do? Volunteer in Chicago’s Cabrini Green projects? (Actually knew some whites who did that.) Like that’s gonna help? Naw, that ain’t gonna do a damn thing, really…so FUCK! Ignore the problem. No better yet, blame black people for the problem. Better yet, scream and shout at the top of your lungs, “no problem here!!!! No racism in America! Nope!”
And this is maddening, to me, but this is just MOST white people (to my experience.)
And soooooo, I really, really wonder, what makes you different? What do you think? Why fight this fight when really ain’t nothing in it for you? And I am not trying to be discouraging, I’m trying to figure out what will make someone take a stand for what is right, when it’s super inconvenient and uncomfortable. And how can we convince MORE people to do this?
And I often wonder, about myself, how much will I stand for something that is not going to benefit me personally. Like say immigrants, I know what’s going on with a lot of them right now is fucking horroriffic. Have I taken a stand on that, like you have on black lives mattering?
Nope. Why? I don’t know. I really don’t have a good answer. I would like to think that I would…but I have not. I’m just to focused on black lives mattering because it affects me personally, and John Hopkins pointed out in one of his recent responses to me, (on black lives mattering) this is about all most people can do. And, I agree.
I can give lip service to the plight of other American minorities (and I do), but I am not nearly as energized around the plight of say, “mixed families” where children are American citizens and parents are not and get deported, as I am around the topic of black lives mattering, even though where I live the immigration, mixed family issue is way more pressing, than the black lives issue. Black peoples are pretty safe, where I live; immigrants are not, and haven’t been for quite some time.
I often criticize white folk here on Medium, for their lack of concern for black lives, and yet I’m basically guilty of the same. I’m not that concerned about immigrant lives, and where i live it comes up often. Everyone knows at least one or two immigrant horror stories… I heard an awful one just today; will i write about it? Will i even tell you the awful story? Nah.
It’s not really my thing; and i find these stories deeply depressing. I’m overwhelmed. It’s a problem, i know. But what can i do? Volunteer at some sanctuary church or University? That’s not going to do anything! That’s not going to stop ICE from banging down someone’s door, dragging them out of their house and putting them on a bus to god knows where…for doing nothing, but trying to live. Fuck! I don’t know what to do.
And yet, as everyone on Medium who encounters my writing knows, I obsess about black lives mattering and follow the ever controversial Son of Baldwin around obsessively, wondering what he will say next and feeling slightly vindicated about it. I often use Son of Baldwin to irk certain racism deniers, and I do this gleefully, and yet, really, if I am totally honest with myself I’m not much better than any of them.
But you are. So, what’s up with that?
White people like you are rare, rare super fucking rare. What gives? Clearly, I’m not complaining, but I am sooooooo very accustomed to dealing with the typical “there is no racism in America, blacks are lazy and stupid and wrong and to be blamed for everything that ever happened to them” white party line, that when I encounter posts like yours I’m like really? Is this, like for real? It’s like seeing a unicorn 🦄.
And…it’s not easy for YOU either, because your position makes all the other whites in the other two categories very, very uncomfortable. So they come after you, metaphorical guns blazing. This has always been a white on white crime dynamic that has kept institutionalized racism (or individual racism for that matter) deeply embedded in all the institutions and just everywhere. I imagine white people having secret Klan like meetings amongst themselves, where they all insist all white people must tow the “there is no racism” white party line. I also imagine them freaking over a line breaker like you. I imagine them chasing after you with a desperation and ferocity, because it seems to me that the one thing that most white people fear far more deeply than black anger, is white reckoning with and accountability for American racism. I don’t know why white people fear that so deeply, but they do.
If one white person says “black lives matter” then two or ten or twenty, white people might say “black lives matter” and oh my fucking God!!! If that happens white people might reach a critical mass on the issue and actually have to admit to themselves that black lives matter!
And truly there are some white people (and a lot, I think) who would rather DIE, than be forced to admit that. Especially in America. These kind of white people hate you more than they hate me.
So how do you do it and why? How do you, being white, find the courage and the strength to push strongly against, deeply held white norms about race and white supremacy?
And…isn’t it lonely? And also exhausting? Do you get threatened? If so, how do you cope with that?? Again just curious.