Wow…this was really powerful and true. And a unique take on American race relations, which are about as twisted and sick as human relations can become.
There is worse. There is pure unchecked slavery. But American race relations is a far more complicated version of that sickness, because it’s what happens when a country reluctantly and unwilling moves from a system of unchecked slavery, and yet still attempts to reinstate it in various forms, while the few truly free (in mind) attempt to move beyond these oppressive systems and notions.
And here is where we are at, most white Americans believe, deeply and subconsciously, that the oppression and dehumanizations of black Americans works to their economic advantage, thus they have no interest in speaking against it. Not even for the sake of humanity itself.
But honestly, that’s a very human trait that extends to most humans, we all exploit and deny the humanity of another, for economic gain, even in the same race and culture. Did you read Tizon’s article about his slave?
My Family's Slave
She lived with us for 56 years. She raised me and my siblings without pay. I was 11, a typical American kid, before I…
Very disturbing. Very human. Also apparently, a common practice in the Philippines, among Philippinos. His family kept a slave and treated her brutally because it was in their economic interest to do so. This happened in America, and it happens all the time, still. America was founded on slavery and America still runs on slavery.
A lot of countries do, actually and we are kidding ourselves if we think otherwise. Because America was founded on the idea that Black lives don’t matter, we encounter much resistance when we say that they do. Quite honestly, this is not something most white Americans want to admit as they’ve bought into the idea, at the very least, that black lives matter less than theirs. If you try to get them to think outside of that box, you are tampering with their reality, and people hate to have their reality tampered with. Who can blame them? It’s not pleasant.
White Americans, and they despise acknowledging this, but deep in their hearts they know it’s true. They know they have benefited immensely from slavery which created a racial American caste system, that is in place to this day. To speak out against it, for any of them, is to bite the hand (the system) that feeds them. They won’t do that, but to be fair, very few people of any race will. People largely operate out of self interest…speaking out against slavery or oppression, is not in the self-interest of anyone higher up on the economic scale.
The white Americans who will speak out against it are rare; and usually women, and especially ones with mixed race children. Looking for these white folks, though, is a needle in a haystack endeavor that will be extraordinarily frustrating if you have expectations of finding that needle often, you won’t.
Trying to change someone’s reality is extremely difficult, and that’s what you do when you attempt to get any white American to challenge racism. For me, understanding their fear and clinging self-interest (as they see it) in their investment in the racist American systems, allows me to not take their total lack of interest in speaking up for Black humanity, personally.
I cried when you wrote about the young woman of mixed race. I love what you said to her, and I feel like we all need to be saying this to all the youth of color in this country.
We need to just put it out there: this country is sick, truly sick in the way it treats it’s youth, and especially youth of color.
All of the youth of color are being subjected to so much pain of having their humanity denied on video and in stereo; and we have no idea really how this is impacting them.
I worry for them. As the future in America becomes more multicultural, and we have extreme racists trying to design modernized systems (a little late I might add) to destroy this multiracial future, I wonder what the hell the future will actually be like? I can’t see it. Neither can they, and that has the extreme racists particularly freaked out.
What do we tell these young people? We tell them the truth, as you did. I think that your validation of her experience was so valuable, and has helped her immensely, I am sure. Having one’s humanity denied is an unpleasant experience for sure, but having someone acknowledge how awful this is, gives some of it back. That’s what you did. It was awesome.
The advice about reaching out with love, is the most unique argument I’ve encountered on healing race relations, and destined to be the most effective, if people actually do it.