going back to africa

Reunifying African diaspora across the Americas with each other, their pride, history, culture, true homes & identity…

Archive for the tag “Ferguson”

White Fragility

by

Robin DiAngelo [a white woman]

(with minor editing by me)

White people in North America live in a social environment that protects & insulates them from race-based stress. This insulated environment of racial protection builds white expectations for racial comfort, while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress, leading to what I refer to as White Fragility.

White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear & guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence & leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. This document explicates the dynamics of White Fragility.

I am a white woman. I am standing beside a black woman. We are facing a group of white people who are seated in front of us. We are in their workplace, and have been hired by their employer to lead them in a dialogue about race. The room is filled with tension and charged with hostility. I have just presented a definition of racism that includes the acknowledgment that whites hold social & institutional power over people of color [PoC]. A white man is pounding his fist on the table. His face is red and he is furious. As he pounds he yells, “White people have been discriminated against for 25 years! A white person can’t get a job anymore!” I look around the room & see 40 employed people, all white. There are no PoC in this workplace. Something is happening here, and it isn’t based in the racial reality of the workplace. I am feeling unnerved by this man’s disconnection with that reality & his lack of sensitivity to the impact this is having on my co-facilitator, the only person of color in the room. Why is this white man so angry? Why is he being so careless about the impact of his anger? Why are all the other white people either sitting in silent agreement with him or tuning out? We have, after all, only articulated a definition of racism.

White people in North America live in a social environment that protects & insulates them from race-based stress. Fine identifies this insulation when she observes “… how Whiteness accrues privilege & status; gets itself surrounded by protective pillows of resources and/or benefits of the doubt; how Whiteness repels gossip & voyeurism and instead demands dignity…” [Although white racial insulation is somewhat mediated by social class (with poor & working class urban whites being generally less racially insulated than suburban or rural whites), the larger social environment insulates & protects whites as a group through institutions, cultural representations, media, school textbooks, movies, advertising, dominant discourses, etc] Whites are rarely without these “protective pillows,” and when they are, it is usually temporary & by choice. This insulated environment of racial privilege builds white expectations for racial comfort, while at the same time lowering the ability to tolerate racial stress.

For many white people, a single required multicultural education course taken in college, or required “cultural competency training” in their workplace, is the only time they may encounter a direct & sustained challenge to their racial understandings. But even in this arena, not all multicultural courses or training programs talk directly about racism, much less address white privilege. It is far more the norm for these courses & programs to use racially coded language such as “urban,” “inner city,” & “disadvantaged” but to rarely use “white” or “over-advantaged” or “privileged.” This racially coded language reproduces racist images & perspectives while it simultaneously reproduces the comfortable illusion that race & its problems are what “they” have, not us.

Reasons why the facilitators of these courses & trainings may not directly name the dynamics & beneficiaries of racism range from the lack of a valid analysis of racism by white facilitators, personal & economic survival strategies for facilitators of color, and the overall pressure from management to keep the content comfortable & palatable for whites. However, if & when an educational program does directly address racism & the privileging of whites, common white responses include anger, withdrawal, emotional incapacitation, guilt, argumentation & cognitive dissonance (all of which reinforce the pressure on facilitators to avoid directly addressing racism).

So-called progressive whites may not respond with anger, but may still insulate themselves via claims that they are beyond the need for engaging with the content because they “already had a class on this” or “already know this.” These reactions are often seen in anti-racist education endeavors as forms of resistance to the challenge of internalized dominance. These reactions do indeed function as resistance, but it may be useful to also conceptualize them as the result of the reduced psychosocial stamina that racial insulation inculcates. I call this lack of racial stamina White Fragility.

Although mainstream definitions of racism are typically some variation of individual “race prejudice”, which anyone of any race can have, Whiteness scholars define racism as encompassing economic, political, social, and cultural structures, actions, and beliefs that systematize and perpetuate an unequal distribution of privileges, resources and power between white people and PoC. This unequal distribution benefits whites and disadvantages PoC overall and as a group. Racism is not fluid in the U.S.; it does not flow back & forth, one day benefiting whites & another day (or even era) benefiting PoC. The direction of power between whites & PoC is historic, traditional, normalized & deeply embedded in the fabric of U.S. society.

Whiteness itself refers to the specific dimensions of racism that serve to elevate white people over PoC. This definition counters the dominant representation of racism in mainstream education as isolated in discrete behaviors that some individuals may or may not demonstrate & goes beyond naming specific privileges. Whites are theorized as actively shaped, affected, defined & elevated through their racialization & the individual & collective consciousness’ formed within it. Recognizing that the terms I am using are not “theory-neutral ‘descriptors’” but theory-laden constructs inseparable from systems of injustice”, I use the terms white & Whiteness to describe a social process. Frankenberg defines Whiteness as multi-dimensional:

Whiteness is a location of structural advantage, of race privilege. Second, it is a ‘standpoint,’ a place from which White people look at ourselves, at others, and at society. Third, ‘Whiteness’ refers to a set of cultural practices that are usually unmarked and unnamed.

Frankenberg & other theorists use Whiteness to signify a set of locations that are historically, socially, politically & culturally produced, and which are intrinsically linked to dynamic relations of domination. Whiteness is thus conceptualized as a constellation of processes & practices rather than as a discrete entity (i.e. skin color alone). Whiteness is dynamic, relational, and operating at all times & on myriad levels. These processes & practices include basic rights, values, beliefs, perspectives & experiences purported to be commonly shared by all, but which are actually only consistently afforded to white people. Whiteness Studies begin with the premise that racism & white privilege exist in both traditional & modern forms, and rather than work to prove its existence, work to reveal it. This document explores the dynamics of one aspect of Whiteness & its effects, White Fragility.

Triggers

White Fragility is a state in which even a minimum amount of racial stress becomes intolerable, triggering a range of defensive moves. These moves include the outward display of emotions such as anger, fear, & guilt, and behaviors such as argumentation, silence & leaving the stress-inducing situation. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium. Racial stress results from an interruption to what is racially familiar. These interruptions can take a variety of forms and come from a range of sources, including:

• Suggesting that a white person’s viewpoint comes from a racialized frame of reference (challenge to objectivity)
• PoC talking directly about their racial perspectives (challenge to white racial codes)
• PoC choosing not to protect the racial feelings of white people in regards to race (challenge to white racial expectations and need/entitlement to racial comfort)
• PoC not being willing to tell their stories or answer questions about their racial experiences (challenge to colonialist relations)
• A fellow white not providing agreement with one’s interpretations (challenge to white solidarity)
• Receiving feedback that one’s behavior had a racist impact (challenge to white liberalism)
• Suggesting that group membership is significant (challenge to individualism)
• An acknowledgment that access is unequal between racial groups (challenge to meritocracy)
• Being presented with a person of color in a position of leadership (challenge to white authority);
• Being presented with information about other racial groups through, for example, movies in which PoC drive the action but are not in stereotypical roles, or multicultural education (challenge to white centrality).

In a white dominant environment, each of these challenges becomes exceptional. In turn, whites are often at a loss for how to respond in constructive ways. Whites have not had to build the cognitive or affective skills, or develop the stamina that would allow for constructive engagement across racial divides. Bourdieu’s concept of habitus may be useful here. According to Bourdieu, habitus is a socialized subjectivity; a set of dispositions which generate practices & perceptions. As such, habitus only exists in, through, and because of the practices of agents & their interaction with each other & with the rest of their environment. Based on the previous conditions & experiences that produce it, habitus produces & reproduces thoughts, perceptions, expressions & actions. Strategies of response to “disequilibrium” in the habitus are not based on conscious intentionality, but rather result from unconscious dispositions towards practice, and depend on the power position the agent occupies in the social structure.

White Fragility may be conceptualized as a product of the habitus, a response or “condition” produced & reproduced by the continual social & material advantages of the white structural position. Omi & Winant posit the U.S. racial order as an “unstable equilibrium,” kept equilibrated by the State, but still unstable due to continual conflicts of interests & challenges to the racial order. Using Omi & Winant’s concept of unstable racial equilibrium, white privilege can be thought of as unstable racial equilibrium at the level of habitus. When any of the above triggers (challenges in the habitus) occur, the resulting disequilibrium becomes intolerable. Because White Fragility finds its support in & is a function of white privilege, fragility & privilege result in responses that function to restore equilibrium & return the resources “lost” via the challenge – resistance towards the trigger, shutting down and/or tuning out, indulgence in emotional incapacitation such as guilt or “hurt feelings”, exiting, or a combination of these responses.

whiteContinued below: See White Fragility 2

White Fragility 2

Factors that inculcate White Fragility
Segregation
The first factor leading to White Fragility is the segregated lives which most white people live. Even if whites live in physical proximity to PoC (& this would be exceptional outside of an urban or temporarily mixed class neighborhood), segregation occurs on multiple levels, including representational & informational. Because whites live primarily segregated lives in a white-dominated society, they receive little or no authentic information about racism & are thus unprepared to think about it critically or with complexity. Growing up in segregated environments (schools, workplaces, neighborhoods, media images & historical perspectives), white interests & perspectives are almost always central, resulting in an inability to see or consider significance in the perspectives of PoC.

Further, white people are taught not to feel any loss over the absence of PoC in their lives & in fact, this absence is what defines their schools & neighborhoods as “good;” whites come to understand that a “good school” or “good neighborhood” is coded language for “white”. The quality of white space being in large part measured via the absence of PoC (Blacks in particular) is a profound message indeed, one that is deeply internalized & reinforced daily through normalized discourses about good schools & neighborhoods. This dynamic of gain rather than loss via racial segregation may be the most profound aspect of white racial socialization of all. Yet, while discourses about what makes a space good are tacitly understood as racially coded, this coding is explicitly denied by whites.


Universalism & Individualism
Whites are taught to see their perspectives as objective & representative of reality. The belief in objectivity, coupled with positioning white people as outside of culture (& thus the norm for humanity), allows whites to view themselves as universal humans who can represent all of human experience. This is evidenced through an unracialized identity or location, which functions as a kind of blindness; an inability to think about Whiteness as an identity or as a “state” of being that would or could have an impact on one’s life. In this position, Whiteness is not recognized or named by white people & a universal reference point is assumed. White people are just people. Within this construction, whites can represent humanity, while PoC, who are never just people but always most particularly black people, Asian people, etc., can only represent their own racialized experiences.

The discourse of universalism functions similarly to the discourse of individualism but instead of declaring that we all need to see each other as individuals (everyone is different), the person declares that we all need to see each other as human beings (everyone is the same). Of course we are all humans & I do not critique universalism in general, but when applied to racism, universalism functions to deny the significance of race & the advantages of being white. Further, universalism assumes that whites & PoC have the same realities, the same experiences in the same contexts (i.e. I feel comfortable in this majority white classroom, so you must too), the same responses from others & assumes that the same doors are open to all. Acknowledging racism as a system of privilege conferred on whites challenges claims to universalism.


At the same time that whites are taught to see their interests & perspectives as universal, they are also taught to value the individual & to see themselves as individuals rather than as part of a racially socialized group. Individualism erases history & hides the ways in which wealth has been distributed & accumulated over generations to benefit whites today. It allows whites to view themselves as unique & original, outside of socialization & unaffected by the relentless racial messages in the culture. Individualism also allows whites to distance themselves from the actions of their racial group & demand to be granted the benefit of the doubt, as individuals, in all cases.

 A corollary to this unracialized identity is the ability to recognize Whiteness as something that is significant & that operates in society, but to not see how it relates to one’s own life. In this form, a white person recognizes Whiteness as real, but as the individual problem of other “bad” white people. Given the ideology of individualism, whites often respond defensively when linked to other whites as a group or “accused” of collectively benefiting from racism, because as individuals, each white person is “different” from any other white person & expects to be seen as such. This narcissism is not necessarily the result of a consciously held belief that whites are superior to others (although that may play a role), but a result of the white racial insulation ubiquitous in dominant culture; a general white inability to see non-white perspectives as significant, except in sporadic & impotent reflexes, which have little or no long-term momentum or political usefulness.
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Whites invoke these seemingly contradictory discourses—we are either all unique or we are all the same—interchangeably. Both discourses work to deny white privilege & the significance of race. Further, on the cultural level, being an individual or being a human outside of a racial group is a privilege only afforded to white people. In other words, PoC are almost always seen as “having a race” & described in racial terms (“the black man”) but whites rarely are (“the man”), allowing whites to see themselves as objective & non-racialized. In turn, being seen (& seeing ourselves) as individuals outside of race frees whites from the psychic burden of race in a wholly racialized society. Race & racism become their problems, not ours. Challenging these frameworks becomes a kind of unwelcome shock to the system.


The disavowal of race as an organizing factor, both of individual white consciousness & the institutions of society at large, is necessary to support current structures of capitalism & domination, for without it, the correlation between the distribution of social resources & unearned white privilege would be evident. The existence of structural inequality undermines the claim that privilege is simply a reflection of hard work & virtue. Therefore, inequality must be hidden or justified as resulting from lack of effort. Individualism accomplishes both of these tasks. At the same time, the individual presented as outside these relations cannot exist without its disavowed other. Thus, an essential dichotomy is formed between specifically raced others & the unracialized individual. Whites have deep investments in race, for the abstract depends on the particular; they need raced others as the backdrop against which they may rise. Exposing this dichotomy destabilizes white identity.


Entitlement to racial comfort
In the dominant position, whites are almost always racially comfortable & thus have developed unchallenged expectations to remain so. Whites have not had to build tolerance for racial discomfort & thus when racial discomfort arises, whites typically respond as if something is “wrong,” & blame the person or event that triggered the discomfort (usually a person of color). This blame results in a socially-sanctioned array of counter-moves against the perceived source of the discomfort, including: penalization; retaliation; isolation; ostracization & refusal to continue engagement. Whites insistence on racial comfort ensures that racism will not be faced. This insistence also functions to punish those who break white codes of comfort. Whites often confuse comfort with safety & state that we don’t feel safe when what we really mean is that we don’t feel comfortable. This trivializes our history of brutality towards PoC & perverts the reality of that history. Because we don’t think complexly about racism, we don’t ask ourselves what safety means from a position of societal dominance, or the impact on PoC, given our history, for whites to complain about our safety when we are merely talking about racism.
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Racial Arrogance
Ideological racism includes strongly positive images of the white self as well as strongly negative images of racial “others”. This self-image engenders a self-perpetuating sense of entitlement because many whites believe their financial & professional successes are the result of their own efforts while ignoring the fact of white privilege. Because most whites have not been trained to think complexly about racism in schools or mainstream discourse & because it benefits white dominance not to do so, we have a very limited understanding of racism. Yet dominance leads to racial arrogance & in this racial arrogance, whites have no compunction about debating the knowledge of people who have thought complexly about race. Whites generally feel free to dismiss these informed perspectives rather than have the humility to acknowledge that they are unfamiliar, reflect on them further, or seek more information. This intelligence & expertise are often trivialized & countered with simplistic platitudes (i.e. “People just need to…”).
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Because of white social, economic & political power within a white dominant culture, whites are positioned to legitimize PoC’s assertions of racism. Yet whites are the least likely to see, understand, or be invested in validating those assertions & being honest about their consequences, which leads whites to claim that they disagree with perspectives that challenge their worldview, when in fact, they don’t understand the perspective.Thus, they confuse not understanding with not agreeing. This racial arrogance, coupled with the need for racial comfort, also has whites insisting that PoC explain white racism in the “right” way. The right way is generally politely & rationally, without any show of emotional upset. When explained in a way that white people can see & understand, racism’s validity may be granted (references to dynamics of racism that white people do not understand are usually rejected out of hand). However, whites are usually more receptive to validating white racism if that racism is constructed as residing in individual white people other than themselves.

Continued below: See White Fragility 3

White Fragility in conclusion

Conclusion
White people often believe that multicultural / anti-racist education is only necessary for those who interact with “minorities” or in “diverse” environments. However, the dynamics discussed here suggest that it is critical that all white people build the stamina to sustain conscious & explicit engagement with race. When whites posit race as non-operative because there are few, if any, PoC in their immediate environments, Whiteness is reinscribed ever more deeply. When whites only notice “raced others,” we reinscribe Whiteness by continuing to posit Whiteness as universal & non-Whiteness as other. Further, if we can’t listen to or comprehend the perspectives of PoC, we cannot bridge cross-racial divides. A continual retreat from the discomfort of authentic racial engagement results in a perpetual cycle that works to hold racism in place. While anti-racist efforts ultimately seek to transform institutionalized racism, anti-racist education may be most effective by starting at the micro level.

 The goal is to generate the development of perspectives & skills that enable all people, regardless of racial location, to be active initiators of change. Since all individuals who live within a racist system are enmeshed in its relations, this means that all are responsible for either perpetuating or transforming that system. However, although all individuals play a role in keeping the system active, the responsibility for change is not equally shared. White racism is ultimately a white problem & the burden for interrupting it belongs to white people. Conversations about Whiteness might best happen within the context of a larger conversation about racism. It is useful to start at the micro level of analysis & move to the macro, from the individual out to the interpersonal, societal & institutional. Starting with the individual & moving outward to the ultimate framework for racism – Whiteness – allows for the pacing that is necessary for many white people for approaching the challenging study of race. In this way, a discourse on Whiteness becomes part of a process rather than an event.

 Many white people have never been given direct or complex information about racism before & often cannot explicitly see, feel, or understand it. PoC are generally much more aware of racism on a personal level, but due to the wider society’s silence & denial of it, often do not have a macro-level framework from which to analyze their experiences. Further, dominant society “assigns” different roles to different groups of color & a critical consciousness about racism varies not only between individuals within groups, but also between groups. For example, many African Americans relate having been “prepared” by parents to live in a racist society, while many Asian heritage people say that racism was never directly discussed in their homes. A macro-level analysis may offer a framework to understand different interpretations & performances across & between racial groups. In this way, all parties benefit & efforts are not solely focused on whites (which works to re-center Whiteness).

 Talking directly about white supremacy & privilege, in addition to providing much needed information & shared definitions, is also in itself a powerful interruption of common (& oppressive) discursive patterns around race. At the same time, white people often need to reflect upon racial information & be allowed to make connections between the information & their own lives. Educators can encourage & support white participants in making their engagement a point of analysis. White Fragility doesn’t always manifest in overt ways; silence & withdrawal are also functions of fragility. Who speaks, who doesn’t speak, when, for how long & with what emotional valence are all keys to understanding the relational patterns that hold oppression in place. Viewing white anger, defensiveness, silence & withdrawal in response to issues of race through the framework of White Fragility may help frame the problem as an issue of stamina-building & thereby guide our interventions accordingly.
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White Man’s Burden

Racial tensions have been high once again across the United States ever since the announcement that the infamous former Officer Darren Wilson would not be indicted in the shooting death of Michael Brown. Protests on the ground & all over social media continue. Endless comments on various news outlets & social networks have been showing much of America’s true colors regarding their sentiments about race, aside from their personal takes on the Grand Jury’s decision not to charge Wilson with a crime.

This is a common theme I’ve noticed for many years now. Almost every news article you can find on any news site about a person of African descent, whether it be good or bad, has a plethora of disparaging remarks left by readers regarding their race. You will rarely find the same occurrence of similar style comments about whites. Trolls are everywhere, and some will say that we shouldn’t believe that these comments reflect the mindsets of most of white America; But could they?

In response to many of the common questions & negative comments made towards people of African descent, I thought I would list a few of the more popular ones I’ve encountered & answer or respond to them:

Q: Why are you people acting like children, rioting & looting, destroying your own neighborhoods? It’s not going to change anything & neither will the boycotts! Why are you protesting over a thug anyway?! He deserved what he got!

A: First off, only a very small percentage of protestors out of thousands all over the country have been damaging/stealing property (I prefer to call them opportunists, as they were not really there to fight injustice, but to take advantage of the situation for selfish reasons) & there has been speculation that many of the fires that were started had been done so by infiltrators in attempts to demonize black people in the media. Video footage of what appears to be police officers starting a fire has also surfaced. Almost every fire during the protests occurred on that same street, where there was a heavy police presence, which would have made it very difficult or highly unlikely that protestors were able to gain access to these buildings to start the fires themselves. A church that was burned was one that the Brown family attended, which was 3 miles away from the rest of the protests & no other buildings in the area were targeted & in the case of DeAndre Joshua, a 20 year old man found shot & burned in a car during the Ferguson protests, have both been speculated to be the work of the KKK. Joshua was a witness that testified before the Grand Jury, and was also a friend of Michael Brown’s.

Secondly, I & many others, including a majority of the protestors do not condone such behavior, so it makes no sense to apply the actions of a very small few to the overwhelming majority of peaceful protestors. It also makes no sense to only focus on those few bad ones, as it takes away from the message that the peaceful ones are trying to convey. It’s also quite inhumane to be more concerned with replaceable & repairable property than with the loss of an irreplaceable life, or the lives in this country who face racism on a regular basis. The protests are not only about Michael Brown’s incident either, but being denied a trial that many felt he deserved. They are also the result of built up frustration from a large number of other similar, recent & historical incidents & the obviously biased & broken judicial system. Many of the protests have been in honor of other people who died as a result of police brutality as well.

Thirdly, reports are stating that the boycotts & protests have made a great impact on Black Friday this year, with many stores not reaching their sales goals. The Montgomery Bus Boycotts went on for nearly a year, but in the end, laws were changed & it put America one step closer to racial equality. So some may already be convinced that doing boycotts will not help with the cause, but history proves otherwise.

Q: Why can’t you be more like Martin Luther King, Jr, who was peaceful & spoke of non-violence? He would be turning in his grave right now…

A: MLK was a great man who did many great things & America has not seen another black leader aside from Malcolm X that made such a widespread, positive impact on the movement for civil rights [Jesse Jackson & Al Sharpton are both agents & clowns also used to make blacks look bad. All of their ideals do not reflect that of most Africans in America]. However, let’s not forget who sent these honorable men to those graves & for what reasons.

Many white people seem to have the delusion that if black people in general were more educated, well-mannered, well-dressed & law-abiding, productive citizens, our blackness will magically become impossible to be seen by our oppressors & we would all finally start being treated like equals. King & X were all those things but killed anyway. It doesn’t matter how peaceful or successful black people are, we are often still mistreated based on our race alone. There’s a popular saying by Einstein, that it’s insanity to do the same thing over & over again & expect the same result. MLK & X did make changes, but obviously they weren’t enough & different tactics need to be tried. What those are exactly isn’t yet known, but the boycotts & protests are a start. But to suggest for blacks to be more like King, who played nice & was murdered anyway, is basically telling us to shut up & die. King spoke out against whom he referred to as the “white moderate” & once he started to realize that his methods for equality were largely a mistake & began to express as much, he was killed shortly after. So please, from now on – do not bring him up in regards to our fight against racial injustice. Instead, suggest solutions that will actually work this time around, that we & our children would be alive to benefit from.

Q: Slavery was such a long time ago, so why not let it go? You weren’t a slave! Things are different today, we’re all equal now. So stop playing the victim, pulling the “race card” & blaming whitey for your messed up life! Nobody owes you anything! Plus, Africans sold their own people into slavery so we’re not to blame!

A: Yes, slavery was a long time ago, but another delusion of many whites is that the mistreatment of blacks ended along with it. Many years of peonism & mass incarceration of blacks on false & trumped up charges followed. Segregation only ended about 50yrs ago. Discriminatory banking practices, redlining & gentrification continue in present day. There are still glaring racial disparities in the judicial system. So things really aren’t all that different. The benefits of slavery are still being reaped today (you see can examples of how in my last post), but not by blacks. It must also be remembered that slavery went on for hundreds of years & even though not all whites back then owned slaves, they sat by reaping the benefits, allowing it to continue for centuries. It would be very ignorant to believe that those same types of mindsets do not still exist today in large numbers. The unequal treatment of blacks should be evidence enough, but many bigots would claim that it’s of no fault but our own.

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I’ve also noticed that most whites, when brought up the subject of racism, they automatically assume that to do so means our lives are screwed up & that we believe it’s entirely the fault of white people. I’m sure there are a few blacks that feel that way, but the rest of us know that’s not reality. Successful Africans in America still face discrimination too, so it’s ignorant to believe that it is only disadvantaged blacks who believe that racism is still a serious issue.

Many of the common problems that plague black communities do have origins in the systematic racism that blankets blacks entire history since the days of slavery, all the way up to present day. It was whites who created the environment for the “race card” to even exist by not treating everyone equally from the beginning. They made the race card & dealt it to us; When we are suspicious of racism in certain situations, it’s not “pulling the race card”, it’s genuine diffidence based on history & personal experiences. These past & ongoing experiences have proven to us that in many instances, we are correct in our beliefs that we are being discriminated against. Ironically, many racists will reject the possibility of discrimination if they believe the victims of it were deserving of mistreatment & will pull the race card themselves if they believe that a black person has advanced due to their race alone, not because they actually deserve it:

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And yes, it is a fact that some corrupt African Moors sold their own people into slavery, but that in no way shape or form explains or excuses Europeans barbaric participation. Some whites honestly believe that this fact lessens or eliminates the responsibility of their past involvement. Well, it doesn’t – not even slightly. Also, what many who bring this up almost always fail to mention, is that in a majorityf of those instances, African leaders were manipulated with alcohol, supplied by Europeans, in order to obtain slaves. Another tactic they used was supplying tribes with weapons to attack neighboring tribes with & they’d then buy prisoners of war.

Africans did utilize slavery, however they weren’t known for treating their slaves with brutality like Europeans were. Mansa Musa – the richest man who ever lived, an African – owned thousands of slaves who were not mistreated, wore silks & gold, drank beer.. Oppressed still, but a much higher quality of life than the slaves of America. And again, Africans in America, nor are Africans in Africa, benefiting from slavery or systematic racism that was & is being practiced in the USA like whites still are to this day.

There have been studies that show trauma can be inherited & that fear can be passed down through generations via DNA. Behavior can be affected by events in previous generations which have been passed on through a form of genetic memory, animal studies suggest. So although none of the more recent generations of Africans in America have ever been slaves or faced the horrors their ancestors did, it doesn’t mean they aren’t able to internalize the emotions linked to those circumstances. This could also explain some blacks natural aversions to whites. There’s also this thing called being human, which means you have the ability to feel passionately about things even if they didn’t happen to you.

Q: What about stuff like BET, Miss Black America & HBCU’s? If you want to be treated like everyone, why do you separate yourselves? You’re all the real racists!

A: All of those were implemented due to being regularly excluded, not to create an even wider racial divide. Where we were not invited or welcome, we had to create our own versions. You’d think that would be pretty easy to figure out. Things like that still exist today because we are still not included in many ways. At pretty much any major grocery chain or drugstore’s registers, you will rarely ever see people of color gracing the covers of the magazines. Shows like Friends & Seinfeld had virtually no black characters, not even the extras used in the backgrounds. The acceptance rates for minorities at most non-HBCU colleges & universities in America remain very low. Virtually all popular superhero’s are white. Every Barbie commercial mainly features their white dolls, only showing their dolls of other races during the last few seconds & usually positioned in the background, behind the white one who is front & center. It took Disney 72 years to create a black princess & then chose one who kissed a frog – even portraying her as one for the bulk of the film – when in the original fable, the princess never turned into a frog. So even our children are being exposed to white supremacy, showing what the people in this country look like who are valued most, from their early years.

Q: What about “Black-on-Black crime“? You only care when non-black people kill blacks, but not when you kill each other? That’s racist! You need to take care of that problem before you start criticizing others for doing the same!

A: 84% of violent crimes committed against whites are done so by other whites, yet they never bring up their “white-on-white crime” problem. Most violent crimes happen within racial lines, not across them. Aside from that, it’s completely ridiculous to believe that blacks do not care when they lose a loved one by the hands of another black person. The difference is, when blacks kill other blacks, we know that it’s not racially motivated. Most crimes amongst blacks in low-income areas is economically based which stems from capitalism & many generations of systematic racism as well. When people are starving & lacking opportunities, they sometimes resort to desperate measures.

Of course race isn’t a factor in every instance where blacks are harmed or killed by white police, but history has shown us that when it is, the chances that race is a factor are more likely than not. It’s also completely ridiculous to use the theorized black-on-black crime epidemic to downplay the fact that minorities are targeted much more by law enforcement than whites, or as an excuse to make it seem like it should be okay for everybody else to kill blacks too. That’s sick…

Q: If you don’t like it  here, why don’t you leave (go back to Africa)?

A: This is probably the most disrespectful & extremely racist question of all. Africans were brought to this country against their will, stripped of their history, identity, languages & cultures, forced to build this country up without compensation for hundreds of years, all the while being treated like shit (separated, murdered, lynched, burned alive, castrated, all this often times in front of other family members, etc) with very little to no appreciation or remorse expressed in the aftermath, on top of further mistreatment. We’re the ones who have been continuously & very deeply wronged, but it is us that should go??

It would make a whole lot more sense to tell racists to stop treating us as lesser, or suggest that they leave instead, but the mind of a bigot is anything but logical. Don’t they realize that to believe such a thing is the equivalent to thinking that if women want to lower their risk of being sexually harassed or raped, they should never leave home, wear skirts, or avoid being in the presence of men? Or that a youth who is being bullied should the be one to switch schools, or be home-schooled, or ignore the abuse, grow a pair & “get over it”? Perhaps they do & that’s why they make such heartless statements…

All that most Africans in America really want is to be treated according to their character, not their skin colors. They want safe places to raise their children; an environment where they don’t have to teach them how to protect themselves from the very people who are meant to protect them. Is that really so much to ask??

— What makes part of all this the burden of the white man is that although I’m sure many of them are grateful for their privilege, many are in denial that it even exists, nor would they want to let it go by helping to fight for the discriminated to gain equality. It’s not a goal that can be reached without the help of the whites who are perpetuating this privilege & comfortably allowing it to go on, like they did in the past with slavery & the following decades of injustices.

It is a difficult task, it’s uncomfortable & I’m sure many would lose a great deal of friends & family over joining in on the movement. For many whites, it would not be worth it, because it doesn’t negatively impact their lives & they are not willing to disrupt their own for the greater good. Aside from those types, there are many whites who are indeed allies of minorities & sympathize with their struggles, who may still be greeted with distrust & prejudices from minorities. Not saying that it’s right, but it should be understandable & forgivable. With history & personal experiences usually being the cause of such prejudices, it’s not baseless or irrational like pure racism is.

Racism isn’t only pure hatred; It can also be fear, apathy & silence. I am in hopes that this read gives Americas racists a different perspective & possibly help lessen or eliminate their mental illness that is racism & join the movement towards equality, so that America & the rest of the World can be a better place for all of us & future generations…

The Negro Project

Michael Brown is all over social media & the news… Yet another unarmed African-American teen shot down dead by the police, an organization whose supposed intent is to protect the public. This is nothing new, it’s no longer shocking, yet it is still hurtful.

A serious lack of empathy, respect & value for human life has always loomed in America, especially for those of African descent…

The Ku Klux Klan at it’s peak was 4 million members deep, some of them governors, mayors & senators. Today they only claim to have only a few thousand members, yet that does not mean their ideals do not still reside in the mindsets of far more. It was recently discovered that a couple of Florida police were members. Most police officers, mayors, governors & senators probably aren’t members either, but that doesn’t mean they don’t share their sentiments!

The police departments in America were originally formed to protect Caucasian people & their neighborhoods, not African people & theirs. Jim Crow laws were formed & implemented & still being exercised today. Planned Parenthood was originally called The Negro Project, formed to attempt to rid society of their undesireables. When an entire race of people is deemed to not be fully human, of course their lives will matter less & be dismissed as expendable.

abortionWhen cases like Mike Browns come about, a great sadness befalls the African American community & many of it’s parents become fearful for their own sons & daughters lives. Some even become afraid to reproduce. Some have been convinced that the tiny persons developing in their wombs are not human either, just like many of their oppressors believe about them. Only a few years ago, abortion ended the lives of more African American people than their top seven leading causes combined. So in some ways, The Negro Project has been a success.

Side Note: I am not trying to spark a debate about abortion rights, or if it’s murder. Technically, it’s not because murder is the illegal ending of a human life & abortion is the legal ending of a human life. I do not argue the aspect of morality regarding abortion either; that is based on personal beliefs & my perspective is not based on that. Mine are based on facts, and the Universe proves to us when human life begins, which is at conception. The laws of nature are not debatable.

Black on black violence is a major issue in America, and is often brought up when incidents like Mike Brown’s generate outrage. They wonder where the outrage is when we kill each other. Trust me, it’s there, but it doesn’t garner the same level of backlash from the community, because it’s not based in the same ideals; It’s not racially motivated. Logically, there is no reason to even compare the two. Most violent crime happens within racial lines, not across them.

Today in America, you will find people of all backgrounds struggling. However, even within that struggle, there are privileges to not being of African descent. Most Asians & whites do not have to live in fear of being harassed or killed by the police in their own neighborhoods just because of their appearance. Monsanto buried toxic sludge in predominantly African American neighborhoods that have caused serious health problems throughout those communities, including death; There are no predominantly white neighborhoods that this would ever happen in. When African Americans gather for peaceful protests & vigils for their fallen, they are greeted with a heavy police presence, dogs & tanks. You will not find such things at gatherings held for people of any other color.

Marching & protesting doesn’t help the situation or change anything. The justice system in America does not typically work in the favor of African people, so it’s pointless for us to trust & believe in it. Awareness alone does nothing; Action is the only solution. It seems like tragedy is the only thing that brings the African American community together. We need to continue this unity at all times. We’re so busy fighting & competing with each other, we’re not able to stand up against our common enemies to better our situations.

No matter what we do, we’re still living under their system & must live by their rules, even when those rules do not benefit us in any way. In America, we have no power. We own nothing & run nothing in comparison to all that our oppressors own & operate, such as land, shelter, utilities, media outlets, clothing companies, banks, court systems, law enforcement, etc. We rely on all these industries that they control. That’s why we need an infrastructure of our own, because we’re not faring well under theirs & it’s modeled in such a way to make sure that we never will. We could be thriving instead of just surviving, but we first must learn to value ourselves & each other!

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