I've been reading a lot of material about race and racism in America here lately. A friend suggests that addressing white racism needs a more humane approach to guide white people into confronting their racism and dealing with it. I'm not feeling so generous.
I'm tired of waiting for white people to understand the obvious. I'm tired of reading nasty racists comments on a story about fashion. Almost any topic on the Internet can be used by those who want to spread racist hate to do so. I'm tired of having to coddle white racists and I'm at the point where I don't really give a damn if they go screaming into an insane asylum. I agree with an old friend, a white southerner, who says that white people need to talk to other white people about racism.
How long does it take for white people to recognize that they have participated in and benefited from a monstrous system? When I was a child growing up in a society of "no colored allowed" signs, I thought that we were going to move beyond that. I thought that Dr. King's dream was going to become a reality. But while legalized racism has been dismantled, societal norms and social conventions haven't caught up. Since Obama's elections, racism has become more public. A 17 year old unarmed black male is deemed suspicious by a neighborhood vigilante who follows him, shoots him and then successfully argues that it was self-defense. I can accept that the jury viewed the evidence as insufficient to convict. What pisses me off is all of the white people who assert that Zimmerman's stalking of Martin had nothing to do with race. Are they really so ignorant that they don't know that "looks suspicious" is code for walking while black in Zimmerman's world? There was no reasonable cause for Zimmerman to follow Martin, exactly what is suspicious about a kid walking through a neighborhood?
I just read a comment by a white male in NC who talked about how well his integrated neighborhood gets along. He extolled the image of all the neighbors being friends. I'd love to talk to the black people in his neighborhood and find out how many of them agree with him.
My experience has been that it is always up to the black people to conform to white society in order to be accepted by the more enlightened liberal whites. There is nothing that we can do to be accepted by the sheet wearing crew. Wearing the mask, that is cloaking our connections to black cultural norms, is psychologically harmful and emotionally draining. We've been doing it since the first Africans were carted to these shores in the belly of a ship. There was and is immense pressure from the white culture for black people to assimilate culturally if we wish to be reasonable successful in the larger society. I don't want a colorblind society. I want to be appreciated as a black southern woman. Race is a social construct but my black cultural identity is an essential part of who I am.
President Obama's recent words about the Zimmerman verdict were beautiful and heart felt but they've also been said over and over again and haven't really made much difference. White people are not only still clinging to racist generalizations but when all else fails, they accuse black people of "reverse racism" and with sincere indignation declare that it is black people, led by that irascible duo of Sharpton and Jackson who keep racism alive.
I have no more patience with the persistence of racism and I certainly don't have the emotional energy to help white people learn how not to be racist.
White people are not the victims but the perpetrators of a system of racial exclusion that has persisted long past the end of chattel slavery and imposed social and economic consequences on black people that have impeded our ability to successfully and fully compete in the economic infrastructure in this country leaving us disproportionately represented in the underclass and in the nation's prison system. I find this to be unacceptable and I think that it's long overdue for white people who know better to talk to those who don't, about racism in America.