Humor or Racist?
I agree (and I think I already said something to this effect) but that doesn't make the person who reacted, RACIST. If a white person calls me the N-word, and I've overheard it before, I might be provoked to retaliate but my main conclusion is that person is IGNORANT. That is ironically the actual definition of the N-word. Right? So if I'm calling this person ignorant, and they're calling me ignorant, is it the same? Think about it before you answer.
My answer is simple. No it's not the same. I'm responding to a racist insult made because I'm black. If I said something back, I'm responding to his ignorance by calling him out on exactly what he has displayed. And it's a free country so if he has a right to say what he wants, so do I. The difference is I'm not running around calling white people ignorant simply because they're white. If they happen to be white then they happen to be white. If he wanted to call me ignorant without the racist tone he would use the word "ignorant" and would be responding to something I said that he felt qualified as such.
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You're free to have that opinion but if you hit me first then you are NOT a victim if I hit you back. You are ONLY the victim if I'm doing so unprovoked. I have no problem with pacifists, but I believe in balance. If someone's coming at me with a deadly weapon I'm not going to sit there and only play defense.
If someone is molested as a child and they grow up and become child molesters themselves. That's different. And yes they are taking an individual act that they were victimized by and taking it out on another individual, making them a victim and feeding a cycle of victimization. And while we can use what happened to them as a means of understanding it is not an excuse.
Racism is a team sport. You see this crystal clear if you ever have the unfortunate experience of going to prison. Race, to a racist, means that the same race is his team and it's his team against other teams.
So you could then say... well Z... how does it make anything better if black people act like they're on a team too?
Glad you asked. When America is attacked who is attacked? Who got attacked on 9/11? Just New Yorkers and People in the Pentagon? Or was it an attack on America? Because it was an attack on America as a collective that created a collective threat to that collective. The generation of people that did that didn't necessarily "start" it. And there may be any number of future generations who continue the fight because both sides feel attacked by the other. That is how racism operates. It's not an individual sport. If racism was something one person did and that was it, I would feel the same as you. However, when black people, as a race, are peppered with racism from hundreds and thousands of people and it still goes on today after so many years of progress, it doesn't look like something ONE person is doing to you.
Because it's not.
You can say "not me" and guess what? You'd be right. It's not you. But clearly there are enough people on this team that call themselves white, working against and even killing black people, that we cannot behave as if this is a 1on1 crime. Black people, as a group, are victimized by it. Black people, as a group, have to fight for civil rights. Black people, as a group, were enslaved and had to be freed. Black people, as a group, were oppressed under the Jim Crow laws. Black people, as a group, were segregated and housed in adverse conditions. And when some black communities prospered, like Tulsa, the whole community was suffered and many died together. And when a black person is dragged by a truck or hung on a tree, it wasn't because their name was Calvin. It was because they belonged to the group.
So it may appear unfair... because you would like members of this oppressed and attacked group, not to be defensive as a group, but to treat each offense and rogue individual racism. But that's not our experience. It is a team sport and if we act otherwise then it's simply like having not enough players on the field. Because trust me... rarely does 1 white person EVER hang 1 black person. Rarely does 1 white supremacist march. They want us to see that they are together. So we cannot act as individuals or treat each incident as isolated.
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But you are deeming something to be racist speech based on what? Tonality? Hurt feelings? Give me a specific example. I already said there were cases I would agree with and people can go too far in their defense. For instance, someone breaks into my home I'm allowed to defend my family. If they escape I'm not allowed to go hunt them down. I don't want to end up in a fight. And if I can avoid doing so I will. But if another man is throwing punches it isn't simply instinct to fight back, fighting back may be the only way to stop the assault.
The last thing you want to do is advocate to a victim that they should just take it. If a woman is getting raped she should do whatever it takes, including kicks to the balls, to get away. And if I was there I would want to knock the guy out. Did you ever get bullied in school? Funny thing is they usually use their size and strength to pick on someone they think is weaker. And they keep doing it until you stand up for yourself which may including physically fighting back. In a perfect world maybe you wouldn't have to but in order to NOT be a victim people have to be willing to fight back in order to stop the aggression.
Now if you want to tell us some alternatives to fighting back I'm all ears. Otherwise, choosing not to punch could simply mean your death. That's why many people try to run from the cops because they think there's too big a risk of being killed if they don't. And you could tell them a hundred things to do instead and a hundred things have all been tried and a hundred things have all failed. So you may blame them for trying to survive. I cannot. People don't always have the luxury of nonviolence and it doesn't always work. Racism and white supremacy have been protested for longer than I've been alive and I cannot tell that there is one iota of difference in the population of racists vs non-racists in the US. Sad but true.
Bullies represent the powerful. It is the nature of power to be used against the weak because using it against the strong incurs the risk of being beaten. It's not just individual people who are bullied, but groups, gender, sexual orientation, religions, tribes, and nations. Because it's about power.
So tell me how the Rebellion could have NOT fought back against the Empire. What would that even look like and what would the Jedi be in that scenario? If you're try to say two wrongs don't make a right, that's true. But is it wrong to defend? Is it wrong to protect? I say no. I say it is righteous to defend the ones you love, your family, your community, your culture, your nation, against those who, with evil or wicked intentions, attempt to do you harm. I'm a samurai. But if I have to be, I'll be a ninja too.
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ZealotX: “And WHO decided upon the definition?...”
The people who use a language are the ones who determine what words in the language mean. Meanings of words are determined by their use within given situations of communication whether they be written, spoken, sung, etc. A definition is not decided by a top-down deliberating force (though dictionaries do try to keep up), but is the consequence of the way words are used. Without a doubt, the definition of the word “racism” used since its conception has been a consequence of how the word has been used in human conversations between people of any background. In the US that happens to be primarily people of a certain shared background, but I think that’s a consequence of the natural process of language development rather than a self-serving intentional decision. I don’t think that it’s an action of moral significance. No matter how you structure your society, there is bound to be some demographic (race, sex, religion, gender, political ideology, etc) which holds the majority. Those people will naturally have more of an influence over the development of language because there are more of them participating in the language, conversing, inventing words, changing definitions, etc.
ZealotX: “Why should the majority get to decide how to define the word that was the very instrument of the majority against minorities?”
The natural development of language is not top-down. Definitions are loosely agreed upon within social groups. I previously mentioned this being unavoidable. But as for the definition of a word being more inclusive resulting in discrimination -- I am not sure how this could be the case. Please give me an example. From what I can see, labeling black-on-white racism as racism does nothing to injure black people. Calling white-on-black racism what it is, racism, is common sense. Labeling both as racism just demonstrates that they are of the same class of action: racially-motivated acts, thoughts, words, etc. which unfairly discriminate based solely on factors beyond the control of the individual and which serve to the detriment of that individual. Labeling both as racism does not belittle one or the other; it recognizes that the moral issue at hand is not the result of the action, but is that it is morally unacceptable to engage in actions which are racially-motivated acts, thoughts, words, etc. which unfairly discriminate based solely on factors beyond the control of the individual and which serve to the detriment of that individual.
ZealotX: “RACISM (white supremacy), is the local and global power system and dynamic, structured and maintained by persons who classify themselves as white, whether consciously or subconsciously determined, which consists of patterns of perception, logic, symbol formation, thought, speech, action and emotional response, as conducted simultaneously in all areas of people activity.”
There were a few classes in college where we read the papers that make arguments for this kind of thing and they were always really sloppy opinion pieces, for lack of a better term. I’m just not concerned with the personal opinion of Dr. Welsing about racism, though I’m sure they’re a fine M.D. When I speak about racism, I’m talking about racism outright – not specifically white supremacy. I think a definition of racism which exclusively applies to a single racial group, regardless of context, is itself incredibly racist and should be recognized as an intellectualization of racism against that racial group.
I just wholeheartedly reject this definition and the one which follows it. I don’t think it’s appropriate. I think it’s a racist definition and the act of adopting it does not serve to better society in any way. By adopting it, there are entire races which cannot categorically be the victims of racism. You may say that it is prejudice instead, but I hold that there is no moral difference between one racial slur or another.
I live in an area with many different racial groups, but it’s heavily segregated. Just walking down the street in some parts of town I’ve been harassed, called racial slurs, and threatened because of my race. I simply do not accept the premise that there is any difference between that happening to me and that happening to a black guy my age in another part of town. If he gets punched for being black and I get punched for being white (yes, this has happened to me) by different racists in different areas, I do not see any reason to label our experiences differently. I know white people who have been the victim of racist abuse and I know black people who have never once experienced an instance of racist behavior that they can name. I do not think anything worthwhile is done by labeling racism and prejudice separately in these instances. And I do not think it would be appropriate to say racism did not take place in those instances.
ZealotX: “So if I'm calling this person ignorant, and they're calling me ignorant, is it the same? Think about it before you answer.”
If you call them ignorant, there is a difference. They used a racially motivated term to single you out due to your race, and hence the action they committed was racist. If you call them a racial slur in return, there is no difference. Both actions are racist. It doesn’t matter what race they are. If you punch them in return, of course, that’s not necessarily racist. It’s just a reaction, and likely not the morally correct one. So no, punching them in return wouldn’t make you a racist.
We might go down the rabbit hole of whether it’s better to respond with a racial slur or to punch, since one is racist and the other isn’t. Personally I hold that it’d be better just to call them ignorant.
ZealotX: “You are ONLY the victim if I'm doing so unprovoked.”
Agreed, but I don’t think this applies to racial groups. If some guy does something racist to you and you react by doing something to him, he’s not really a victim in that scenario. But if that guy does something racist to you and you react by doing racist things to other people of his race, that’s not exactly the same thing.
If a white guy provokes a black guy with racism, then the black guy was provoked, but only by that one white guy. The moment he takes that beyond that one individual or the group of people the individual is with, and it becomes about white people in general, it’s no longer a reasonable response to provocation. To be clear, that one guy provoked the black guy; white people did not provoke him. You cannot be provoked by a race; that is racist. To displace righteous anger on others unjustly does not solve any problems in my opinion.
ZealotX: “But you are deeming something to be racist speech based on what? Tonality? Hurt feelings? Give me a specific example.”
It’s a racially-motivated act, thought, word, etc. which unfairly discriminates based solely on race and which serve to the detriment of that individual to whom it is directed.
I wasn’t going to bring up personal examples. I’ve been attacked before but here’s a relatively tame one. Once I was driving when I was blindsided by another driver. The driver went on their way but my front bumper was torn off. I put my emergency lights on, parked, and got out of the car, grabbed the bumper to put it in my backseat, and drove the car to the side of the road once I had cleared the debris so that other drivers would not be inconvenienced by my crash. While I was putting the bumper in the back seat, a woman yelled out her car window (spoiler below for those easily offended)
Then she drove off. This was speech directed at me, based on nothing other than my race, for the purpose of causing me some detriment, possibly emotional if nothing else. I cannot imagine this would not be interpreted as racist if I had a different skin color and different slurs were used. And I see no moral difference between the situation that happened to me and the race-reversal of that situation. Do you?
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TheDude wrote: Please give me an example. From what I can see, labeling black-on-white racism as racism does nothing to injure black people. Calling white-on-black racism what it is, racism, is common sense. Labeling both as racism just demonstrates that they are of the same class of action: racially-motivated acts, thoughts, words, etc.
I'm sorry but it does injure black people. I can give you multiple examples.
since I understand your overall point let me point out that in my understanding we are debating racial vs racist. And I'm starting by going into what I call racist. I will follow with what I would only consider "racial" so that hopefully you can see the difference and agree with a need to differentiate. I'm not saying all uses of "racial" anything is okay. There should be limits. But I am asserting that "racial" is different from "racist" and both can be wrong, but one is always wrong.
The most basic example of how this confusion can injure black people is a case in which 2 people get into a fight, but one was simply defending themselves. If you treat them the same then they both go to jail and the person who instigated the fight, the one who deserves punishment, is treated better than the person they attacked because the person they attacked is being punished for defending themselves. And if they have to go to jail, they may lose their job, they may lose their house or apartment, their children could suffer as a result, etc.
Fortunately, the law doesn't usually work that way because it would be unfair. If there are no consequences for being the aggressor then you're suggesting that being the aggressor isn't actually wrong. I don't think you mean to imply this but equivocating suggests it.
Another example: (MLK)
By your logic Martin Luther King was a villain and every year we celebrate the birthday of a bad guy. Why is he a bad guy in your logic? Because his speeches about race were all racially motivated. He was responding to the way that people of his race were being treated. The entire civil rights movement is racially motivated because it is a reaction to how the black race is treated. So if you're saying any action that is racially motivated is wrong then you're saying the fight for equality is wrong too. Again, I don't think you mean to imply this, but if black people are not allowed to, or are punished, for seeking freedom and justice and equality in reaction to racism, then that injures black people in a way that would keep whites on top.
And this is important because a lot of people look at Affirmative Action laws as if they are unfair. First of all, women benefit from these laws more than anyone else which allows white men to benefit too. But secondly, these laws wouldn't be necessary if the playing field was level.
Again... go back to 2 people getting into a fight. If the person who started the fight wasn't paying rent because he lived with him parents, then he is in a better position at the start of the fight and would suffer less consequences than the person defending themselves.
So if one side is already on top and you call the defense to racism, racist, in order to stop the defense and stop all reaction to racism... then the racists win because they were already on top. That's what equivocation does.
Two boxers enter the ring. Boxer in the white & gold trunks has a longer reach and weighs more. They each throw the same number of punches. They each land the same number of punches. Is it automatically a draw? In real life if one fighter had such a physical advantage the fight wouldn't be allowed because it wouldn't be fair. You couldn't even determine who the better fighter was because the punches thrown by the fighter with the handicap wouldn't be able to do the same damage. If they let them fight, if the other fighter managed to go the distance they wouldn't look as healthy as the boxer with the advantages.
You may not look at it this way because you're not racist. Racists DO look at it this way and strategize accordingly and therefore black people have to think this way to defend against it.
Let's use a numbers metaphor. Football this time.
Imagine you have 2 teams on the field. One with 11 men. The other with 8. The team with 8 people would have to seriously out perform the other team in order to score points but if you treated both teams as equal and ignore the discrepency you wont see how easily the team with 11 could exploit their advantage. And even if the team with 8 somehow still won, that doesn't mean the game was fair or how it should be.
To make sports fair, what do they do? Make someone lose weight, make a player or two sit out, etc. But if you said these measure were "also cheating"... then there really would be no recourse to achieve fairness. As good as Michael Jordan was in basketball, if you triple teamed him you were almost guaranteed to force him to pass the ball. Someone had to be left open and that person could (hopefully) make the shot. But what if you could triple team MJ without leaving anyone else open because you have extra players on the court? Would that be fair? Or course not.
I think the fact that you confuse racial for racist is actually a sign that you're not racist because it's like I'm trying to educate you about what racism is. But that's good. That's a weird compliment. But it would be good for you to understand so you can better understand some of your unfortunate experiences which I'll get to in a slightly later post.
In democracy it's all about the majority. But if the majority are voting as individuals it would stand to reason that their vote would represent people in other groups/classes as well. Rich people wouldn't have to lobby if they were in the majority. Lobbying is a way of working against the majority. But if too many members of the majority vote as a racial group, then this makes it a team sport and creates a clear advantage as their interests would go against the interests of the minority. And this isn't speculation. It's evidenced by constitution and bill of rights. There was a time when black people were considered 3/5 human. Can you imagine? But that's not just an insult, it's strategy. It meant that the votes of black people shouldn't count as much as a white person's vote. And don't get me started on Redlining.
Racism has real consequences because the intent is to disadvantage another race to benefit your own. They wanted to maintain power. So that's why racism is about maintaining that power dynamic. Racial jokes aren't something black people worry about. Racism threatens survival and progress. Categorizing everything as racism actually helps racists. Because they can just say "you're racist too" every time you respond. And that's like giving them a get out of jail free card and a license to kill. I don't want social justice warriors to turn into a thought police. That not only will not help but it will backfire hard. We need to focus on real racism; the things that makes life unfair for people because these things still exist.
After the playing field has been leveled for awhile, whites will adapt to not having a natural advantage on the basis of race and the racial slurs and racial biases will start to go away because they are merely symptoms of the greater problem like bumps are a symptom of an allergic reaction. You're seeing the bumps and that's fine. But the fundamental issue is racism. The bumps are just the body's reaction. If you have a temperature, the temp may not be the problem but rather the body's reaction to cure itself. So the best way to stop these reactions that people call "reverse racism" is to solve actual racism and fight for human rights and justice.
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TheDude wrote: By adopting it, there are entire races which cannot categorically be the victims of racism. You may say that it is prejudice instead, but I hold that there is no moral difference between one racial slur or another.
If you have a need to be included. That doesn't mean you have to be a victim of the same exact thing as someone else. If you were called names, I truly sympathize. And it sounds like you have some personal experiences I would like to know more about before I judge because I've never seen black people verbally assault someone out of the blue without any provocation. There must be a lot of racism against them in that particular area (you did say it was heavily segregated) in which the bitterness and resentment are at an extreme high. And when people don't know who to blame for it... they start pointing with elbows instead of fingers if you catch my drift.
Does it make it okay? No. Like I said, if someone is overreacting that's not cool. But it's a little like democrats vs republicans. If both parties demonize each other then blanket statements are made that make it harder to work together. But these are the conversations we need to have and I thank you for having this conversation and sharing your experience.
My focus on survival threatening actions against an entire group is not meant to minimize things you've gone through. But there is a difference that I hope you will see. For example... its one thing for a frustrated citizen to take their feelings out on you. That's wrong. That's bad. I condemn it. However, it's a different thing when its a police officer, a lawyer, a judge. I would have personally preferred this judge call me the N-word instead of what he actually did. He have me home dentention over an expired tag. Home detention is a punishment for a crime as part of a sentence. I got home detention before even having a court date. And because I had to wait for the 2 home dentention people who worked at the jail just to get to my case, I was already stuck in jail for 3-4 days. You would have thought I killed someone and was a flight risk. But if that was the case then the judge should have denied bail. No. I had bail posted so I should have been out that same day. But because this judge, who I cannot prove is racist, did this, it could have easily cost me my job. THAT's the kind of stuff I'm talking about.
The difference is that many things are RACIAL.... but that should be a different category from things that are RACIST. Although both have something to do with race, someone calling you honkey or cracker (words that whites used on each other) is not going to affect the way you live.
But regardless, these words, however they were used, the meaning carries a tone that is based on intention. Consider the many variations of the word "bitch" (Which I'm not bleeping because the proper definition is not a curse word but rather a female dog in heat). It can be positive or negative, based on who and how it's used.
more on words:
The same thing black people did with N-word to nigga is similar to what whites did with cracker. But we've simply forgotten the history of some of these words. In high school I caught a white kid calling another white kid nigga. I gave them a look and the kid apologized because he knew he wasn't supposed to use it. But he and others wanted to. They were friends. Someone calling you racial terms other than "white" or even calling you "white boy" could be considered the same and yet you are a "White dude" and that's not an insult. If someone white called me a nigga in the correct context I wouldn't be offended but they would have to be very familiar in order for me to allow them a pass to use the word.
Black... negro.... colored... depending on how old the white person is they use different words and all 3 are "racial" because they involve race but they aren't always insulting. To be insulted there has to be a negative thing attached to being "a negro". Well for racists negro means inferior. To black people using honkey or cracker is similar to using redneck, hick, or hillbilly. None of these words are flattering but none of these words mean that you belong to an inferior race or breed. If people are a little sensitive maybe there's room for them to take it that way but it wouldn't be accurate. But yes, if you have names for us we don't feel bad for having names for people back; especially if its a word used like gringo which is still a slur but not always pejorative.
I don't consider all these words racist. And I don't think you can be racist against your own people. They may be prejudicial and reflect racial biases. But to call them racist I think is confusing the term racial with racist.
Compare sexual with sexist.
Something sexual (al ending) is related to sex. A Sexist is typically someone who is prejudiced against women. Is it not possible for women to be sexist? Maybe, but you have to admit that it isn't likely because it would require women to see men as inferior where as men often see women as weak and inferior because of the power dnynamic that has existed for a long time. This effects how women are paid and what positions men try to keep them out of. This is why there are laws to try to help women. Because again... its not about slurs. It's about power. Is it sexist if you compliment a woman on her beauty or figure? It could be considered sexual but is it sexist?
Sexist... racist... elitist... realist... socialist... apologist....
The suffix -ist can make nouns with the meaning “one that works with or is connected with.” The suffix -est adds the meaning “most” to short adjectives and adverbs - as in calmest, which means “most calm.” Since both suffixes sound like [ist] or [əst], they can be easily confused when you are trying to spell them
a suffix of nouns, often corresponding to verbs ending in -ize or nouns ending in -ism, that denote a person who practices or is concerned with something, or holds certain principles, doctrines, etc.:
apologist; dramatist; machinist; novelist; realist; socialist; Thomist.
So the bottom line from a language point of view is that the suffix should match the meaning. If you are saying anything related... then the suffix should be "-al" (like social). But someone who is being social isn't a "socialist". Do you see? The "-ist" ending is much more than simply relating. And that's where I think the confusion is.
Next I want to talk about specific experiences in the most respectful way possible. I think it will be beneficial.
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Meanings of words are determined by their use within given situations of communication whether they be written, spoken, sung, etc.
That is exactly correct. Your whole paragraph is correct. So... think about it. If I cannot convince you to use the definition I provided which is the more popular definition in the black community and those who study racism, then being the minority of the population matters because you're choosing to go with the mainstream which is simply the consensus of the majority. But there's NO LAW or reason that the definition I'm telling you cannot be the one you choose to go with and the one you use in conversation and the one that spreads into your community until it is the more accepted, mainstream, definition. It's your choice. I cannot force you into using it. But you not using it, as part of that majority, makes the minority view harder to accept.
This is exactly how racism works.
Again... its not you. I'm talking about the systemic nature of it. Because white supremacy already has power all it needs to do is maintain that power. The only threat to that power is outside influence. That's why they want a culture war because if minorities are too accepted (equal with them) then they lose that hidden advantage of being in the majority. And with a negative birth rate people who are invested in racial inequality pay attention to that and anything that is a long term potential threat. That's what "build the wall" is about. It's not simply "America First". These are white washed political slogans designed to hide the real intent of policy makers.
If there are too many "brown people" then they might eventually, when combined with "black people", change the population dynamic to where whites become the minority. And if you are a person (again, not you. I'm saying "you" as a theoretical construct) who enjoys the benefit of being in the majority then you might have a reaction to this very possible eventuality. Remember the chant "Jews will not replace us" ? These groups are telegraphing their fears. Imagine all the people who simply don't march and don't want to be identified as racist, but who think the same way? Those who march will always represent a larger group and they know that and that's why they do it.
The mere fact that the majority view things a certain way means that that has a powerful influence over society; including the definition of words. It wasn't that long ago that enough people considered slavery okay that they were willing to go to war to maintain it. And because the descendants of slaves have been fighting for equality against the majority it has been an uphill battle. So if I can't get you to accept even this simple definition on the basis of logic because you are (well within your rights) more influenced by the mainstream majority use, even though I'm telling you it's wrong, then... what can I, as a member of the minority, with a minority opinion, do?
The fight for equality has always been this way because as much as we just want equality, the majority will keep voting in their own interests unless we can convince them otherwise. But again, you are 100% entitled to your opinion. I can't change you. I can only express my view and the views of many others, past and present, to hopefully push against the imbalanced majority enough that we can help bring balance. Because equality is balance.
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TheDude wrote: The Dude:
I live in an area with many different racial groups, but it’s heavily segregated.
I have to admit. I do not know what this means. If it's heavily segregated by definition there aren't many racial groups in within each segregated area. It's either segregated or not. I'm not understanding how it's both. The closet thing I can think of is something like a prison.
TheDude wrote: If a white guy provokes a black guy with racism, then the black guy was provoked, but only by that one white guy. The moment he takes that beyond that one individual or the group of people the individual is with, and it becomes about white people in general, it’s no longer a reasonable response to provocation. To be clear, that one guy provoked the black guy; white people did not provoke him. You cannot be provoked by a race; that is racist. To displace righteous anger on others unjustly does not solve any problems in my opinion.
Man you have no idea how much I want to agree with you. I just cannot get there and here's why. As I said before, racism is a team sport. And it's about power. If a police pulls me over because I'm black, how can I know that? I can't. It would be "racial" of me to think that, but not racist. Because I DONT KNOW THEM and its a real possibility. That suspicion has to be in the back of our minds because it protects us from being too comfortable. If we're wrong and the cop is not a racist, cool. Do I feel bad if I'm wrong? No. You cannot operate this way. So many people are racist (not not simply racial) and they are often benign until they are in positions of authority or... like Karens... they can use the authority of the police to prosecute people for being black.
Defensive Suspicion: (similar to racial profiling)
So from our perspective, if we don't know you, it is easier and more economical to simply assume you are a racist until you prove us wrong. I feel comfortable on this site because subscribing to the philosophy of the Jedi or Jedi realism is hard to if you're a racist. So I take your very presence here has evidence that you're probably cool. There are a couple people who may not be but they generally don't subscribe to a light path and are either self-styled gray or dark. As I talk to people or hear them speak and I feel their energy I can see that they're probably not racist. But this is how must of us have been socialized to think, for our own safety and security. This seems unfair but so does the randomness by which racism strikes at us. It's ALWAYS people we don't know. And racists tend to keep their distance because they're not trying to get to know us. So do black people who don't know you assume that you are a racist? No. Most black people assume that you MIGHT BE. And more often than not they're too tired to figure out whether you are or not without you at least meeting them half way and trying to be cool with them. When I get compliments about my hair or whatever tshirt I'm wearing, that person is probably cool. It goes from being 60/40 probably racist to 95/5 probably not racist. Am I wrong? Not to me. This defensiveness is a product of our environment. Roses have thorns for the same reason.
And this is why black people say "THE (WHITE) MAN" although this term is old and depreciated. The concept is still sound. Who is the man? Is it an individual? No. Is it all white people? No. It is a construct with many faces that are unknown. When you see the KKK they used to wear hoods. The whole point was to hide their identities because they might be breaking the law and they were also cops, lawyers, judges, etc. That anonymity was also meant to terrorize. They burned crosses on people's lawns because they wanted them to live in fear. But it wasn't like they could sue the person who did it. So the same way Dick Gregory explains honkey was what unknown white people were called because they were known in a certain scenario honking their horns, the same way that over time so many white people doing things to your community just starts to merge together into a collective. Again... it's a team sport. When you don't know who's on the team and all you know is that all the members are white, what do you call them? So "the man" was never a symbol for all white people. It was a symbol for all the white people who were racist and acted in ways to oppress minorities.
The reason we capture police officers on video is protect ourselves and to show these cases to people who don't believe us when we say that racism is part of police culture. Sounds absurd because people want to equate police officers with heroes. And of course it is not every officer who is like that. But if we say "oh what happened to Rayshard Brooks wont happen to me because that was a different officer", our name might be Daniel Prude. And if we say what happened to Daniel Prude wont happen to me because that was a different officer then our name might be George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Aura Rosser, Stephon Clark, Botham Jean, Philando Castille, Alton Sterling, Michelle Cusseaux, Freddy Gray, Eric Garner, etc.
Motivated by the past:
There are some black people who feel so much at war because of everything that's happened, because they're isolated from whites in their community, and dont have any personal relationships and because the only white people who smile at them are Walmart greeters, their Friend or Foe radar is a little broken. That's unfortunate, but it's also a statistical reality produced by the acceptance of racism and white supremacy. In other words, they can't tell that ANY white people are on their side because they don't see white people opposing it. Cops who kill black people, for the most part, usually aren't prosecuted. And then when regular people talk about it they question how much of a criminal the victim was and generally side with the police. When young black people witness this... all they see is white society (because it has the power to do something about it) complicit, and that's why the situation doesn't change.
The names I was able to list I would have never known about 30 years ago before cell phones and cameras. You couldn't whip out a polaroid and think you were gonna capture the exploits of a racist cop. And pictures aren't enough. It has to be video. So for decades these same kinds of people (not just cops) simply got away with it. They're so used to it that they'll slip up and still do it even while the cameras are rolling.
Black people have been the victims of (successful) terrorism by white terrorist groups for hundreds of years; groups that it isn't illegal to join. So how can black people NOT think these groups and their beliefs are being protected? If they were coming after white people they'd be digging some guy out of a hole in the middle of a desert and everyone would have to jumpt through security hoops to get on a plane. Does society protect black people the same way? No. We have to actually argue against statues that were erected long after the civil war, dedicated to racists because white people (not all) argue that its about history and pride and such. Terms like terrorist can't be applied to whites who terrorize black people. Dylan Roof shot up a black church and got taken to Burger King. Black people see that. Black people see how society reacts and protects those it considers "it's own" vs those who are "the others".
The list of crimes against black people in the United States is infinite and more than enough to keep black people in a defensive state of mind. My best friend would not even have been born in Ohio if it wasn't for the fact that his father had to run away from the South after he was warned he was about to get lynched because he defended himself when someone attacked him for being in the wrong bathroom. It was an accident and he really had to pee.
America's reaction to Muslim extremists and anti-black Terrorism:
Saying that everything racial is racism obfuscates the scenarios that actually rise to level of racist and allows racists to blame victims of racism as if they should not fight back. In that case, why did we send troops to Iraq and Afghanistan? What did people give their lives for? Should America have allowed Muslim extremists to bomb Americans without doing anything back? But if you agree that defense is okay then that's cool. If the problem is someone mistreating a person who isn't racist because of racist things that were said or done to them, I agree. Again, I can't condone such behavior. I can only try to explain it. But it is true that whites started being anti-Muslim in general. Why? Because they felt attacked, as a group, by a group; and that group happened to be Muslims. Was that right? NO! But it happened because they didn't know specific people who were violent extremists. It's like they were the KKK, wearing proverbial hoods, and trying to terrorize them. And society, to a large extent, accepted that behavior until Saddam was killed and later Bin Laden. Once the threat was minimized and the FBI was getting better at intercepting future threats, people calmed down, no longer terrified, and stopped treating Muslims like potential enemies.
For black people the threat hasn't really gone away and it's felt the most intensely in the poorest and most segregated black communities. And it's not like years go by in which nothing happens. White militias, white nationalists, Nazis, KKK, are all HIGHLY visible and clearly engaged in politics. These groups are not hiding. They're telling the world they want a race war. Individual actions like that of the Dylan Roof massacre, are for the purpose of instigating and inciting it. The president of the country tells the Proud Boys to "stand by". What? We have groups openly trying to work with Russia in order to create an all white state. And the fact is that there is NO ONE really doing much of ANYTHING about these things. There is more outrage in the US over what Black Lives Matter calls itself because white people don't feel included in the name, than there is white outrage over the white people calling for a race war. It's really not even talked about here unless someone black brings it up and then where does the conversation go? So yeah... black people have a reason to be suspicious and defensive. And it will remain so until our terrorists (racists) are rooted out and brought to justice.
Until that happens, the fear and anger that some black people cannot contain, is still a reaction to a faceless horde of white terrorists, and that's how they will see it. Doesn't make it right but if no one wants to fight this battle with us then it is hard to see anyone on our side. Thanks to BLM, black people finally have begun to see real allies fighting with black people, and that alone is a great step in the right direction. Seeing a random white guy at the gym with a Black Lives Matter shirt? That's not nothing. This is what we've have been waiting to see. Acknowledgement and empathy. Goes a long way.
Whoever it was that hurt you, they need help. I can't sympathize with them because I'm sympathizing with you, but I just know that what they're feeling is a twisted form of justice and revenge added to their suspicion that you're probably a racist and questioning why you're in their community when whites generally only go there for certain things; mostly things that aren't good. But that's not right. Just like it's not right when cops and Karens follow black people around in nice neighborhoods asking why those black people are there. That's racist because the person asking you is implying that you aren't good enough to live there; symbolized by the idea that you cannot afford to live there. That's not the same question when a white person is in a black neighborhood. The suspicion isn't that your not good enough to live there but rather you may be up to no good. This suspicion is wrong but a defense mechanism designed to keep potential threats and danger away. It's prison mentality and that's what happens in an area that is segregated off like a prison.
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