White Privilege Black Burden

OpEdFor days now, I have been without words, speechless. It isn’t that I have been without thought, it is simply I have not had the heart to write the words. More and more I find myself truly at odds with my own innate desire to believe in the goodness of man and moving toward a more cynical outlook. We are a nation built on the backs, the blood, sweat and tears of others. We are a nation defined by genocide and built by slaves, yet we refuse to acknowledge our history or the unwilling sacrifices of those who died so we could have all we have.

I have been without words. In truth, I thought I had no right to speak.

Nate Silver predicts the Republicans will take the Senate in 2014. Not by much and it isn’t a sure thing, but if they do the obstruction this President has contended with during the first six years of his administration will be nothing compared to the all-out war of the last two. If the Senate and the House are in the hands of the GOP the horror story we have seen growing on the edges since the days of Ronald Reagan’s disastrous economic policies, if not truly since Nixon’s Southern Strategy will come to full fruition and this nation will finally and fully divide between have and have not. We will show our true colors to the world I think. Perhaps this will be a natural breaking point for some who up until now thought they were welcome and others who continue to insist things were getting better. Those hangers on to the tent poles of the GOP will find out what contempt they are truly held in when the flaps of the tent are fold down and they are begging at the opening with no ticket to enter the victory party except as the help or a party favor.

You know who you are even if you don’t want to admit it. You men of any Color, you women in general, you members of the LGBT and you white folks who haven’t got a pot to piss in or a window to throw it out of; yes all of you puppets who are trotted out now and then, whether high or low you will find out just how contemptible you truly are when your adopted tribe flushes you to the curb.

It is time to strip the blinders from our eyes. It is time call bullshit.

The United States of America is not and has never been the Greatest Moral Nation In The World.

1857 Smithsonian map prior to the Civil War, pink shows the slave states

1857 Smithsonian map prior to the Civil War, pink shows the slave states

We are a nation founded on principles that included Manifest Destiny, Genocide, Inequality and the Enslavement of Human Beings. These principles are written into the founding documents, the words of the founding fathers and court cases coming into this century. These principles were carried out by those who put their stakes in the ground and built the nation. While it is important to acknowledge it wasn’t all the signers, it remains vital we understand the compromises made leading to the horror show of today.

Michael Brown was laid to rest this past Monday, I was at work and so I listened on headphones to parts of his ‘Going Home’ memorial.

I listened and I wept, for him, for his family and for us as a nation because we simply don’t care enough to demand change. To stand up for what is right and good. To hold accountable Darren Wilson, the White Cop who shot at him at least ten times hitting him six. I wept because we do not see Michael Brown as our son, we do not embrace his parents as part of our tribe and feel their pain and weep with them and for them in their loss. No, we don’t feel any of this, our hearts do not crack or break at the loss of another Black child lying in the street without comfort as his blood runs out and his community records the depravity of his murderer standing over him.

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We don’t seek justice for the victim; we seek excuses for his murderer. We don’t seek to comfort the family in their grief; we seek to silence and appease the community in their righteous fury. We approve even celebrate the police in their riot gear, their tear gas and their wooden bullets aimed at more Black Children.

Michael Brown, a young man who was to start college, a young man who was loved by his family; suddenly is vilified by police and press alike. Sounds familiar doesn’t it. Where have we seen this before? Oh, yes we have seen this every single time a cop or for that matter a White Man, shoots an unarmed Black person. We accept the Black person as the enemy of the State, we acknowledge they are somehow ‘scary’ and not part of our tribe and allow them to be maligned by the press, by the talking heads and in social media so their murderer can walk away with a pat on the back and a ‘job well done’.

During the memorial service for Michael, Al Sharpton said:

“We sit like we have no requirements. Like it’s somebody else. But all of us are required to respond to this. And all of us must solve this.”

I have pondered this statement, all week I have pondered this one single statement. Now Rev. Sharpton was clear he was going to be political in his eulogy, I think this was approved by the family. Others spoke of who Michael was, giving comfort to the family on a more familiar level. This service though, the image of Michael in the middle of the street, it was a pivotal moment for Ferguson and for a nation. His memorial could not remain personal or private; could not be only a moment of comfort for his grieving family, their strength in allowing his death to be a gift, a reminder of just how far we are from The Greatest Nation In The World is shattering.

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I thought I had no right to speak.

Here I sit, in my safe haven of privilege brought to me because I am fortunate in my birth. Sure I could have been born a man, that would have made me doubly fortunate but I was born White, I was also raised in a middle class household, even if it was dysfunctional as hell, I remain privileged in my birth. My rose-colored glasses are difficult to set aside, the latch on the gate to Hopeland hard to lift; nevertheless, there are things that need to be said, truths we all need to hear and accept. Without these truths, there will never be true change and all hope is lost, not just for those who need it most but for all of us.

We do not live in a post racial society. If you believe we do you are lying to yourself and anyone you say it to. If you are White, you are privileged every single day you are privileged, no matter how poor you are your skin gives you privilege whether you take advantage of the opportunity you are afforded by that privilege or not.

White Privilege is a Burden / Hardship for the Black person; for every single privilege we enjoy they pay for due to nothing other than the melanin content of their skin. This is a truth we do not understand, cannot understand ever. We do not wake up in their life, though some of us might wake up lying beside them, sharing their lives day to day, we do not wake up sharing the burden we have visited upon them by our complete and utter contempt for their humanity for the past nearly three hundred years of their inhabiting this land with us. Our forefathers, by Constitution and court order defined the humanity of their slaves as ‘less than’ their own. In fact as exactly three-fifths, now I will grant you the original three-fifths rule was to prevent Southern Slave owners from gaining greater votes in Congress by counting their Slaves as ‘Whole Men’, this single ugly diminishment of humanity has demeaned and diminished the citizenship and humanity of the Black community ever since. The three-fifths rule was in part the foundation of the Dred Scott ruling and has been used in other similar rulings as well. My heart tells me this rule is why so many people find it so easy to kill young Black men and women today. Why so many people find it easy to debase them, leave them lying in the street without care or comfort. This rule, stripping them of even one-fifth of their humanity is why so many find it so easy to murder them and walk away without guilt.

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I thought I had no right to speak, but I do have a right to speak because I am human and my heart is whole.

We cannot allow this to continue. We cannot allow our young people to die in the streets without speaking up no matter the color of their skin they are part of us, members of our tribe, citizens of our nation. We must end this. We must come together and build a true movement to end the police state that quells peaceful marches with violent retribution. We must demand our representatives, at every level from President to School Board, speak for us and to our issues; that they stop playing politics and start working to solve the problems of this nation. It is ridiculous that our President cannot speak to the horror story of a national tragedy for fear of giving offense during an election cycle.

Post Racial my happy ass.

I can only say this, if you have the opportunity to go to the polls and vote get off your butt, stand in line and do it. If you have the opportunity to march for freedom, for justice, for change do it. If you have the opportunity to show up, show your support, be part of something larger than yourself do not let your fear hold you back, do it.

Do not let your legacy be your apathy.

Really, Post Racial

OpEdWe are living in a ‘Post Racial Society’, isn’t that what those in the know want us to believe? Do you believe we are living in the fantasyland the pundits gleefully spew forth? Yeah, well neither do I but you have to give them credit for trying. It would be interesting, if a bit filthy, to open up their minds and see if they actually believe it themselves.

In the last few weeks, we were treated to some real cretins, lacking in any form of social grace or guile they have spewed the vile bigotry into our homes through the airwaves. Granted, at least one of them didn’t intend his remarks to reach our ears, they did though and we hung on every disastrous word. Interestingly, these two cases have nothing in common and their outcomes cannot be compared, except for one very specific point; they prove beyond a doubt we do not live in a Post Racial Society when it comes Power, Politics and Legislation, but we might be making baby steps as a society.

I am more than certain you know who I am talking about, but just in case you have been under a rock or meditating your navel in a cave;

Cliven Bundy, the man Fox, et al tried hard to turn into a folk hero until he suggested the ‘Negro’ were better off in slavery. Shock and awe, his words sent all his hero worshippers scurrying for cover, he said what they thought, ‘damn why’d he have to go and do that?’ The truth is, all those folks from Congress to the talking heads at Fox, they didn’t just latch on to ole’ Cliven because he made good sense espousing the Federal Government didn’t exist and his theory of Eminent Domain, there was another reason. I will get there, give me a minute.

Cliven_Donald

Then we had that wonder of the 1%, yes, you know whom I am talking about, Donald Sterling had his dirty laundry aired and it did not go over well. Players took to Tweeter, along with many others who had something to say about his low and ugly comments regarding his ‘ownership’ of those he contracted to play ball for him. Of course, some came to his defense with cries of, ‘he was set up!’ and, ‘he shouldn’t be penalized for what was a private conversation!’ Power is a funny thing though; ultimately, money talks and he didn’t have enough to override the entire NBA and public opinion.

So back to my comparison, these two loud and proud members of the old school and what they pronounced,  what so many think but don’t say aloud where others can hear. What was it these two wonders had in common?

  • Wealth (Somewhat to Obscene)
  • Race (Caucasian)
  • Age (Old)
  • Ignorance (Absolute)

What did I just say there?

They were both Rich, Old, Ignorant, White Men.

Simple as that. It is my personal opinion if we are ever going to achieve that ‘Post Racial’ society it is up to those of us who enjoy the privilege of walking down streets, through stores and through life without worry for our lives or our freedom to undo Racism. The simple truth is only White people can teach the next generation about racism, bigotry and prejudice; thus only White people can undo the harm it does both socially and institutionally.

Those who are victims of social and institutional Racism can teach us the harm it does; they cannot undo the harm, as they are not in our homes teaching our children from an early age. Legislative remedies go only so far in correcting institutional harm, what we see across our nation is proof of this truth, Cliven and Donald are two examples and the outcomes of their bad behavior are two examples as well. Another example is the reaction 800px-Barack_Obama_family_portrait_2011to having the first Black President in the White House.

Asses have been up on shoulders since the day this President won the election. As much as there are those who say it is not about the half of Barack Obama that is Black, the simple truth is what other reason could it
possibly be? This nation sees this man as a Black man, with a Black wife and Black children move into the House that slaves built and frankly lost its collective mind. Never, not in all the history of this nation as any President battled Congress for even a step toward compromise. Never, not in all the history of this nation has any President faced a Congress that would rather see the nation fail than a President succeeds in even a single agenda item. Not Race? Please give us credit for having some sense.

Back to old Cliven and Donald now, what has happened to them?

Donald got some comeuppance, his money wasn’t enough in the face of what would be lost by the league if players wouldn’t play and sponsors wouldn’t pay. Banned for life from games and a paltry (in the face of his bank) fine. Now the other owners are looking to force him to sell his team, will they succeed? Who knows, the man is eighty years old and likes to fight court battles, of course with confirmation he is battling prostate cancer perhaps he will let this one go.

LAcLIPPERS

As to good ole’ boy Cliven, well all his friends at Fox and in Congress, they deserted him like rats from a sinking ship, quick to let all and sundry know they disagreed with his ‘Negro’ comments. Who didn’t disagree? Yeah, those great patriots with their guns, you know the ones the ‘Militia’, the ones who drew down on government officials trying to do their jobs, who put women out in front as targets; yeah those. Now they are camping out on the side of the roads, fighting each other and terrorizing the locals with their roadblocks. Good old Cliven, he still owes the Government $1M plus still stands in front of the American Flag (of the government he doesn’t believe in) and fails miserably to understand what he did was so wrong.

Nevada Militia

Cliven lost his sponsors, Fox News. Donald his sponsors, commercial. Cliven should go to jail, along with his little buddies the militia. Donald didn’t do anything (this time) illegal, simply immoral and unethical. They are the same yet not.

An interesting read I have borrowed from Frank of A Frank Angle fame, one that shows perhaps why some are so terribly fearful of their place in this ever changing world, http://www.pewresearch.org/next-america/#The-New-Us

Moral? Yes, there is a moral. We do not live in a post racial society, not by a very long shot. We are getting there though, slowly the next generation coming up is beginning to say, “no more”. Society is changing, our outlooks and views are changing. The younger generations are beginning to question the ignorance and intolerance of those who came before them. Is it fast enough to undo the harm that is being done today?

No, not in my opinion and according to current projections we still have a few years to go before there will be enough of us who feel the way I do to make a real difference. What can you do? Start teaching your children what is right, stop ignorance now.

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