This National Conversation on Race is a Disaster!

Why does it feel like, as a white-ish person, I am forced to constantly defend myself against racism and my belief that we should all be treated equally, no exceptions? I feel like I am writing about this topic all of the time because it is all people are talking about these days. When will everyone stop and look at what we are all doing to the progress we have made by inciting the old hate and emotion from 50 years ago?

I’m sick of the tired old claim that I will never understand what it is like to be discriminated against and targeted just because of my skin color. The simple fact that I have the conversation of how “privileged” and ignorant I am with people of different races, each day, shows that I DO know what it is like. When I am approached on social media or in person by a non-white, I have already been stereotyped as being an ignorant, closet or accidental racist white person that will never understand what it’s like to be non-white. Really? So the argument is that I am the one who stereotypes and displays racist behaviors just by being white(ish) but the act of stereotyping me is perfectly okay?

It’s really quite simple. We all want to be treated with respect and dignity. We all strive to be successful and to have the same opportunities that are afforded to the rest of the country’s citizens. We want to be free from judgement based on our skin tone. But, somehow it has become a crime to be white now and offensive to proclaim your disgust with being called a racist all of the time.

I’m going to lay it out for anyone who wants to claim I am a racist or privileged or ignorant about racial issues:

  • If you want to be treated the same as everyone else, stop asking people to treat you differently based on your skin color. It’s hypocritical to demand equality from the very same people you are demanding special exceptions or privileges from all on the notion that one of your ancestors was forced into slavery. YOU are not a slave. YOU have the same freedoms as the rest of us; our country fought and won that battle already. YOU are an American and I will NOT treat you any differently than I treat the next person so don’t bother trying.
  • If you don’t want me to stereotype you then don’t stereotype me. I may not know what it is like to be a black male, as I’ve been told so many times before, but YOU don’t know what it was like to grow up in my shoes either. Your assumption that I had it so great because I’m a white person is offensive and makes you look like a real dumbass. My childhood sucked and I was so happy when it was finally over and I could make my own choices and get away from that life. I chose to NOT be like my family was and make something out of my life. I struggled with poverty, teen pregnancy, an abusive husband, and a hereditary mental illness…and that’s just the things I’ve had to deal with since I became an adult. So don’t you dare tell me how hard you’ve had it and assume my life has been so wonderful because I’m white.
  • I’ve met so many wonderful people in my life, of all colors, who’ve proven to be great friends, co-workers, and people, in general. However, it is not untrue that there are those that do not represent their race, culture, or even the human race in a positive way. These people don’t have to be black, white or latino. They are all of the above. Just like there are white “trailer trash” that steal, do drugs, and whatever else they feel like doing to offend everyone around them, there are blacks who steal, do drugs, and whatever else they feel like doing. The point is that just because someone points out the crime rate of blacks as being higher than whites doesn’t mean they are being racist. Numbers aren’t racist. Statistics aren’t racist. I’m willing to bet that there are more white drug addicts than there are blacks so does that mean I hate my own race? No. Its just numbers. There are bad people all over this world. If you aren’t one of them then stop defending those that are and try proposing a solution to the problem instead.
  •  Lastly, can we please stop picking and choosing which events in our society are convenient to use as fodder for the debate on race relations? Whites and blacks, alike, are constantly pointing to this case or that case, in court, that proves how horrible the other race is and how unfair our system is to the victim. If you are going to point me to a case involving a black victim, I want you to be fair about it and look at every case involving a black victim. Actually, I want you to look at every case in our criminal system and look at all of the victims and point out to me the specific instances where our system has showed consistent bias or unfairness toward one race or another. If you can only cite one or two cases that you feel were unfair, despite the defendant being charged and tried in a court of their peers, I cannot take you seriously. This onesy-twosy shit has to stop. The system is not always going to work out the way you want it to. I know from experience. I lost a very close family member to violence and I feel it was not handled properly but its how our system works and I have to accept that.

I’ll end this, more than likely, offensive post by saying that I believe there is still racism in this country. I do think that people of different races are being treated unfairly just because of the color of their skin. However, I do not feel that so-called minorities have a monopoly on this claim anymore. I do not accept the premise that just because some distant ancestor, 200 years ago, enslaved a black person that I have to defend my actions over the past 37 years. YOU were not enslaved and I was not a slave owner. Those are the simple truths. We are both citizens of this wonderful country and have the same rights AND responsibilities. We are responsible for our own actions, not the actions of people we didn’t even know. Turning your hatred, for things that were not done to YOU, toward me is just as wrong as if I were to hate you because of your race. Maybe, just maybe, if people would stop looking for a way to punish someone else for wrongs committed in our country’s past and start getting to know our fellow citizens, neighbors, based on their personal actions and character, we might get somewhere close to equality. Until then, I only see this problem getting worse, not better. That’s sad.

 

 

*This post has been edited to reflect the new title.

 

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2 thoughts on “This National Conversation on Race is a Disaster!

  1. I sometimes feel this way too, although it was much worse during middle/high school. I remember in 9th grade we had to do a project that involved researching the last 7 generations of our family tree, during Black History Month. Long story short, I found that my mother’s side (Jewish Germans) first came over in the 1920s…my father’s side (European mutts) first came over in the 1900s. Prior to that, not a single ancestor of mine lived in the Americas that I could find.

    It would have been a cool project, if it didn’t turn into an entire class period meant to make all the kids feel uncomfortable about their skin color. Our teacher pointed out that all of the black kids had at least 2 ancestors that were slaves. He then pointed out that every white kid (except me) had ancestors who were either slave-owners or had fought in the Civil War. I pointed out that mine had not, and he casually mentioned that while I was Jewish on my mother’s side, nobody would know that based on my blonde hair/blue eyes/really white skin…So despite the fact that my family never owned slaves and some of my extended family was killed during the Holocaust, my perceived whiteness meant that I still had to “make reparations” in social settings when around black people. Nice thing to teach 9th graders, huh?

    I completely agree with you. Racism does still exist in the US, and those people are bigoted, horrible jerks. Whether it’s someone leaving no tip because they didn’t like the fact their waiter was black, an idiot spouting out an ignorant slur, or something really atrocious like a violent hate crime…all of these actions are wrong and should never happen. But at the same time, I’m wondering just how much we are hindering our progress by telling every individual white person that they are potential racists?

    • This is exactly my point! Not every white person in this country is racist and not every non-white is not racist. There are racisms in every race based on perceived wrongs that nobody who is still alive has any direct knowledge of. My family immigrated from Ireland and Puerto Rico. A lot of people in this country are just like you and I. But that is completely ignored just because we are white-looking.
      I also had problems in school with racism against me by the majority black student body. I was bullied and picked on for being the poor white trash in the school. I know what racism feels like. In spite of that, I learned early on that racism is wrong and that we are all the same under the surface.
      This national conversation about racial tensions is not helping things because it is just stirring up the emotions from the past instead of looking at the present and the future to see that we have come so far and that we are all equal.

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