Dear Mr. White Man: We Do Not Hate You (Wellll…)
Editor’s Note: It’s not unusual for the SV to receive comments and emails that go a little something like this:
“Why is everyone on this web site against the “white man”?
How does the white man prevent you or anyone from being a completely free human being and doing whatever you please on this planet during your lifetime?
Isn’t it your own fear, lack of imagination and vision, and perceived lack of power that prevents you from doing what you really want to do in life?
Maybe it’s the profound lack of a spiritual life that prevents you from seeing that you are free to transcend during any and every moment of your life. Transcend and become enlightened. This is what you should be thinking about. No white person can do that for you. If you are not thinking about this, you have only imprisoned yourself. You think white people are not self-imprisoned in the same way?”
Ordinarily, these comments are not responded to. Nevertheless- this particular comment, submitted by a man who calls himself The White Guy, was so chalk-full of stereotypical, passive aggressive rhetoric that it serves as an opportunity to kill a few birds with one stone.
Thus, I give you the very first joint SV post dedicated to responding to The White Guy- with contributions from all of us; Miss Blurbette, GhettoGEEK, Stephanie Jones, and yours truly.
Miss Blurbette: So, you took offense to something you didn’t read, wasn’t inferred and doesn’t exist and I’m supposed to placate your error? I could tell you that some of my best friends and at least one ex-husband are white. I could say you people always insert yourselves into other people’s worlds as it is a symptom of the sickness of pseudo superiority. But see, I was raised better. Those would be insults. The Black men and women and white men and women in my family raised me better than to judge, disparage or give pass to someone based on their ethnicity (sexuality, gender, economic station in life, religion, damnit, you get the picture).
I will not apologize or defend myself against speaking my own opinions on life according to me. My views are my own and from my very own perspective of living in this 5’5 body with these hips, this skin and these breasts and reproductive organs. I can’t write from yours because I have no experience being a “white guy”. However, you must admit, you and yours have given me enough to go on in the last recent 360 years to estimate how it must be.
Not a bitter, angry or scary militant *eye roll* type, but if I were I would definitely be mad at the white man for things like Slavery, The Great Compromise, Reconstruction, the destruction of family through criminal abuses that is probably responsible to my genetic defects to this day, Jim Crow, Bull Connor, CointelPro, the creation of the European beauty ideal, inequality in housing, wages, justi
ce, the continued denial of white privilege and that friggen Tea Party. You’re doing yourselves no favors with that little faction.
I could be mad about that.
I could be mad at the “White man” for all of these things and many more so let’s play a game; you throw out a topic and I will tell you how it’s really all your fault because that’s exactly the game you want to play. It gives you something to rage against with no fear you’ll be perceived truthfully or not as a racist and that’s all you want to do.
It’s your own conceit that wills “White guys” into the subtext of every conversation, blog entry and article because you deem yourself that damn important and the rest of the world as less than.
If you so badly want that “White guy” perspective felt, then submit an article to a newspaper, share your blog link or go white guy balls out, Dude, and submit a commentary to the Sable Verity.
GhettoGEEK: First and foremost, my friend, everyone on this web site is not against the White Man. In order for your argument to have credence, you are going to have to be more specific about establishing the basis for your question. What specific instances and opinions lead you to assume everyone on this website is “against the White man?” In what exact cases do we prove ourselves to be fundamentally “against the White Man?” You needn’t confuse a pro-Black/pro-Oppressed agenda for necessarily being anti-White. That is unless you feel that the White agenda is in direct opposition to the liberation of Blacks, Hispanics, and other marginalized groups. Now, if you DO believe that there is a possibility that a “White agenda” is in direct opposition the liberties and freedoms of other peoples, then we can have an intelligent conversation. In fact, even if you DON’T believe a “White agenda” is in opposition to the agendas of other groups, we can have a substantial conversation.
There is a phenomenon known as White Violence that exists now AND has existed for centuries. In fact, it’s safe to say that White Violence has existed just as long as European colonization of “the other” has existed. Colonization and White Violence are nearly inseparable as one [colonization] the philosophical ideal that the Nordic’s natural position is to organize the world. White Violence is the pragmatic arm by which these philosophical goals are met. Violent conquests, deception, war, lynching, enslavement, biological warfare, theft, mass incarceration, and mass murder are the tools of White violence that have transformed “manifest destiny” (colonization) from a philosophical ideal to a global reality. After acquiring the land, natural resources, and peoples of an area, then LAW is written to protect the interests and order of those who violently laid claimed to the resources in the first place.
It is Law that defines who is a criminal and who is not. Consequently, if a person, in attempt to access to freedom and liberty, engages in similar behavior as those who unscrupulously conquered the land, the chances of that person being deemed a CRIMINAL is very high. The chances that person, while in the care of the State, will encounter White Violence as a reminder not to attempt any further acts of gaining freedom or liberty are quite high as well. Take a look at the Prison-Industrial Complex. You don’t even have to look there. Look at what’s happening when Health Care gets passed. Did you see the violence? Watch Arizona carefully. They’ve altered the concealed weapons law. Now, they’ve changed the immigration law. Let’s stay tuned to see how White Violence will deter certain people “from being completely free human beings and doing whatever [they] please on this planet during [their] lifetimes.”
Taking into consideration the brief things I’ve mentioned earlier, and the countless obstacles that non-whites face on a consistent basis, everyone on this website is doing fairly well in the courage, imagination, and vision department. I would not doubt for a second these qualities are not being communicated to members of our audience. Our collective courage, imagination, and vision are at such high levels, a person, such as yourself, with opposing views, felt compelled to ask a series of questions that illustrate a considerable amount of attention has been devoted to perusing this website.
And who’s to say that THIS is not what we really want to do in life. For your series of questions, and the comments of countless others, we seem to be fairly good at what we do. I, myself, am a “WriterFreedomFighter.” I’m actually living my dream right now. I write. I write for the muted. I write for the oppressed. I write for those who would love to be able to engage you in a conversation, but haven’t the time or resources. I write to teach. I write to learn. I am quite satisfied with my lot in life.
Maybe it’s the profound lack of a spiritual life… This last point is the most interesting to me. It truly baffles me. My question to you is, how can you determine what type of Spiritual Life we possess from reading this blog? Is it smart for you to assume that everyone here has the same spiritual orientations?
In fact, your perceived lack of understanding of how oppression and colonization can create a detrimental culture for both the oppressor and the oppressed, seems to hint at a significant default in YOUR spiritual understanding. In the Christian tradition, Christ urged his followers (and his adversaries) to look out for “the Least of These.” In the Muslim tradition, Muhammad said the best branches of faith are Patience and Benevolence. The I-Ching and other Eastern philosophies speak of the universal balance in nature; give and take. Buddhists speak of inner peace through tenets of Justice and Reconciliation. All in all, several religious/spiritual orientations speak of certain principals in Social Ethics; of these are benevolence, justice, and concern for the less fortunate. This said, you may need to re-evaluate your spiritual practices because your understanding of race and culture show that you may not understand the essence of spirituality as well as you should.
Though there are many publications that will help you understand what you seek answers to, I will give you a short read that was published recently:
Tim Wise: “Imagine: Protest, Insurgency and the Workings of White Privilege”
Google it—won’t be hard to find.
Stephanie Jones: We aren’t against white guys. I have two of them for sons, one for a father, and one for a brother. They are some of my favorite men on the face of the earth. My husband, on the other hand who is my best friend and the most important male in my life, is as dark as the night sky. My youngest daughter has eyes as deep and dark as rich morning coffee. My grandson is a beautiful shade of the smoothest caramel you’ve ever seen. We are a family of shades as light and as dark as you’ll find. Personally, I’m a huge combination of recessive genes that shouldn’t be possible: translucent white skin, naturally beautiful red hair and blue eyes. All recessive, all should be overridden by something else. For some reason, they hung on and here I am. No red headed kids but a few with some damn amazing eyes set next to brown hair. (Let me get back on topic and quit bragging about my family!)
What is true is that my father, sons and brother have an advantage over the rest of us. Their heterosexuality, maleness and whiteness give them an unearned privilege that the rest of just don’t have. We, as a family, experience firsthand how the shades of our skin, our ages and our genders impact our experiences in the world. Our spirituality, or lack thereof, has no impact on how others perceive us. We can be highly enlightened and transcend other people’s ignorance, but their ignorance still impacts our opportunities and experiences.
To address your question about how white men prevent the rest of us from being free and being whatever we want, the list is endless so I’ll keep it to personal experience. As a woman, I make approximately .80 on the dollar as compared to males in the same role, with the same education and equal experience. (For those of you who need 3rd party verification – here you go: http://www.iwpr.org/pdf/C350.pdf) This is male privilege for sure, but how can I be so sure that whiteness is part of the formula? According to MSNBC, only 10 Black people (men) have ever run Fortune 500 companies. A July 7, 2009 Forbes article found that 95% of CEO’s were white.
White men run our country…I know, we elected a part Black president, let’s not let that trump history or the current make up of the remainder of our government. White men create the laws that the remnants of us must live by. Those laws – from tax law to criminal law – favor whiteness over black/brownness and wealth over poverty. These hurdles are almost insurmountable. There are always exceptions – exceptions serve to prove the rule.
These hurdles do prevent me, my daughters and my Black husband from becoming all that we want in life. Because I earn less money (based solely on my gender not lack of education or experience), I can’t buy the same house, afford the same luxuries or provide equally for my family. Because the first thing you see on my husband is his Blackness, he has to work harder to prove his qualifications and his right to be in front of the room teaching. His Blackness and his family’s poverty disqualified him from an equal education, thus limiting his future life choices. (For those skeptics who need that 3rd party verification, check out a study by Roslyn Arlin Mickelson of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.)
My family is a hodge podge of ages, ethnicities, nation of origin and life experience. We are definitely enlightened and we definitely experience the sickness that is racism in our country. Some of us fight real hard against the racism bred in our DNA, others of us fight real hard against being constantly negatively impacted by systemic racism, some of us get pissed as hell at the ignorance that people like you display on a never ceasing basis. Hopefully, your enlightenment and spirituality can transcend the experience you’re gonna have with my foot so far up your ignorant ass you can’t move for a week. Read some history and educate yourself. This is what you should be thinking about.
Sable Verity: Plainly speaking, this is one of those unimpressive, passive aggressive attempts to get us here on the SV to second guess ourselves and grant you the role and power of the person who decides what “the problem” is, and what it is not. Your comment, and the many comments/emails we receive just like it, is based in blissful ignorance.
So let’s obliterate it, one sentence at a time.
Fact: There is nothing written on this website that would give any reasonable person the idea that we hate White people. We are no more critical of White people in our writing than we are Black people. If you don’t believe that, you’re obviously not a long-time or regular reader.
Fact: There is nothing written on this website that would give any reasonable person the idea that we would “blame the White man” for any. aspect. of. our. lives, rather than adhere to our own self determination to do as we damn well please.
Fact: No one on this website has ever written about “the white man keeping them down.” There is no fear, lack of imagination or vision or perceived power issues anywhere on this website.
Fact: On the ladder of social stratification we inherent, you’re right up there at the top, and your entire history as a race is based on doing whatever you can to stay there, including enslavement, oppression, status quo covenants and manipulation of the law. FYI, y’all didn’t just do it to Black people.
Fact: spirituality, whether one has it or doesn’t, doesn’t stop racism, prejudice or ignorance in this word- and you’re a dumbass for even suggesting such a thing, or for thinking we would take that bait and distract ourselves by trying to defend how faithful we are or are not. If spirituality could stop all the problems in the world, then there would be no problems in the world.
But I”m guessing you choose often not to see problems in the world to protect your place at the top of the ladder, to justify the things you do to keep yourself there, and more importantly, to oppress those below you. I’m guessing you’re one of those people who likes to say “I don’t see color, I just see a human being.” That is the most irresponsible, dangerous, selfish thing a person can do. It’s like saying you don’t see a person at all. You think you separate yourself from those who are inherently prejudiced but being that way? Well guess what- you’re not. You’re solidifying your place in the “part of the problem” category. Congratulations. This is what you should be thinking about.
“When the missionaries came to Africa they had the Bible and we had the land. They said, ‘Let us pray.’ We closed our eyes. When we opened them we had the Bible and they had the land.” Bishop Desmond Tutu