I’m Not a Racist? (Conversation 7)

Although I really don’t want to address this question about race, I feel that someone must be willing to address it. I had two separate questions posed to me from people who did not want to be mentioned or referenced if I decided to use it as a topic. Both were very good question that I’m uncomfortable with it trying to answer. Primarily, because I see a measure of validity in the reason the questions were asked. So don’t get mad at me, I’m actually trying to provide an answer.

  1. Do you think White people are more prone to racism or racist actions and ideas than any other group of people?
  2. Why are Black people so sensitive about race?

Now what these questions are doing is asking some privately held cultural assumptions that Blacks and Whites primarily, but not exclusively have had about each other when it comes to racial issues.

So what is true and what is false?

I can only give my opinion on these questions based off of my own experiences, research and interactions. I do not claim to have the answer for all, but I believe this is a fair and honest analysis and explanation. I also attempt to answer this as a Black American from the South. This doesn’t mean my perspective is bias, because I work towards fairness and equality. I can’t be bias and defend freedom and equality at the same time and expect anyone to take me seriously. So examine what I’m saying and if you have a question to ask me, ask it honestly and without prejudice. If you believe I didn’t go far enough just politely emphasis your point and build on mine.

Regarding Question 1

No. If this is true then how can the Underground Railroad, N.A.A.C.P. and the Civil Rights Movement be explained. Whites were apart of all of these. There were many White people who fought, struggled and died along with Blacks in search for freedom and equality. To suggest that one race is more adept to a negative characteristic is equality as bad as the charge against them.

There are Whites, just as there are Blacks, Latinos, Jews, Arabs, Asians and many others who practice racism, whether intentionally or unconsciously. They may not like to think of themselves as a racist, but you only need to observe what they say, think and do in order to measure whether they are a racist or how much of a racist they are or not.

I have personally dealt with racism on various issues directed towards me from Blacks as well as Whites on multiple occasions. So to accept the assumption in the question you have to assume the same about all other races, which disproves that it is exclusive to one race.

Regarding Question 2

I would say it depends on the specifics of the incident. Many Blacks like myself have been taught to live with racism. I don’t believe racism in any form should be tolerated, but none-the-less its been taught. Just as it is taught by many Whites to not speak or address issues of race, the opposite is true with Blacks today. Now depending on where you are in the world, life and how passive or assertive you are hinges the reality of how you respond to racism.

When you are classified, stereotyped and mistrusted for as long as you can remember it has an affect on your psyche. You may have the tendency to believe the hype.

I was told by my 3rd Grade teacher, a White woman that I would make a good garbage man when I grow up. Then she would make me pick up the trash and throw it away after our class projects. When confronted by another White Woman who was a speech pathologist working at the school, she said that it wasn’t because I was Black, although I was the only Black kid in the class and one of a handful in the school itself. Now this was decades ago and I can recall it. This is only one instance and introduction to racism I had in 3rd Grade. How many White kids are confronted with that at that age in comparison to Blacks, Latinos and Muslims?

What was different about this one situation is that I was able to see that not all White people are bad. Although this ignorant White woman had it in her heart to tell the impressionable mind of a 3rd Grader that he should aspire to be a garbage man, which is an honorable job. It was another White Woman who defended a Black child against racism. I remember that very clearly.

It was later that the principle of the school told my parents that I would be better at a job that I could use my hands instead of my head. The only truth in that is that I have to use my hands to program database applications today. So I used the previous example instead of this one, because he was right to a degree.

When you take the time to consider others you begin to learn their history, their story which lends you the opportunity to understand where they’re coming from on a particular position. Why they think, do or say the things they do?

You become apart of their environment, experiences and conversations. When they are offended you are offended. When they succeed you succeed. You have to love yourself enough to be able to love others. The best test I know on this concept is how easily you can consider others than yourself.

Whites are not prone to racism, neither are Blacks overly sensitive about race. We all should be sensitive about race, because the only default race is human, who is often at fault for the promotion of racism.

3 thoughts on “I’m Not a Racist? (Conversation 7)

  1. 1) “Do you think White people are more prone to racism or racist actions and ideas than any other group of people?”

    No. But any racial majority in a given area can be.
    Hispanics are fervent about being La Rasa. Especially when their numbers are high.
    White owned farms in Africa are taken from them for no other reason than the fact that they’re white.
    Asians in China have attacked African exchange students for dating Chinese females.
    Whites in the US, Europe, Russia, S Africa, Australia… have established
    racial divides for all kinds of reasons.

    It’s no secret about the Israelis.

    More prone? No. There are just a lot of “whites” on this planet so it can surely seem that way.
    And though racists are as diverse as diversity, the one thing they all have in common is that they’re morally wrong.
    The fact that whites are not more “prone” does not diminish the reality that we (whites) have to confront this blight on our race and remove it. I would expect no more or less from other races.
    The whole concept of judging others by skin color or ethnic background is absurd in every sense of the word.

    2) “Why are Black people so sensitive about race?”

    Because that’s how people attack them.
    Any racial minority is going to be more sensitive about that which makes them a minority in the eyes of a majority.

    I recommend some deep reading to those who don’t understand this concept.

    “The Star Bellied Sneetches had bellies with stars. But the Plain Bellied Sneetches had none upon thar’s” – Theodor Seuss Geisel

    Interesting that one of history’s wisest men wrote children’s stories. He knew how to shape the future and was not afraid to take his time in doing so. Visionaries are so few and far between these days.

  2. Race in terms of skin color is a convenient visual cue for distinguishing those who are “different” from us. As such, race can be used to justify feelings of superiority and acts of discrimination. There is no reason to believe that this restricted to one group or another. In practical terms however, whether we are talking about the European conquest of the Americas or the colonization of Africa, it has been Whites exerting malevolent against people of color. True there have been many cases where non-Whites have behaved in a similar manner but it seems that more often than not, the economic, military and political power of Whites has put them in a position to use racism to subjugate other people. I have no illusion that had the circumstances been reversed, it would have gone the other way – but we have to deal with reality. Simply saying ‘oh, we’re all racists,’ doesn’t change the facts. There may be some alternate universe where Blacks had the upper hand and enslaved Whites or tried to exterminate indigenous White populations but that’s not the universe we live in.

    As to the question of Blacks being “sensitive” about race – I’m afraid that the question perhaps shows the ultimate limits of human empathy. Anyone who has studied even elementary school history or who reads the news should have some small measure of understanding on that issue. I assume the book “Black Like Me” is still in print. It is the story of a White man who darkened his skin and experienced first hand what it was like. I would suggest that anyone who questions Black “sensitivity” read it. It was written many years ago and yes things have changed but the current matter of the Louisiana JP refusing to marry an interracial couple shows that they haven’t changed very much at all for some people. If nothing else, the open and virulent race baiting of Pres. Obama should convince any open minded person that there are a disturbing number of White Americans whose sentiments give people of color plenty of reason to be sensitive.

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