Racism In America: Make A Conscious Choice (Updated)

**Some of us ARE talking. I found this wonderful post and blogger called Beverly Diehl. She has sponsored a blogfest on racism commemorating MLK. Check it out.**

Sometime in December, I was on Twitter raving about the racism reported in the media that has become a daily onslaught. I was enraged by the the unholy triumvirate of Newt Gingrich’s ideas on the poor and his brilliant solutions; Gene Mark’s article on Poor Black Kids and Rihanna being called a Nigga Bi*** in a Dutch magazine.

Imagine my surprise, when one of my soon to be ex-followers sent me a tweet implying that the reason for all this blatant evidence of racism was just that it was an election year. Coincidentally, he was White.

My head spun. Truly. I think sparks flew out of my head.

  • As if, racist attacks only occur during an election year and magically dissipate when they are over.
  • As if, such behavior is merely talking points for rich, white, moneyed elitists and politicians to increase their hit rates, book sales etc. No one else says, or thinks these things, heavens no.
  • As if, said opinions do not inform, or affect, the minds of the populace.

Distilled to 140 characters, I sent back one, or two, irate (but respectful) tweets, stating that as a Black person he would never get me to agree with that synopsis. Indeed, the evidence of what we are seeing has widespread implications.

Silence. No response. He’d gone off to resume drinking and sending out drunken tweets. Speaks volumes, yes?

I guess the complexity of the subject was too much, or *gasp* I was coming across as yet another angry black woman. No matter, I’m in good company :). If you’re not angry in the face of the soul-stealing evil being sold to you under the guise of truth, you’re too far gone for help in my book.

It’s a secret that many Americans continue to vehemently deny, racism is alive and well and *gasp* it’s pervasive roots spread beyond the Grand Old Party. The GOP, who, in my opinion, merely reflect back an ugly, and not so silent, reality.

The hypocrisy of Americans and their ongoing refusal to discuss racism, past and present, is sickening. Silence is, rarely, if ever, your friend. The cry that talk of race is divisive is so insulting that it leaves me speechless. An intelligent, mindful, open person recognizes the need for discussion, acknowledgement and adjustment. Curse me for my thoughts of a truly mutually beneficial resolution.

A great starting point, for such as he, would be to understand that it is easy for White people not to be concerned about race. It’s a wonderful offshoot of white privilege.

When your daily life isn’t riddled with attacks on your race, in the media; from the mouths of the would be leaders of our country; from the police who you pay taxes for protection but routinely fail to protect you; from the stranger on the corner who shifts away from you to safeguard their valuables; neighbors who watch you out of the corners of their eyes waiting for the “other shoe” to drop; every moron who is visibly surprised at the success of a Black person who is not a rapper, drug dealer, comedian, or athlete, or, even from so called well meaning friends of other races whose speech is riddled with insulting stereotypical questions, and jokes, then you have the luxury NOT to be concerned about race.

For The Clueless

Here’s an idea, instead of asking Black people to stop talking about race…

Think about it in a deeper fashion. Showing respect for the feelings and thoughts of others beyond how the world effects you personally is a giant step. Getting the money out of politics and financial reform are not the only ills of America.

Perhaps, for just one moment you might also consider that the construct of race was not invented by overly sensitive African Americans, but White colonialists/imperialists who used, and continue to use race, as a method of divisiveness.

Much of the Black defensiveness and anger you see, is a result of the overt racism and microaggressions that we deal with and internalize. Ask yourself how you would feel if your so called non-Black allies, who weren’t racist, actively engaged in attempting to get you to (a) contribute to the cover-up that says we live in a post-racial society, or (b) move “past” racism to some utopian society which is clearly out of reach. How exactly would that help you?

Then, perhaps, you might contemplate that not every Black person who brings up the issue of race is pulling the race card but has a legitimate gripe.

In the same way, that I acknowledge and am happy that many White people, and non-Blacks, are not clueless and insensitive to these facts and are intelligent and empathetic enough to seek to change.

In the same way, that I listen to Jewish people when they speak about anti-Semitism, or the Holocaust. Experience informs their narratives and trumps any supposition I may have.

Dismissiveness is insulting and disrespectful. We understand that it’s easy to walk around in your own head but please, please, please don’t articulate your one-sided BS opinions and not open your ears to listen. The veils have been ripped asunder and we are clever enough to see this for the deep down, self serving ignorance it actually is, despite what you may believe. If you can’t stand hearing about it, imagine how it would be to live with it.

We all have our issues but I do my best to listen to, validate, and accept all people because the width and breadth of the human experience is not only mine to claim and I know others have something to teach me. It is a conscious choice that we all have the option to make.


11 thoughts on “Racism In America: Make A Conscious Choice (Updated)”

  1. Coco, thank you so much for this! I’m so glad I found you through Bella :D.

    Even though I am white, it is absolutely infuriating to me that discrimination of any kind is dismissed as someone “playing the (insert word here) card.” That card could be the race card, the gender discrimination card, or so much more. It’s not just being mentioned for fun, it’s being mentioned because discrimination is happening!

  2. Coco, so glad I found you – or you me, whichever. :-) I think black people and people of all shapes, colors, sizes and abilities need to KEEP talking about racism, sexism, and discrimination, until it is all gone.

    I know that occasionally, to keep from simply curling up into a ball and SCREAMING with the emotional pain of how dreadful we human beings are to one another, I do have to block out the info. BUT, I try not to live like that on a daily basis, nor do I try to pretend that the pain others feel is not so very real. Please keep talking.

    1. Beverly,

      Three cheers to Bella, the woman has great taste :). We must all soldier on, it’s the only pathway to change. Tapping into what is ugly is a necessary antecedent to transformation and it can’t be stressed enough. Thank you for doing your part to further the conversation…

  3. “As if, such behavior is merely talking points for rich, white, moneyed elitists and politicians to increase their hit rates, book sales etc. No one else says, or thinks these things, heavens no.”

    This line of argument drives me crazy!!! Sorry, racism isn’t just a “tool” used by the elite. They believe the mess they say. Trust! When people try to rationalize it away as a ploy, it sets me off, too! Take them at their word. A duck!

    1. Agreed. That’s real. People are kidding themselves when they say that mess, it’s merely an inconvenient truth. Thanks for stopping by! Found MHP video on your blog and was THRILLED :)

  4. Wow, Coco! That’s a good “Wow”. :) This is a damn necessary discussion, girlie! Kudos to you for kicking that door wide open!

    We’ve got to be courageous about having these discussions. Plain and simple. Let’s get a bit uncomfortable, not ugly , in order to make gains in our understanding of each other, but don’t freaking dismiss me, as if I’m blowing smoke. There just ain’t no two ways around it. Many would like to believe that we live in a post-racial era; however, it is quite the opposite. Race is more pronounced than before, given the ugly and disgusting insults hurled at President Obama, and seemingly by default, the majority of Black Americans right now. The bitterness even extends to those that are getting the shorter end of the stick and catching hell just to make it every day, as if somehow they are the problem. Somehow perhaps, their presence is too much of a visual reminder that much of their own “success” is tied to their own white skin privilege and not true talent, skill, or merit? Hmm…I’m NOT just saying. It stings me every single time, especially when the insults are largely ensconced in lies, and tinged at all edges with an overwhelming sense of entitlement and privilege.

    We’ve got to do better! Thanks Coco!

  5. Hi Sparks,

    Thanks for chiming in. Here! Here! *clears throat* I feel pretty. Ok, no lol. Your point is well taken. Adults should long be past this idea of prettying up reality as a coping method. It is akin to “masking” behavior and just as unfeasible.

    I told myself when I started this blog that I would not write about inflammatory subjects. I was afraid of being classified as a whiner, or sowing dissension. Ha! It’s funny when I think about it now because I came to the conclusion that it would not be helpful, to me least of all. Just because a subject is difficult doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have it. In truth, I have learned my life’s greatest lessons from just such discussions and thoughts :).

    Miss you :) and hope all is well.

  6. Please, please, please, don’t take this as a shameless plug for my series because it’s not meant that way at all, but when I first began writing it, I did so with the purposeful intent of using the various races and the tension between them as a vehicle to illustrate the racism and prejudices we deal with but ignore today. The orcs are modeled after the Old South for a reason, and much of my research for that came from the writings of Frederick Douglass. The wars between the various races are there for a reason. The pejoratives each race uses to describe the others are there for a reason.

    I felt as a Southern, white male, I couldn’t write about racism directly, but I knew that if I could use the backdrop of a fantasy setting, I could illustrate some of these issues in a tangible way that might open some people’s eyes to the fact that racism is not only alive and well, but thriving and spreading. And one of the central themes of the series is that the protagonists in the story have to grow beyond their ingrained prejudices to overcome the forces that have created those divisions.

    I also purposefully made one of the races of dwarves dark-skinned and created a character for that race who becomes one of the major heroes of the series because one thing I see lacking in fantasy fiction are heroic characters of dark skin. I know it’s a small step and don’t ever expect my series to end racism as we know it, but if I can reach a handful of people and open their hearts, I’ll be satisfied.

    Again, I really hope you don’t take this as a shameless plug. I just wanted to share with you, as a friend, a little insight into my personal efforts to fight the good fight.

    1. D,

      You know I know you better than that! I LOVE that and am suitably impressed :). I have been meaning to buy one, or all, of the series but since money is tight I’m holding out. Coming to know you, as I have, I look forward to reading them and knew, even without the motivation described above, that they would be substantiative, imaginative and worthwhile.

      Changing minds and hearts,one person at a time, is all we can strive for.

      Peace,

      L.

  7. You’ve got total agreement here, Coco. I love your last paragraph most because it touches on the biggest obstacle we humans have.

    So many of us refuse to stop, look, listen and think with the objective of understanding. Those of us in pain, for whatever reason, are being ignored in droves. And earnest words are being thrown at the “pretty” problems constantly because those are the ones most of us can stand to look at. It seems okay to be upset about little wrinkles at the corners of our eyes, but try to talk about getting around in a wheelchair, or with a mental illness, or without enough money to live on and an indifferent and cruel job market, or with the realitiy of racism in your face every day — and people’s eyes glaze over just before they tune out. Or they send ridiculous, ill thought-out tweets in an effort to shut someone up about their life experience because the discussion isn’t pretty.

    I’m also tired of the discussion ‘needing’ to be pretty.

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