I wrote this specifically in response to many African Americans, who, justly are shocked, disgusted and upset in what has transpired in Ferguson, Missouri (not to mention numerous stories like Trayvon Martin’s). But in SOME of their responses, have decided to throw ALL white people under the bus.
It’s something how bigotry and prejudice can come out of people so easily when they don’t realize it.
I’ve noticed a lot of “white people” slams all over the internet in regards to Michael Brown and Ferguson. I generally understand the outbursts and have avoided associating more to them than initial shock. After a while, I chalked most of those comments to people being lazy and keeping thoughts brief without getting into complexities.
But that also is dismissive. People are posting their marginalized testimonies quite clearly.
People are tweeting things like the militarization would never happen in a white neighborhood or white people don’t care about us…
I understand in the heat of shock, these statements can be the first visceral thoughts that come to mind.
But, take a moment and think back…
In terms of the militarization of police forces, and the images we’ve seen in Ferguson of the macing of children, tear gas…
Now think about Occupy Wall Street. Think about when the city of Boston was on lock down as the police and military stormed into people’s homes, without warrants in pursuit of two kids – who by law enforcement’s own accounts MAY have been armed and dangerous, but their original bombs were crude and homemade. Think about The Republican National Convention in NYC and how people were beaten and incarcerated just for protesting.
I could insert a link here and a photo there, but I’m not going to. All the above were recent enough stories in the media that your brain should have stored enough information you can recall.
In terms of “white people” not caring…
If you’re a conspiracy theorist and think all media is run by white people for the luxury of white happiness, why would white media run the Michael Brown story? Why are white journalists risking being caught in the cross fire of police brutality if they didn’t care about the story?
If it wasn’t for George Holliday being outraged by police brutality, the Rodney King’s story may have never been told.
If you’re using a broad stroke to criticize all the whities how different is that than what possibly went through the mind of officer Darren Wilson? Is the only difference is he killed someone?
Most of us, myself included, are forming an opinion that most likely Officer Darren Wilson (I hate acknowledging he was even an officer), probably shot Brown multiple times because his inner prejudice dictated that Brown’s blackness was enough of a threat to rationalize his execution. But that still is me projecting.
We all know how the Ferguson Police Department has immediately tried to seemingly convict Michael Brown in the court of public opinion by showing the unrelated video of Brown acting like a jerk and a thief. The police department released that Brown was stoned to heighten the drug association. But public opinion also demanded that convenience store footage to be released because the initial thought process was there wasn’t anything remotely aggressive about Brown’s character. Even Dorian Johnson, who was apart of the robbery and eyewitness categorically painted Brown’s character as kind hearted. Everyone is spinning the story!
Of course petty theft (especially when Wilson didn’t know) never warrants six bullets!!!
But don’t you want to know if Darren Wilson was on drugs?
If Ferguson is so dangerous, why was Wilson patrolling alone? Did he call for back up? Was he a subscriber to white power propaganda? Did he have a history of mental illness?
Does this narrative change if Darren Wilson was gay and had an African American lover?
Why is the Ferguson police force mainly white? Have they been called out for not hiring more African Americans? What has been the history of Ferguson with law enforcement?
Does the three black police officers who work for Ferguson have an opinion? Was racial derogatory conversations apart of the atmosphere in the department?
The problem with saying all this happened is JUST because of inherent whiteness is lazy, passive aggressive, and shows a malaise in addressing racial injustice. To me, it shows an inability to function.
Why does racial justice have to fall into the hands of Al Sharpton alone? Perhaps it’s just the power he has in media that is making it appear this way as other community leaders are being sidelined.
People need to ask themselves truthfully:
Do I engage in the voting process?
Do I vote in national AND local elections?
Am I comfortable with talking about racial injustice?
What are the prejudices I hold and why?
What is my supporting evidence to my hypothesis?
The 600 victims of the combined Malaysian Airlines flights have quickly been forgotten by the media.
Tomorrow an earthquake could happen, thus shifting every major news outlet to focus on a new story.
Long after #MichaelBrown is no longer hashtagged and replaced with the latest rants on Justin Bieber, Kim Kardashian and Chris Brown, what will become of Ferguson, Missouri?
What parent wants to come home only to discover their son has become the new Trayvon Martin or Michael Brown?
It’s just so strange for me to come from a background of being so absorbed in wanting culture and diversity in my life – loving the pop, dance, social commentary integration of Janet Jackson’s “Rhythm Nation 1814”- taking it upon myself to read countless books on African American histories and feminism. Investing in Alex Hailey & Malcolm X – Gloria Steinem & Camille Paglia. Reading and watching movies that weren’t assigned to me by any professors just because I longed to know how the rest of the world related to each other and to me.
And nowadays, people reduce that kind of interest to hashtags like #culturalappropriation.
Everyone’s a fucking expert with a tweet.
People find Miley Cyrus to be a threat and racist because she “twerks”. Twerking is apparently copy written and owned by black America. If you’re a white person, according to millions of social media users, and you twerk, you are inherently stealing from black culture and also inherently making fun of black people so you are inherently racist.
Back in 1989, if you could do the “running man” or “roger rabbit” no one called you a racist. And no one in their right mind would correlate the running man to sum up the black experience. Absurdity! But today, we all have to know our place!
Black artists crossing into white mainstream and white artists incorporating R&B into their style use to be considered MAKING IT! Now if Nicki Minaj twerks and glamorizes the “ratchet” lifestyle it’s a reflection – if Taylor Swift does it, it’s inauthentic and racist.
I thought the entire point of YOUTH was half the crowd bucks the establishment, not act as the fashion and thought police.
And someone is going to convince me Minaj’s butt has not been surgically enhanced?
Suddenly “twerking” has become more paramount than Booker T Washington and Harriet Tubman!
In a litany of websites when discussions come up about how Angelina Jolie may play Cleopatra in a movie there is outrage over the white washing of historical figures. Many believe Cleopatra to be black. I’m convinced she most likely was of darker skin, as Jesus – but who then wants to acknowledge Cleopatra owned slaves?
It’s all status driven and not educationally driven.
There are blanket judgements and a “talk to the hand” kind of atmosphere to racial politics which infuriates me.
It’s all superficial madness to me.
My entire life I’ve lived mainly in predominately white neighborhoods. I’ve heard derogatory remarks about all races – and the “n” word I hardly ever heard, but when I did, I knew it was meant with vulgarity.
I live across the street from a high school in NYC. The demographic is mainly Latino and black.
When school is in session, I typically hear the “n” word several times before I walk over a quarter of the block by black and Latino kids.
I’ve heard the “n” word more in New York City than any other place I’ve ever lived in my life. I think I heard it more in the first two months I lived here than the entire 26 years previous when I lived in Minnesota, Missouri and Montana. I get that people are using this word as a form of affection – but I just cannot help but wonder if any of these kids have truly dedicated themselves to education. Maybe they have, I know plenty of celebrities and rap artists have made this word cool and are successful but for me, in my world of responsibility, I can’t negotiate that this is a fun word like “sweetheart”. And just because one is a successful entertainer does NOT MAKE ONE A THINKER.
So when I hear this kind of talk in my neighborhood, I immediately say to myself “these children are lost”. I don’t see these kinds becoming engaged in social politics. Social media, totally. That’s easy. I don’t see them helping to develop commerce in communities. Maybe they are – but see, I just created my own prejudice based on people who use the “n” word like it was no different than “hello stranger”.
My entire point I’m trying to make is we are all in this together. Whether we like it or not.
This post isn’t going to resolve anything. Your experiences are your truth – but there is a huge conversation that is and will always be left out of the media.
It is YOUR responsibility to have those conversations, to engage, and become part of the repair process as opposed to hoping someone else fixes it.
If the thought process is all whities are just out for whitie what then is the solution? Are you really comfortable with going back to folding laundry, watching tv and ordering some food delivery believing it’s one group vs another? Whose side are the Asian, Latinos and Native Americans on then?
Is that all America is: white people and black people?
Blanket statements, unless they are meant with humor, have no place on my doorstep.
I fucking try to do things and represent.
And if that’s lost on you, well, you never even knew me. Go back to sleep walking.
And if you never have known me, now you know I am either an ally or someone you’re going to have a difficult time pacifying.