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Are Thee Black or Are Thee Human?

13 Sep
Are Thee Black or Are Thee Human?

People write from their experiences mostly  & in my personal experiences, I have not experienced much racism, so when I write about it, it’s from research, talking to others that have experienced it more than I, and my own experiences. There have only been two incidents in my life growing up in Atlanta where I was exposed to it directly & both were on jobs. As I have navigated my way through my series on race, I’ve received a ton of feedback via social media or email. From some other black people, I often get messages explaining to me that racism does indeed exist as if I’m a naive & timid sheep needing to be saved from the slaughter, from the ” colorblind” butcher. It seems to be the opinion of some that I either haven’t ever experienced any racism, or that I’m a “wanna be white” or “sellout” (you fill in the blank), so I can’t see it. They couldn’t be more wrong about either conclusion but that’s their prerogative & I don’t lose any sleep over it. Has my experience with “race” made me more naive than the average person or blessed? Well, depending on who you ask, based on observation or assumption, you’ll get a different answer. As for me, my answer is perhaps both. The question is, do black people need to experience racism to be accepted as part of the whole? In the case of those who don’t, haven’t, or have very little – are we black enough?

I have seen racism manifested more with others than myself without a doubt but I have developed a philosophy of giving people the benefit of the doubt, especially if the alleged racism is not overt. I’m also not too naive to think that my experiences are not unique. I don’t think white people are racist in & of themselves just because they are white and consider that thinking to be quite lazy, to be honest. The same can be said for any whites who think all black people are New Black Panther, card carrying racists (or anything else), just because they are black. The irony is that neither the New Black Panter party or the KKK represent the majority (or even half) of either race but the American mainstream media (conservative & liberal leaning) perpetuates the meme that theyare representative of their respective racial groups. I’m not going to pretend to see most things as having a racial cause & effect just because I’m black. If the shoe fits to me, then I’ll wear it. If not I won’t. Some black people think that all blacks must keep with them at all times, a racial prism with which to view things “just in case” in America & I just find that a profoundly sad way to live.
Should I be on the “racial alert” in America? In my opinion, no. This “emergency” racial prism is carried around by some blacks just as I carry my emergency, rescue asthma inhaler. I don’t use it everyday it’s just there in the case of a medical emergency. Unlike my inhaler, some whip out that racial prism at first sight & disagreement with anything from the mouths of whites. People do stupid things for reasons other than race – bottom line. What I should be on the look out for are those who have not given me a reason to trust them, and until I have that, I’ll be cautious of all, for the sake of self preservation, regardless of their “race”. Making this survival tactic racial can get you killed, because one may let their guard down in the name of solidarity, prematurely. As an old friend of mine told me years ago, “I distrust everyone I don’t know on some level until they give me a reason to trust them”. He didn’t make it a black or white thing because no race is without the tendency for wrongdoing.

I find that sometimes when a black person disagrees with my positions on race & culture they do so based ontheir experiences, ignoring what mine may be. In other words, they define being black as a shared vulnerability & victim status that we all must have, unless white culture has permeated our thinking, rendering us therefore, unable to recognize this. Being black does not mean that I have  experienced racism, but in so many cases in America, black people have and do experience racism. Do you see the difference? I often get negative feedback when I share that I have only experienced racism twice on jobs because it is presumed that I will more often, because of my skin color. Some black people tell me I must be lying, or completely blinded to it. It is also presumed that because a person is white, they will at some point in their lives be a perpetrator of racism.  Having been a victim of more intraracial discrimination than interracial, I reject both presumptions.

 Being black to me is biological and cultural. I inherited my skin tone and other physical traits because my ancestors had repeated exposure over a long period of time to a certain environment, in which said traits were favorable to survival – nothing more & nothing less. The same can be said for being white or Asian. The beautiful thing about America, is that whether deliberately, through sexual assault or mutual love, now we have reached a point of having a nearly complete heterogeneous racial composition, so most black and white people are not “pure” anything. It kind of makes me want to ditch race altogether and just be…human. Just a little food for thought…Oh and for those who don’t get the title, check with your trekkie friends :)

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1 Comment

Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Philosophy, Society

 

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One response to “Are Thee Black or Are Thee Human?

  1. Team Afro

    September 16, 2012 at 7:33 pm

    Race is a complicated issue in America and many of the racial problems in America are so intertwined with classism that it is hard to see the difference. The incidences of getting fired because a white boss doesn’t like your dark skin are few and far between compared to the 95% of stop and frisk victims being black or latino. Institutional racism is the order of the day, designed to keep the things the way the are which unfortunately means too many blacks on the bottom. Predatory lending, unfair sentencing laws, redlining and the like are far worse than being called the “n” word. The former is a systematic denial of opportunity for a better life. The latter is easily ignored as the utterance of a fool.

     

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