Friday, November 17, 2017

Black Progress Does Not Come At White Expense by Steven Singer

Relax, white people.

Take a breath.

It’s okay.

America survived its first black President.

You didn’t have to freak out and elect a neo-authoritarian-pseudo-populist!

Holy Crap!

But I get it.

You’re scared.

You’re used to the faces of authority being white and male. Yet for eight whole years you had to endure Barack Obama – a far from perfect neoliberal politician, who none-the-less gave the U.S. the most stable two terms in decades.

And then you were asked to vote for a white face (sigh!) that unfortunately was attached to breasts and a vagina! Oh the horror!

Seriously, white people. Sit the fuck down and listen to some sense.

You can function just fine in a world where people of color and women have the same rights as you and yours.

I know. Sounds crazy! But it’s true.

Think about it.

Would that hurt you?

I don’t think so. In fact, it might actually help, because then we could focus on the fact that police in this country kill far too many unarmed people – of any race – than they should. In most countries, they make lots of arrests but kill almost no one. Here, they kill hundreds – thousands!

We need to demilitarize law enforcement. We need new training programs that emphasize de-escalation of violence – not a shoot-first-ask questions-later mentality.

And it’s hard to focus on that when racism and prejudice get in the way. We need to fix racism first. Only then can we address the root issue.

Here’s another example.

No run down under-resourced schools that just happen to serve mostly students of color and yet across town we’ve got the Taj Mahal with marble columns and a broad curriculum that just happens to serve the best and whitest.

Instead we’d have schools that serve everyone – a broad mix of cultures, races and ethnicities all properly resourced and offering a broad range of curriculum and extra-curricular activities.

Would that hurt you?

I don’t think so. In fact, it would actually help because every child would get what he or she needs to succeed. Crime would drop, and even prejudiced and racist attitudes would begin to disappear because it’s harder to hold xenophobic views about people who you actually know because you’ve learned everything with them since you were in kindergarten.

There’s one thing you have to understand. Racism isn’t an ideology. It’s a sickness. It’s a virus that blinds people to real truths about the world and makes them more prone to holding views that are just plain wrong.

The same with sexism, anti-Semitism, homophobia and a plethora of modern day maladies that should have gone the way of small pox and polio.

Inoculating yourself against prejudice will not hurt you. Living in a society where everyone has the same rights doesn’t impinge on those you already have.

Yes, it will mean dismantling white supremacy. But that’s a good thing. You don’t really want the world to prize you just because of the color of your skin.

Do you?

Do you want to get into college just because you’re white?

Do you want to get a job just because of the hue of your epidermis?

Do you want the sum total of your value as a human being to be dependent on the way light reflects off your skin?

I don’t.

I’m white, and I don’t want that for me or my posterity.

I want people to judge me for me – not some preconceived notion of who I am based on culturally received generalities and the amount of melanin in my outermost cells.

Fuck that shit.

I’m me. And if that’s not good enough for anyone they can just go and jump in the river.

I don’t need white supremacy. And I don’t want it.

I refuse to sit back and accept things I don’t deserve while others are denied what they do deserve just so I can get some free stuff.

We’re all human beings. It’s time we treated everyone as such.

That means everyone gets the same human rights.

To paraphrase Oprah – YOU get human rights, and YOU get human rights and EVERYONEgets human rights!

White will no longer be considered normal. Neither will male.

It’s just another way to be – no better or worse than any other.

That doesn’t mean being ashamed of your whiteness. Hell. We can revel in it.

Imagine reconnecting with all the messy ethnicities we’ve plastered over to claim this homogenous white overclass! Imagine being Polish again, and Czech and German and Scandinavian and so many other nationalities that we barely connect with because we don’t want to draw attention to ourselves as anything other than white — That’s me. Just white. Plain white. Nothing to see here. White.

We’ve had to sacrifice a whole lot to get that status. But we don’t have to keep sacrificing. We can be who we are, too.

The Alt-Right Nazis are out there in the streets chanting, “You will not replace us.”

How about we replace ourselves.

Why don’t we redefine who we are as – who we are.

Not homogenous. Not white. But specific human beings belonging to various cultural, ethnic and religious groups and societies.

Human beings all taking part in the symphony of homo sapia, engaged in a robust love of all things people and a recognition that all people are human.

Think for a moment what that truly means.

Take a deep breath.

Let it in. Let it out.

It means letting go of this irrational fear that anti-racism is anti-white.

So, let me say it again – no. Black progress will not come at white expense. Nor will female progress or anyone’s progress.

We are one race. We are one people – though we are also many – and we will survive or perish together.

Take my hand and let’s build a better world for all of us.

Let us all benefit.

Let us all progress.


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