Category Archives: race

Racebook

Oh I love the way Stacey Patton goes in with this article about Black women not being here to wipe the tears of White Women or White anybody for that matter over hurt feelings as the daily onslaught of Facebook posts and revelations about race and the damage done by White Privilege come pouring in. For me Facebook has actually become one of the most meaningful places to be for reasons other than Pet Society and Farmville! LOL!

At some point, both my husband and I who have a few white friends, some mutual, exchanged our reluctance to be blatant in our FB statuses about or feelings on White oppression in regard to the recent injustices in the case of Brown and Garner and many more. Always on the fence about hurting my white friends feelings, I finally got fed up a few weeks ago and said my piece about it, still worried that there would be some awful comment waiting for me in a long thread when I checked it hours later. There was none. In fact nothing I have shared about race or racism from For Harriet or Junot Diaz or any site has gotten a significant comment from the White people on my FB network. Oh wait I did get one “Wow” from a quote I posted from Chris Rock about the ridiculous lack people of color in Hollywood films. And I appreciated that wow more than the silence.

At first I was relieved that the Whites on my FB page made no noise, because I didn’t have to feel so anxious but the lack of comments actually started to worry me more. I have this reoccurring mental image of them crouched in a corner somewhere waiting for all this “Race talk” to die down so they can go back to the coziness of their privilege and come peeping out again to complain about inane, first world problems. But what I’ve come to realize in all this and what Stacey Patton has helped me to realize is that I don’t have the time, energy, nor the obligation to both point out the subtle and overt violence of White privilege and racism and make White feel not so bad about it. Awww poor baby, you’re a latent racist. Your attitude contributes to the senseless murder of thousands of innocent Black men, poor thing. These two sentiments cannot exist in the same space.

This afternoon, one of my White male co-workers, a guy I haven’t known very long but like a lot, came in and asked me if I wanted to see something funny.

Sure.

He’s someone who has been participating vigilantly in protests and anti-police brutality demonstrations for weeks now. As it turns out someone took a photo of him at one of these demonstrations with his hands up and head down and posted it on slate.com with the words of an article posted underneath.

“What White Privilege Really Means: It’s not about what Whites get. It’s about what Blacks don’t.”

…yeah.

Well….

He took it well.

It’s a damn good image and he’s on the right side of history. He’s a white male so he fits the profile. What can you say? I asked him how he felt about it and he really had no significant argument against it. But what I now realize is that I asked the wrong question. If I had to ask anything at all, it should have been whether or not he would have agreed to have this image posted with that headline if someone had given him the choice he did not get.

But I’m not asking questions like that anymore. It’s not my problem. I have enough problems.

Here’s My Point

The weekend before last, my husband and I spent the evening upstate with our parents. My mom made Roti, a traditional West Indian dish for my husbands mom, my dad, my husband and me. My mom is from Trinidad, my dad from Savanah, Georgia and my husband parents are both from Haiti.

At the dinner table just listening to then talk, I discovered that both my mom and mom in law came to America in the June in the late 1960s. My dad made his first ever train trip to New York around the same time. He told me that his mom packed him a shoebox lunch because Blacks were not allowed to go the dining car. My father would not have been welcome in the dinner car of the train he paid the fare to travel on. But he said he was fine. His dinner was great. Chicken, pound cake, classic homemade Southern cooking. I may not be able to imagine a time when I could have been killed for drinking from the same fountain as a white person but my parents came up during the end of segregation and they all agreed that segregation was not the problem.

Life as I Know it says it best.

“When the subordinate culture integrates with the dominant culture the subordinate culture ALWAYS conforms to the dominant cultures ideals and values.”

In fact, in her post, she highlights my point, unpopular though it may be, perfectly.

Is race a quality?

I’m still not sure how to answer that question although I told Abbey I thought it was. I think I was trying to draw a definite line in the sand to ensure she would never cross it to try and occupy a space in my life she could never even begin to understand.

If race is a quality than it is systematic racism as implemented by the White race, which has made it so because it ascribes the worst of qualities to anyone with Black or Brown skin and the best to those who identify as White. But since all of those ascriptions are obviously lies, the truth keeps bringing White people back around to the same tactics. Slavery, Segregation, genocide profiling, incarceration.

It’s not my fault that Abbey and I would never be close friends but the fault of those who, like her, identify as White and never question the reason for their privilege, yet want to play hopscotch around the boundaries of race like it’s an amusement park.

Integration should create beneficial change, uplift and opportunity for all involved, not only the dominant culture. Integration was never integration. It is assimilation, homogenization, appropriation by the dominant culture.

Lies.

My favorite definition of integration in Merriam Webster’s Dictionary referes to organisms:

b : the process by which the different parts of an organism are made a functional and structural whole.

I believe that human beings can be classified as very complex organisms with boundless untapped potential. But as long as I’ve been alive I’ve have rarely ever experienced the kind of integration described above in the ways in which is was allegedly meant to function. Would we even be able to recognize the true definition of integration among the races in action if we saw it?

Sometimes I worry we’ve become too comfortable with the lies or worse, that those who suffer predominantly at the hands of these lies don’t even understand that they are lies.

And I didn’t come here to lie to you.

Lessons in Non-Equality and Why Segregation Often Works: Part 2

-Colored-_drinking_fountain_from_mid-20th_century_with_african-american_drinking

Merriam Webster gives the following definitions for the words Equity and Equality

Equity:

1:fairness or justice in the way people are treated.

Equality:

1:the quality or state of being equal

I do wish that Merriam Webster would go into detail about exactly how the state of being equal is defined but since it doesn’t I will venture to come up with my own definitions of equality as I have come to understand them.

I believe that in nature, no two things are ever created equally. I believe there are scientific studies which have posited this opinion. To me it makes sense. Not even identical twins are actually the same in all ways. They can look the same in appearance right down to their DNA strands but they are still not equal. They’re not the same person. Twins are two different people but they need the same things as any other human being in order to survive and thrive. Family, friends, community, education, spiritual guidance, opportunity, livable wages, etc.

The sexes no matter how it is you understand the construct of gender are not equal. Men and women are different and no amount of masterful renditions and reiterations of the song “Anything I can do” can change that fact. Men and women are not the same and if we were, what would be the point of our evolution and development? How would we serve one another or learn about who we are? In order to be in relationship or learn from relationships, we have to have something or someone outside of ourselves to relate with. Differences are necessary to that end; differences in species of plants, animals, atoms, stars. We are all made up of a unique combination of similar concentrations of energy. Differences are necessary in my opinion because ultimately they can be used to discover and reveal similarities and the benefits of balancing both as a way of navigating life harmoniously without a system of evaluation which quantifies or categorizes one experience as being worse or better than another.

Tulips don’t wish to be dandelions. Fish don’t wish to be horse. They are what they are and they stay the course. They know what environment, what food sources and what systems of regeneration, socialization and development serve them best. But that is nature, not humanity. Humanity is the branch of nature blessed with free will.

I’m going to make a huge leap here.

Racism

: poor treatment of or violence against people because of their race

: the belief that some races of people are better than others

:  a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

Now who would go and create something like racism? Who would actually think to create, institute and perpetuate a system which says that one form of life based on the concentration of pigment should be treated inhumanely, beaten , tortured, raped, lynched, castrated, bought, sold, mentally and emotionally traumatized, stereotyped, stigmatized, followed around in public suspiciously, incarcerated for life in massive numbers with no hope for rehabilitation, treated like animals in the country his ancestors built, laid the foundation for, died for, bleed for? Who would do that? Who would create a system of laws which segregates one form of life based on a color, not so that they can create and build a community for the education, socialization and spiritual, cultural re-connection that is necessary for any life form which is uprooted, stolen, bred for slaves, torn apart and had its family structure obliterated but simply to say, “we brought you here against your will to serve us but you do not deserve to be given what you need to survive.”

Who the fuck does some fucked up, sick, dysfunctional, barbaric, unnatural shit like that? In other words who created a system of horrific inequity among those within it’s own species that are equal in biological category?

Still with me?

Next: When We Think of Segregation