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Erich Bloodaxe BSN

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Member since: Sat Mar 15, 2014, 09:23 AM
Number of posts: 14,733

About Me

Erich S Bloodaxe, PhD, MS, BS, BA, BSN, ADN, RN. (It took me a while to figure out what I really wanted to do with my life ;) Democratic socialist by nature, if not by registration atm. Spent a lot of of time on Daily Kos, decided I needed to branch out a bit. Currently spending more time at jackpineradicals.org

Journal Archives

Dear white folks,

Dear white folks:

I'm a white guy too, and I've got a few things to say about race and denial.

Too many of us are going around using thinly-veiled excuses to continue to to reinforce the status quo, with white people as 'first class citizens' and people with darker skin tones as second class citizens. One of the most common is the 'reverse racism' meme. First, 'reverse racism' simply doesn't exist in America on any serious scale. Racism requires power. Anyone can be racially bigoted, but racism is about who has the power to disadvantage other 'races'. And that power is tied to our institutions, our social and power structures - structures that were set up by white people, for white people, hundreds of years ago, and have been maintained that way mostly unchanged for all of that time.

So you just can't say 'they do it to us too'. They don't, they *can't*. Not until people of colour not only are in the majority in holding offices with power, and actually are using that power to set up systems to disadvantage whites. And even thinking that they'll want to do so is pretty damn paranoid. If you actually think they'll 'get whitey' as 'revenge', I think you need to get out and actually meet more people with darker skins and realize that they're just like those of us without a lot of melanin.

They simply want the same things you or I want.

To not worry that they'll be pulled over by cops for 'being in the wrong place', 'being in a car that looks too expensive', 'being "the kind of people" cops assume are criminals' based on nothing more than a dark skin. To not be disproportionately arrested for minor crimes, and not to be strangled to death over misdemeanours. To not worry that they'll be shot by police when they obey police orders during a traffic stop because police simply assume they're 'lunging for a weapon' when they reach for their wallet, or that ANYTHING in their hands is a weapon, that ANY movement even slightly towards the cop is an 'attempt to charge' that will result in a hail of bullets.

To be able to rush their pregnant wives to the hospital without worrying about being gunned down. To be able to go up to a house and knock to ask for someone to call 911 after an accident without simply being gunned down. To be able to play their own music in their own car, without being gunned down.

To be able to walk around stores without being followed or watched by clerks constantly, under the assumption that they're shoplifters. To not be stopped for 'credit card theft' when they use their very own credit cards to buy high-priced merchandise. To not simply be told by clerks that 'they can't afford that' when they show an interest in some item without a clearly marked price.

To be able to send their children to schools that aren't falling apart. To have teachers who don't suspend their children or give them detention at rates far higher than their white fellow students for the exact same behaviours. To have their children given the same extra tutoring if it's available, for them to not be dismissively told that they won't ever amount to anything, or that they won't do well.

To be able to have the same chance to get a job interview as us white folks, even if they have 'black sounding' names. To be hired for jobs based on their experience, their abilities, their own attitude towards work. Not to have it assumed that they will be 'lazy' or 'trouble' or prone to missing work.

To be able to get loans based on their credit rating, and houses or apartments in any neighbourhood, without people complaining that they'll 'bring down property values', without realtors trying to 'guide' them into 'appropriate' neighbourhoods. And to have their new neighbours welcome them, and smile at their children when they're walking down the street to get candy at the local store. Not to call the police on them, stalk them, and murder them for the crime of simply being in an area where burglaries have taken place of late.

They don't dream of enslaving you, of having cops who shoot you for no reason other than 'they're scared' of white people. They don't deserve what's happening to them day after day, week after week, month after month, because white people are 'scared' and too damn quick to pull a gun out of fear. They don't want to turn the tables on us. They simply want to join us in being able to live in dignity and without fear. And there is simply no way to 'justify' the way black people, Hispanic people, American Indians are mistreated in America. Even if you can find some black guys somewhere who ARE criminals, who are worth being 'scared' of, it simply doesn't justify the mistreatment and mistrust of EVERY black person, any more than they should mistrust EVERY white person because the Aryan Brotherhood exists.

There is no justification for collective guilt. None. Each and every person should be judged in and of themselves, not based on their skin tone, their ethnicity, their religion. And if, IF, some legal issue arises, it should be dealt with by law enforcement who do not look to 'skin tone' to judge the seriousness of a crime, or how 'bad' any alleged perpetrator is. Not by cops who assume 'black = bad' and not by wanna-be vigilantes. And even then, those individuals should not be mistreated, ever. The MINIMUM amount of force possible should always be used, and police should be trained to de-escalate tense situations, not to jump to lethal force if an alleged perpetrator has dark skin.

They want what we want. Because we're all humans together, with the same needs. And one of those needs is not to live every day in fear that any minor thing you do or someone imagines you do is going to get you killed.

So now let's talk white privilege. Over and over again, people circle around to the argument that bringing up 'white privilege' is racist. Wrong again. Pointing out things that exist, and pointing out how they need to change is not racist, even when it's directly tied to race.

(I'm leaving some of the original text with only minor changes here.)

Complaining about white privilege is not the same as assigning collective guilt to white people. White privilege is a pervasive feature of our society and our legal system. It's hard to see if you're white (and you're not looking or actively trying not to look), but it is real, it is powerfully destructive, and if global warming had the kind of statistical support that evidence of white privilege has, Bill O'Reilly would be haranguing FOX News viewers to install solar panels.

And here's the subtle point that many white folks either can't or won't grasp. White privilege is especially the responsibility of white people to fix right now, not because we're all racially bigoted schlubs, but because white privilege itself means that we're the ones who have the power to change it. Black people don't have that power, and won't until or unless they finally wind up with enough elected offices and hold enough key positions in business and organizations. Until that point in time, it's our problem and our responsibility as white people to fix not because whites are collectively guilty, but because we still hold the reins of power.

It is the responsibility of ALL PEOPLE to fight for decent treatment for ALL PEOPLE. It just happens that, because of the historical nature of people with 'white' skins to be the exploiters, rather than the exploited, throughout history, we white people are the ones who can do something about it. When the finger on the trigger is white, it's pointless to ask a black guy to lower the gun.

And quite frankly, given all the shit that our black fellow citizens have put up with, and all the shit they have to deal with every. fucking. day., if some of them lose their tempers and say things that make you feel defensive, is that actually surprising? You lose your minds when black people just complain verbally about being kicked. Imagine how tough it would be for you to keep your cool if someone was actually doing something to you instead of just talking.

I'd like to think that this made you think a bit. Made you reconsider the automatic denial that any of us feel when we think we're being 'accused' of something, the denial that you and I have the 'privilege' of not being treated poorly, insulted, or even murdered that darker skinned people do not. As long as people of colour are being murdered by the state, given draconian sentences for crimes that in many cases they haven't even committed, and being held in poverty and privation and a constant state of fear, you'll keep hearing about racism and white privilege. Because until that day comes, if it ever does, these talks will be necessary.

Your fellow privileged white guy
Posted by Erich Bloodaxe BSN | Sat Oct 4, 2014, 10:42 AM (5 replies)
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