Stop calling me racist because I’m white.
I just don’t understand white guilt. I don’t understand white privilege. Why am I as a white person automatically condemned and dismissed as a racist because I’m white? Such prejudice is, ironically, racist!
Why do so many of my old friends sympathize with black racism and internalize it?
We didn’t own black slaves. None of us instituted Jim Crow laws in the south. None of us has ever lynched a black man or black woman for drinking from the wrong fountain or swimming in the wrong pool. All of those things happened in America. All of them are awful and evil and heinous, but I’m not guilty for a single one of them just because I’m white.
Yet there’s more to my frustration: the blatant and egregious hypocrisy and passionate ignorance of #BlackLivesMatter and its supporters, both black and white. Why won’t they listen to reason?
Why is it so impossible to have a rational conversation without being called a racist at the first denial of responsibility for what proverbial “bad cops” and other white people have said or done, often times decades or even centuries ago? Why am I called a racist when I suggest black and brown people are responsible for their own individual actions, or that they can even be wrong on their own account without it ultimately being a white man’s fault that they’re wrong?
If white people can all be prejudicially declared guilty of racism, and if indeed the whole of the American system will be called inherently unfair and unjust because of the disproportionate historical influence white culture has had on it, the implication is clear:
Culture can have a negative effect on people who go with its flow unthinkingly.
If that’s true of white people is there anything which would lead us to believe it’s untrue of brown or black peoples as well?
If it’s true of the culture of white Americans – as if there were just one culture for white Americans – would this truth not also apply to brown and black Americans, that their predominant culture can influence them in both positive and negative ways?
And, supposing that’s true, is it perhaps even remotely possible that the predominant culture of black and brown Americans is what causes them to commit significantly more crimes than white Americans, and thereby have higher rates of engagement with law enforcement, incarceration, etc?
Further, consider the narrative of Black Lives Matter: cops are racists, the American legal system is inherently unjust and unfair, black people all over America are being targeted through no fault of their own and are moreover being exterminated and re-enslaved by the system. Isn’t such a narrative or a culture built around such a narrative going to contribute to more frequent and more tense exchanges between young black men and law enforcement – including many officers who are themselves black?
And when this false narrative causes young black men to be angrier, more aggressive, and generally less respectful and trusting of authority, who is responsible when those young black men assault police officers, resist arrest, go for their guns, and wind up dead as a result?
Are black and brown Americans responsible for anything they do, or is everything the fault of white peoples, and especially white Americans? And if we will say that black and brown people not ultimately responsible for their own actions, how paternalistic and racist is that?
What, white people can bear the burden of being responsible for not only their own individual actions and words, but also all the actions and words of all other white people both past and present? But brown and black people can’t be responsible for even just their own actions?
Now that’s racist.
Maybe the strife and tension between many black Americans and white Americans is explained by racism after all, just not the way we’ve been led to believe.