It has been said by many that we are more concerned with being called a Racist than we are about Racism (not a direct quote).
But the sentiment couldn’t be more relevant to the world as it is right now. Everyone has their own definition, and for those who worry more about being seen as a racist and worry less about how they contribute to a racist society, you might be part of the problem.
White Privilege II
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
Damn, a lot of opinions, a lot of confusion, a lot of resentment Some of us scared, some of us defensive And most of us aren't even paying attention It seems like we're more concerned with being called racist Than we actually are with racism
Songwriters: Author Unknown Composer / Ryan Lewis / Ben Haggerty / Glen Lane Reynolds / Larry Griffin
White Privilege II lyrics © Warner/Chappell Music, Inc, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd.
I have dealt with this attitude my whole life. It never seems to come from some gun toting-beer guzzling-confederate-flag-waving-war-of-southern-aggression loving person, instead, it always seems to come from a well-meaning white person.
Was the microaggression the thing that made me the saddest or was it something else? Could it have been the fact that with each passing instance I stopped feeling surprised and instead I started to wait for the obligatory "But I'm not a racist".
I've heard that excuse coupled with some many others far too long:
(add on excuses)
I'm just a realist
Why are you so sensitive?
You know I don't mean you
Come on, you're light, so why do you care?
I'm not talking about all Black people, I'm just talking about the N'rs
You know what I meant
It seems to me that the people that say all of the above or at least some of it, truly believe what they say. But if you subjected them to Guantanamo Bay level torture they would still tow the party line and insist that they were not racist, they were just misunderstood. It's the belief in this that makes it is so hard to talk them out of this thought process or even get them to understand why their actions are so problematic.
The blatant racist knows he's racist and he really doesn't care, he wants you to know.
And it's not just the Donald Trumps, Steve Bannion's and Sarah Huckabee Sanders that we need to worry about (they say they're not racist but believe me, they know they are).
It's these people:
· It's the sweet old lady who runs the bakery down the street who narrows her eyes when Black teenagers walk in.
· It's the Soccer Coach father that warns his child to be careful around Mexicans
· It's the teacher who lets her students know in so many small ways that she doesn't want to teach Black history month.
· It's the Manager at your company who refuses to learn the difference Sikh and Muslim, and just lumps them all together because he doesn't think it's necessary to learn about a culture outside of his own.
It's these little subversive *micro-aggressions that tear at the damaged psyche of the minorities in this country.
How can you expect people to function in a world that is unequivocally designed to keep them behind? But you do, you tell them that if they work hard, keep their nose to the grindstone and save their money, they will prosper. But what you fail to let them know is at the starting line of life they are 50 yards behind and have to hold for seconds after the gun goes off.
What does this have to do with Racism? -
It has everything to do with it because the people who benefit from this system are the same ones that tell us the bullshit platitudes mentioned above. They are also the ones that will tell you the old adage "I'm not racist, I have an (insert minority group here) friend" to your face.
Most people do not believe that they are racist simply because they do not know the definitions and the differences between, Racism, Racist & Prejudice (definitions are not up for debate - if you don't like it take it up with the English language)
What is Racism -
prejudice, discrimination, or antagonism directed against someone of a different race based on the belief that one's own race is superior.
"a program to combat racism"synonyms:racial discrimination, racialism, racial prejudice/bigotry, xenophobia, chauvinism, bigotry, bias, intolerance;
More the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races. "theories of racism"
History has taught us that those in power are traditionally white and with this power has come the belief that their race is superior. Racism is inherently about power, those in power have the ability to put their ethnic cleansing agenda into effect.
Yes, minority groups have done the same throughout history but it has been small in scope and for the most part, it has been amongst its own people. For the white European, their agenda has been the divide and conquer model and this has been on a global scale. They don’t want to just conquer they also want to force assimilation. The wiping out of native ties always seems to start with religion(another topic for another day) but they know that when you a hit a group spiritually you hit them in their most vulnerable spot.
Take the Philippines for example:
Even though Spain pulled out of the Philippines in 1898, the legacy of rape, murder, torture, and the decimation of the culture has interwoven itself into the mind and daily lives of the Filipino people. If you do not believe me take a look at their TV and movie stars, their skin whitening commercials. All of it leads to one thing - White is superior.
This is only one of the hundreds of cultures that white Europeans have put their “seal of approval on”. In the US, one group was slaughtered on their own soil and the other was stolen from theirs and slaughtered on this soil.
This is what racism is, it is the ability to financially and systemically change the lives of a smaller minority group. The ability to weave a racist agenda into the daily lives of those who live in a "free" nation can only stem from the power that systemic racism has.
What is a racist -
noun noun: racist; plural noun: racists
1. a person who shows or feels discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or who believes that a particular race is superior to another. "the comments have led to her being called a racist"
synonyms:racial bigot, racialist, xenophobe, chauvinist;
More antonyms:multicultural, tolerant adjective adjective: racist
1. showing or feeling discrimination or prejudice against people of other races, or believing that a particular race is superior to another. "we are investigating complaints about racist abuse at the club"
On the surface, the two definitions look exactly the same, but with all things important how something is worded matters. "Racism" is based upon action, "Racist" is based upon a feeling.
Actions are self-explanatory, they are visible and easy to detect. With feelings it's harder to see, even harder to prove and with it comes the automatic defense of your current state of being.
It’s Hard For People To See Their Own Racism -
We all KNOW that racism & being called a racist is wrong. But people really like to look at it by action vs inaction. If you do not participate in a form of overt racism then you do not consider yourself a racist.
Most people who are in the majority and do not consider themselves to be racist have a very narrow view of what racism is. For the most part, they boil it down to these few examples:
· yelling the N-word at someone in public
· physically attacking someone because of their race and saying so while doing the attacking (must be documented or it is automatically suspected of being false)
· Overtly denying someone a job because of their race and saying so while doing it (must be documented or it is automatically suspected of being false)
Other than these three things, for the most part, people don’t see their actions as racist. But that’s simply because if they widen their scope as to what being a racist is they would be forced to confront their own behavior.
This is where it gets sticky, once you acknowledge that your behavior is not only racist but contributes to the continuation of racism, you must then make a conscious decision as to whether you want to continue with your behavior, choose to educate yourself and unlearn vile habits or do you do what most people do and deny, deny, deny.
If you still think that if you neither participate nor spur racist behavior on you need to remember that inaction is still an action. The decision to not do anything is the same as picking up a bat and hitting someone over the head if you sit by and watch it happen but do nothing.
When your co-worker makes a racist comment and you don't say anything you have participated in a racist action. Your reasons as to why you didn't do not negate the fact that you did.
With all of this said – it comes down to what I said in the beginning, power.
Those who have it, have the upper hand and can affect change or keep the status quo, and that is why minority groups cannot be racist, they can be prejudiced but they can not be racist because they hold no real global economic or systemic power.
That leads me to what Prejudice is…….
What is Prejudice –
1.preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience.
"English prejudice against foreigners"synonyms:preconceived idea, preconception, preconceived notion; prejudgment
"male prejudices about women"
I don't think I need to spell it out, this is pretty self-explanatory. Prejudice comes from many sources; fear, hate, ignorance, lack of education and no working knowledge of the subject in question.
Prejudice can be divisive and cause people to fear what they do not know. It can cause families to ostracize each other and pull away when scared of an outcome.
But what it can not do, is affect any form of large scale change, it is a stagnant feeling that may touch individuals but will not change societies. You need power to do that, and this is why when you speak to people of color and they tell you unequivocally that they can be prejudice but they can't be racist, this is what they mean.
Rather than dismissing them out of hand because this sentiment makes you uncomfortable, why don't you have an actual conversation and listen?
Systemic Racism - is real
Generational Wealth - is real
Micro Aggressions - are real
These are real things that people need to come to terms with or nothing will ever change.