My Black History Month Dilemma -Can you help me?


Hey Everyone,

ntbgI have a problem. I was  recently involved in a conversation where I was told that racism has been eradicated for black people; currently white people were the racial group being targeted and persecuted. So then I did what I always do, I got out that conversation and wrote a satirical piece entitled: A Friendly Open Letter to Caucasian Americans Everywhere. I was laughing while I was writing it, cited a cool sources, made many cultural references/ jokes. It was wonderful until I read the article out-loud to my blogging advisers.

They asked that I give them a hour head start before I post it, to avoid the back lash and guys in hoods mounted on horses. So here is my perennial problem I have had with talking about race in general: I am scared. It’s the only topic where my normal fearlessness wavers.  Why ? because every time I speak about it, it is an act of insurrection. Here are a list of responses you get when you mention racism:

  1. It doesn’t exist
  2. It’s not as bad as it once was
  3. You’re ethnic group is racist too
  4. You live in the past
  5. This black guy named Darnell robbed me once

It rarely happens  (but it does thankfully) that someone will acknowledge the logical possibility that racism still exists in this country. Meanwhile when I am in a car on a NJ highway or I see a cop looking my way I am scared shit-less seriously. The Darrin Manning case says it all. (All information taken from: Cop ‘Stops And Frisks’ African American Teen, Literally Destroying His Genitals)

SUMMARY: A 16-yr-old African American boy was sexually assaulted by a police officer during a “stop and frisk” pat-down. The assault was committed with such violence that the youth’s testicles were literally ruptured. Now, Darrin Manning of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania may never be able to father children, according to the doctors who performed surgery on his virtually destroyed testicles.

Here’s the kicker, police said the students were wearing ski masks and ran off. Manning and other players said they were wearing hoodies, hats and scarves that the school had given them to keep warm on a record cold day. During the arrest, Manning said, a male cop roughed him up, and while he was handcuffed, a female cop pulled on his genitals so hard while frisking him that a testicle ruptured.

Some readers were upset that reporters had mentioned that the kid was black and the cop was white saying that race had nothing to do with it. Many felt that because there were reports of large groups of students causing trouble around the city the cops were justified in stopping them. Some have even said that as Darrin is accused of  resisting arrest and aggravated assault that he deserves what he got. This 16 year old honor student, with no criminal record, may end up in jail serving time after all he has been through

This is My Point

There is something wrong when after such a brutal attack Manning’s mother can be  grateful: “I’m just grateful that they didn’t just kill him .”

This is my point: What I say is not considered valid and not socially acknowledge. When I get frustrated for not being heard and write something cynical or satirical as I have not just on this blog but in school and other areas of my life, I get chastised for coming off too strong for being to unrelenting, for not providing solutions, for bringing up bringing up old problems, for being friends with Darnell. If I didn’t resort to such extreme of presenting my opinion would I ever be heard? If I didn’t write on this blog would there be any outlet for me to start conversations about this topic or other serious topics?

So my question to you, is the same I ask my past gf every Wednesday night: How rough do you want it? How much can you take?

BTW- If you happen to be Caucasian, would you mind reading my satirical article? I would like to get your opinion on a few things. I need some advice and guidance.

 

 

18 thoughts on “My Black History Month Dilemma -Can you help me?

  1. My gravatar is me. I am a white, 35+ female living in the south. I grew up around racism and still see it every day, overt and subtle. It is disgusting to me that anyone of any racial/ethnic group, socioeconomic class or city/state/region of this country can think this does not exist anymore.

    If you can’t put it out there, then what can you do? Not all conversations are nice, you just have to be prepared (unfortunately) for any backlash that you may get from any or all sides.

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    1. First off let me start by saying that I like your hair color in your gravatar!
      You hit the nail on the head, I generally do not like much backlash. But I aim to be a satirist so I have to toughen up. The denial of racism is really difficult to deal with. It always blows me away. I think we have come a long way but we need to go even a farther but one small step, one small conversation at a time 🙂

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      1. I changed my gravatar, so not sure which one you see, but thanks!

        You know satire has been used for ages to deliver these messages and for good reason. It’s like you said though, give what can be accepted and then try a little more.

        I wouldn’t mind reading the essay whenever you make it available. Not sure I can speak for the POV for anyone else, but I enjoy anything that starts a discussion.

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  2. We were raised by people who were raised by people who were raised by people who lived in a time when it was legal to own other people.

    Slaveowner and slave mentalities didn’t disappear with the emancipation proclamation, or Confederate surrender, or the Freedman’s Bureau, or Reconstruction, or the 14th Amendment, or the NAACP, or Jackie R, Malcolm X or Brown v. As hard as good folks may try to prevent it, those mentalities are passed from generation to generation.

    Anybody who thinks racism doesn’t exist right now simply isn’t paying attention.

    I couldn’t find a link to A Friendly Open Letter to Caucasian Americans Everywhere. Keep up the good work.

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    1. I think the mentality from which the actions stem from are so much more problematic.They remind me of weed. Unless you get it out by the roots it will always resprout again and again. I definitely feel we have made progress and it is really touching to see that. It actually very amazing but I think we haven’t exorcised the problem by its roots. I think that in order to do so we need to really attack the mentality and a lot of class issues as well. But I am forever optimistic. Here is the link by the way

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  3. Agree with your points so much — I think so many can’t admit racism exists because ultimately they have to give up power they take for granted & admit they are not as ‘enlightened’ as they like to believe. The link to the satirical piece doesn’t work for me — is there a link I’m missing? 😉

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    1. Hello Dawne!

      Thank you for your comment. It was really nice and helped me go through and publish the post in question.. In writing satire I just want to point out some things and not offend anyone. In a perfect world it would work like that, I’m glad that my posts are read and commented on. I really appreciate your comments.

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  4. As a white man, I can let you know, with certainty, that yes, racism does exist in the USA in 2014. So does sexism, homophobia, ageism and practically every imaginable form that discrimination can take. It’s alive and well in the good old USA!

    I also believe that until we can honestly discuss the issue without dismissing the opinions and feelings of others, it (any type of stigma or marginalization) will continue to grow and thrive in this country. Ignoring the problem doesn’t make it disappear. It only allows it to fester and linger.

    I admire you for wanting to address the topic. Great blog you have here, buddy! 🙂

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  5. I am, as you know, super into talking about race. And reading about it and thinking about it. So I fully support and cheer your reflections on the issues.

    Here’s what I’m currently struggling with: as a white lady, I think it’s my job to listen to and hear the realities of people of color so I can understand what the world is like for them. However, a lot of white people won’t listen to people of color, whether because they don’t know any or don’t read black websites or magazines or because they don’t trust what they say. Therefore I make a point to talk about racism as I understand it. Some of those white people who won’t listen to black people will listen to me (I’m a highly educated middle class middle aged white woman, almost nothing is less scary than that), so I feel like I can maybe do some good by talking. But I consistently read articles and essays by people of color that say they feel co-opted when white people try to add their voice. And I get that – it can be a small step from “empathizing” to “speaking for,” and I don’t want to speak for anyone else. But man, it’s a delicate balance. For now, I prefer to err on the side of fucking up and overstepping sometimes rather than being silent.

    So that’s my vote: let’s all keep making lots of noise, and sometimes we’ll get it wrong, but at least we’ll be talking.

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  6. Don’t get bamboozled by white people. They are still telling you what to think, do and say! They then go hide their actions under the auspices of your character flaw! And why is that!? To err is human, because no body is perfect! But if you step out of line white people will rip your balls off and say it’s ok?! What if you spit in their face; is that ok too??? The bible says “do unto others as you would have them do unto YOU”. Does that apply to the heathen as well !? And then they tell you RACE as been eradicated (for blacks)!? For who, BLACK ONLY??? You’re dealing with a lot of misconceptions from the very start, and the number misconception IS race; it’s only the Human Race-that’s all! This notion of separatism is from Shakespeare ! You see, we only expect the absolute worst case scenario when we have to deal with them and it’s true(thank GOD they didn’t kill him) we always and can never expect anything more than robbed, maimed and/or killed when we have no other choice but to stand and face a POWERFUL
    ACCUSER; so what can you do?! Truly Darwin’s theory of survival of the fit comes into play-fight back or be overrun! And yeti. Out greatest moments of despair, this is what we do -LAUGH. They know it all so well, white people do because that laughter fuels their next onslaught of an attack on us_~it’s true! That fear is most oftentimes very real! It always is spearheaded by real aggression that will be aimed at you regardless of whether you know it or not; it’s automatic! You might not even know where it stems from! So, know that it is not your mind playing tricks on you, but really a wall of resistance always vigilant to work against you at all cost…you scared yet??? You should be! So even when you talk about the resurrection of all your fears and doubts . What that really surmounts to is your faith and the truth inherent in your convictions; and that’s Grace to say I’m still here, and I’m still at it and going strong! People need to be held accountable for what they do and stop being allowed to slip off the hook by saying they’re sorry when they did something they know they had no business doing in the first place,,,capiche???

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  7. I am a white 40+ woman living in the UK and anyone who thinks racism doesn’t exist anymore has their head stuck in the sand, Of your five response while 2 and 3 may be true they are irrelevant any racism by any group however infrequently is still unacceptable. The one thing I would say about the case you cited is that is raises far more issues than just the issue of colour, since when did it become acceptable for any police officer frisking a minor to use force? When did it become okay for a female officer to be groping a boys genitals? If this was a woman being sexually assaulted by a male officer the video would be doing the rounds on you tube and Facebook and people expressing their outrage.

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  8. Everyone is a little bit racist. some are also angry.
    I’m mexican, but was raised in a primarily caucasian community (talk about having some issues). My clothing of choice is business casual and I don’t speak a word of spanish. Because of this I tend to get it from both sides. Being stopped by police/security because I fit a profile and being lectured by people that I’m not mexican enough.

    It’s important that people know that discrimination still happens. I know a number of middle class caucasian people who are often dumbfounded when they hear about it. And it’s not because they don’t care or their too white, but because they’ve moved on from that way of thinking and assume everyone is nice to everyone else. Except, that usually when they hear of these things their first reaction is, it can’t be that bad. It’s frustrating to hear them say this, and I have to take a breath to remind myself, they are only saying because they can’t believe it. To them it’s so appalling to think they are part of the same people, society and world that does these thing. Of course, when thinking logically, we all know that any kind of racism and discrimination is not acceptable no matter how ‘bad’ it is.

    Yes, discrimination is happening as we speak. I do it too. And sadly, sometimes it’s not without reason. Almost everyday I feel this, sort of shame for being mexican, because stories and news articles about robberies and murder. When going into a store I never put my hands in my pockets for fear of being thought a shop lifter. At night, walking through a parking lot, I try to keep my distance from single females, for fear of being thought a mugger. And it makes me angry that this stigma is brought about by people of my own race, perhaps a small percentage, but they are still at fault for creating this image.

    But at the end of the day you have to ask yourself, what do you want? Do you want people to see you as just an average educated person who isn’t going to murder them? Or an angry dark skin villain shouting profanities? No one has eve changed anyone’s mind my yelling, ranting and being angry. The instant you start swearing or being aggressive, people tune you out and no longer believe what you say. And speaking to the topic of how to explain that racism is a current day problem, we all have to take a deep breath and remain calm, because we can’t blame someone for something they haven’t directly done; either for racism or being associated with a stereotype.

    ps. sorry for the long comment, I don’t have a place to write about this in my own blog.

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