Monday, October 27, 2014

The New Racism: Denial

I come from a very large family on my mother's side and many of my Facebook friends are family members. My second cousin, LaNi is a lovely, intelligent young woman whose posts are always interesting. She led me to a piece on titled "I Hope My Son Stays White." The author is a white American male married to a black Haitian woman and they have a child together. The focus of his article, with the attention grabbing title, is the concept of white privilege and his recognition that his son, as he ages, will be regarded as a black male and will not share in that privilege. Instead his son will have to confront all the attendant stereotypes foisted on to black males in American culture. It's a thoughtful post and I recommend it.

As I tend to do, I began reading the comments following the article. Some got his point, but the white folks who are in denial that white privilege exists, were clueless, as usual. Then there was Sandy N. who felt compelled to set Tavias straight.
Tavias: I think his point is that recent events has (sic) MADE him aware of how dangerous the lack of said privileges truly are. Most who have those privileges honestly think there is no longer an actual race problem and that those who say there is are pulling "the race card."
Sandy N.: Tavias, given the recent events, I would teach my child to not be a criminal. As far as the "race card" goes, it is people like Al Sharpton that keep it alive. If the races were at peace he would go bankrupt. I don't recall him ever coming out and saying that black men and women should take responsibility for their actions. I have never heard of this man come out against black on black violence, or just violence in general. Sadly, the other biggest problem to race relations is our president. He only interjects himself and his cronies into white on black violence. When did he ever come out on the issues that I mentioned above?
Yes I know it will have no impact on Sandy, but I nonetheless decided to respond to her clueless patter. Sometimes it helps me keep my head from exploding by expressing myself. I left the following comment for Sandy. It will at least make her sputter and protest that she's not a racist and maybe, just maybe, she'll whine and feel put upon by the mean black lady. A woman can always hope. (I don't like people like Sandy.)

Sandy, it is people like you who really contribute to keeping racism alive. You live in a state of constant denial. You do exactly what the author of this post writes about. Even if Michael Brown had robbed ten stores, he was not an animal to be shot in the back multiple times and killed on the street.

Al Sharpton doesn't need to tell Black people to be responsible for our actions. We are not stupid and we don't need to be lectured on how not to be thugs.

Our children are no more thuggish than white children. Funny how when college students overturn vehicles and set fires at some pumpkin festival celebration no one ever uses the word "thugs." When white teenagers break into a house and hold a party and do nearly a million dollars worth of damage to the home, not only are they not labeled thugs but their parents get angry with the homeowner for daring to press charges against their darlings.

Stop worrying about black people's behavior and look at your own. Your attitude is deplorable. Why are you so anxious for someone to lecture us on black on black violence? Neither Sharpton nor the President, nor any black person in his or her right mind condones any type of violence. Why aren't you talking about white on white violence? Or discussing why it is that exceptionally wealthy white people still feel the need to steal, defraud, and run Ponzi schemes to rob people of their life savings? Or why young white males keep taking guns to school and shooting their classmates?

I've had experience with the KKK and you are far worse. The KKK admits that they hate people of color, Jews, homosexuals and anyone who doesn't look like them or share their values. But you are reprehensible, because you're a fraud. Your main concern is that no one think that you're a racist. You spend your energies blaming black people for "reverse racism" as the source of the racial problems in this country.

You despise Al Sharpton without ever having really listened to the man's message. He has never, not once advocated violence as a solution to America's racial issues. He is a devout disciple of Dr. King and has always preached nonviolent protest. How many times have you even listened to the man?

You won't understand a single thing that I've said. Instead you'll write me off as an angry, racist black person. I'm not angry, Sandy. I'm disgusted.


Anonymous said...

Awesome my friend as always!

Sybil said...

Very very well said my dear friend...Although I very much doubt if she will take any notice...why is it that people always think that THEY are right and EVERYONE else is wrong, no matter how clear the situation might be....Oh yes we do live in a queer old world...said with a shake of my head xxxx

Lisa :-] said...

I also feel the need to respond to idiots on the internet, lest my head explode. And I, like you, understand that it won't make a bit of difference to the idiot, but it makes ME feel better. Give'em hell, Sheria!

Ken Riches said...

People now adays protest so much about not being racists that it only demonstrates that they are. This is evidenced by the hate for our president with no specifics. I agree that this denied racism is disgusting. Sigh...

Shoshanah Lee Marohn said...

Maybe she didn't read it, but I read it, and found it an eye opener. I'm glad you said what needed to be said. I do not, as a white lady, really totally understand. I am ever more enlightened, the more you write. So please keep writing!

I get embarrassed for all white people everywhere when I read crap like that.

Capt. Fogg said...


The "methinks she protesteth too much" argument, is of course a fallacy.

Are you saying that anyone who says she is not a racist is, ipso facto? So I guess you are a racist and the burden is on you to prove your implied denial is below the official limit?

There's a term called Aporia It applies to a condition that stops all conversation by making it paradoxical. The notion that anyone who says he isn't a racist is a racist is an example.

Capt. Fogg said...


"I get embarrassed for all white people everywhere"

What do you mean by white people? Do you realize that this arbitrary classification implies a common identity and characteristics that would otherwise be called racist stereotyping? Do you really want to extend the words of an arbitrarily selected "white' person to postulate that all "whites" are alike?


Good questions, but why do people think anything is clear? The simple truth is that the truth isn't simple and that no one is always right or always wrong -- or always racist -- and doesn't that argue that we should respect each other?

A statement may be 'racist' without the person who made it being much more than naive and when we're angry we impute incorrect motives to others. We can find racism anywhere we look for it and to me this argues for tolerance and patience and self doubt and self criticism all of which, I'm suggesting makes all but the most overt racism moot.

Of course I could be wrong.

Capt. Fogg said...


I hesitate to sound like I'm arguing with you because I'm familiar with your rhetorical abilities -- but please don't shoot. Leading the examined life really isn't all that easy for anyone!

I won't even ask that you not consider me a racist, because it's obvious that some think that's proof of being one, logic notwithstanding. I can't prove a negative after all and perhaps a lack of malice and a surfeit of respect isn't enough either.

So here's my 'contribution.' My feeling about people, and not all of them of European descent, who are cynical about how racism affects the targeted group are really mostly defending their sense of self pity. How often do you hear "nobody ever gave me anything" before some statement about some people being lazy and unworthy - about some people being "takers?"

And how do we deal with subliminal guilt? We turn it backwards into self-pity, which is more than simple denial and easier to swallow.

What we call White Privilege has much to do with money too. I'm certainly where I am because of endowed privilege, some financial, some racial, no doubt. People gave me a lot and forgave me a lot. I'm well aware of it, believe me and I'm well aware that such is not the universal case. But life being not a zero-sum game, I don't know whether it's more accurate to talk of a lack of privilege for non-caucasians than a privilege for whites, but it's easier to swallow for someone who feels he's had to fight for everything all his life. I just see so much phony self pity behind the contempt.

Of course the notion of personal responsibility for our fate and fortune is valid, but it's narrow. It doesn't refute the disproportionate lack of possibilities for betterment and oversupply of opportunities for trouble.

See a broke black person and "it's his own fault" See a rich one and "it's because of all the unfair advantages he's had and doesn't that prove there's no racism?" It's racist, but it's more, a tendency for self protection and the justification for the status quo.

Is it more about money? Would a big increase in black affluence help? Didn't Colin Powell's son run the FCC, won't the Obama girls have opportunities galore? But if the self pity theory holds true, perhaps it could make them targets as well. It might make it worse.

Is this observation helpful or even valid? I don't know, but I try.

We all invariably act and think emotionally and inaccurately. We are all adept at assuring ourselves that we are right when we contradict ourselves and when we are show to be wrong. I could accuse Sharpton of that and I can be very specific, but I can also do the same for almost anyone, myself included. He is not a perfect or totally objective man. He is certainly not a stranger to ambition, but who is or ever has been?

It should be possible to address anyone's faults regardless of his race but it isn't, even when there's no malice involved. Moses made God angry, so maybe it's OK for Sharpton to irritate me, without calling me racist - please?

As one commenter here mentioned, "they always think they're right and everyone else is wrong" and it's true, but "we" are somebody else's "they" aren't we?

Sheria Reid said...

Capt. Fogg, you didn't understand a thing that I wrote. You're clueless and I don't have the energy nor inclination to try and explain it to you. Your three responses were all about you and your perceptions. That's classic white privilege. And yes, people who protest that they aren't racists generally are. There's no need to deny what you are not. How often have you heard someone declare in a conversation ab out crime in their city, "I'm not a criminal." How often does someone declare, "I'm not a child molester or adulterer or a wife beater?" Only if they are being questioned by the police but not in an everyday conversation with peers about those topics. Th problem is racism. Naivete is no excuse for making racist statements. Quite frankly, I'm tired of worrying about white people's hurt feelings.I also don't see what white people have to feel "self-pity" about. I'm done. I'm spending way too much time on this.

veganelder said...

Ms. Reid, I just found your blog and want to thank you for your efforts. Your writing is a treasure.