EVERY ONE OF US has a bit of an activist in our blood. It’s the truth – the onyx truth – being that we as Afro-Americans are experts at the art of expression, and this manifest in many forms, to include activism. Now, when it comes to the subject of racism, there are many schools of approach to this. Some are better than others, definitely. Let’s get one thing straight; I’m from the school of thought where our white cousins MUST be included in the dialogue. Why? Because this isn’t an “us versus them” dichotomy. We are all in this together, and like it or not, our nation will include us both. In my opinion, It serves no purpose preaching to the choir; we as Afro-Americans extensively KNOW racism. It is, or damn well should be, a survival mechanism which allows us to, you know, not get shot by someone who suffers from afrophobia. Afrophobia… that’s going to be a future article.
So, with that being said, I began to notice that there are shields that are preventing white people from, simply listening to blacks. This list of concerns stated here is pretty much my observation of white people concerning subjects of race in America as a whole. (Note: When I say “white people” on this, I’m not stating every single one on the planet. I’m generally speaking on those that it may concern, that fit the bill. Thanks.) I call this list, The Four Fears. These should be viewed as obstructions, and the point of this is that if you can understand what the obstruction is, you can then move it out the way (or aid the person to do so) to better get to where you are going, which would be in this case helping white people understand racism… because if they continue to not understand how race relations works, they will continue to do dumb stuff like, kill young black males on trigger-finger reflex, or go blackface in a Halloween costume, or say something stupid, etc. So, let me begin…
1] FEAR of merely talking about it. Think about it: when is it the right time for a white person to talk about racism? To a white person, there’s NO SUCH THING as the right time to talk about it. Ever. And even after that. If you bring the subject of race, you will be accused of “race baiting”, which is a term white folks created to deflect and walk away from any meaningful dialogue concerning. Interestingly, the attitude that “race isn’t an issue” is same attitude they had in Jim Crow era. This is the first level of fear. Needless to say, DENIAL is the #1 platform to speak from regarding race relations selected by white people; rejecting all discussion only serves to protect this mechanism. This is the distinct reason why I challenge one to educate white people the reality of racism as a whole.
2] FEAR of losing items in society they used to be able to take for granted. This is the fear of losing the residual cultural image control that they have long owned. Number two is true of the people for whom number one is true.
Here’s an experiment: take a bunch of kids, of all colors all over the world, and task them to draw a local national kid, and then draw an American kid. Honest to gawd, nine times out of ten the kid will draw a blonde blue-eyed American kid. But the bigger truth is technically they could have drawn the local kid twice. This is because of America’s residual cultural image being, currently, white.
The fear? The poster in their child’s room may not look like them; more likely to be Jay-Z or Beyonce. “A black president from Hawaii? With a non-Anglo-Saxon name? What is this? I want my president to ride a horse, wear cowboy shit!”
In short, white people are beginning to realize that, they don’t necessarily define what it means to be American anymore; others can. And will. And this will drive many of them insane. White defaultness is a core reality in America. When they say things along the lines of “taking America back” and crap, that’s what they mean… Taking it back to Leave It to Beaver, where blonde white kids all wish to be cowboys and blacks and others ethnic groups had a nonexistent residual cultural image.
3] FEAR of amalgamation. This is where sex comes in. The president, anti-amalgamation laws of the past, interracial dating now… mixing races of black and white scares the living shit out of them. This explains the knee-jerk response to matters such as… a mere Cheerios commercial. This hurts them so bad, they totally DENY the fact that it exists (read: birther conspiracy). They actually fear that someday, America may look like Brazil. This slides into…
4] …FEAR of becoming a minority, American style. And yes… this is a big one. One part of this fear is the fear that “they will do to us what we did to them”. That one’s scary, and interesting because if that’s a point, then that denotes a COGNITIVE UNDERSTANDING OF THE BULLSHIT WE GO THROUGH that they flat out deny (white racism denial) on a daily basis. The profiling, the police exaggerated violence, the prison industrial complex, etc. When these cats say this, they know. Another part of this fear is overall losing the socio-economic advantages of white privilege. In other words, actually fear having to compete on an even scale. But that minority bit, is huge.
This is the reason why they scooped up other white ethnicities into the white conglomerate; Italian, Irish. This is also the reason why adopting Russian babies and children was such a big deal; minorities have a higher birthrate than they do. This is my take.
Now, in becoming the minority, which is said to take place in 2050 or so (I have my doubts) either two things can happen:
A] They realize that black people aren’t so different, bleed and breathe air, and come to a common ground and realization that, we ain’t going anywhere and we MUST live together and run this nation as one, or;
B] Become more wingnut, more zealot and xenophobic (afrophobic), grab more guns, wall up their communities and get Zimmerman’d up on a us versus them mentality that seems to be a cornerstone of right wing media.
I fear it’s going to be the latter. I hope that if that were to take place, the majority would see the logic and necessity of all of us coexisting, and work together (finally). But… Looking around, I have my doubts. The positive group is more silent than the other. And that’s The Bigger Picture.
photo credit: Thomas Hawk