My last post about racism in Florida inspired two comments which seemed to be trying to tell me that black people can be racists too. No way! You gotta be kidding me! Gosh, thank God I have people looking out for me, otherwise my intellect would go the way of the Dodo bird.
Never mind that my post had to do with a white teacher saying in class that CHANGE stands for “Come Help A Nigger Get Elected”.
Let’s look at the definition of “racism”, shall we?
By this definition, black people in the U.S. only get to use the third meaning, not having been in a postion to legitimize those grandiose illusions of superiority. I know all the arguments. It wasn’t me who did it. My family didn’t own slaves . It was 150 years ago. Get over yourselves already.
Black people who are still mad are charged with an inability to get with the program; with unfairly targeting white people. White people who have a whisper of a clue about what black people still have to endure are accused of suffering from “white guilt”. Not me. If my family had been any poorer, we would have been slaves ourselves. Except we were white. Somehow, the notion that you can believe in fairness and equality without tying it to your race has…gone the way of the Dodo bird.
Let me recount a brief experience I had many years ago. I went to Paris with a friend whose sister was attending the Sorbonne. We stayed in the sister’s apartment along with her roommate. One evening, the roommate came home trembling with fear. She’d been returning home late, via the subway, and while standing on one of the moving sidewalks she found her way blocked at the end by a group of young male Algerians. She started walking backwards. Of course she couldn’t keep up and was inevitably heading into their hands. They eventually laughed and dispersed. When she got home she was still terrified, but was also wailing about how this could happen to her. “I’m on their side!”, she said. I said, unlike the way we like to look at it in the U.S., oppressed people don’t respond by saying “Thanks a lot for giving us more freedom”, now let us all sing Kumbayah. Be wary, and take care of yourself.
I understand her disappointment. I’ve had some scary moments myself, though not since I left Memphis. All races and religions have thugs. That will not change me.
But food for another post: The worst thing that happened to black people in the U.S. is Affirmative Action. It may also have been the best thing. (“It was the worst of times, it was the best of times; it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness; it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity; it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness; it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair; we had everything before us, we had nothing before us; we were all going directly to Heaven, we were all going the other way.”)