We are all ingrained with racism and anti-blackness from the time we are babies. While I will not, in my white ass opinion ass opinion, deny that other races are ingrained with this as well, I will not speak about that as it is not my right to do so. I am here today to discuss how all white people raised in America are racist.
Yes, it is a blanket statement or generalization. No, I’m not going to change that.
White people think as individuals. Overwhelmingly, we think this way and that is problematic when trying to conquer racism. We think, “Well -I’m- not racist, I don’t say the N-word and I don’t like the KKK” and that we are then exempt from racism and we can sit back and say that racism does not exist anymore because “myself” and “my friends” also don’t use that word or like the KKK.” In doing that, we are disturbingly wrong and atrociously continuing the myth that those two requirements are the only requirements for not involving ourselves in racism and for not continuing our racial history. If you think this way, you are wrong. You still are ingrained with very subtle, very casual racism that you are still capable of displaying and exhibiting.
Here’s what happened: During the era of Jim Crow, we whites were running around, calling black people “colored” and lynching black people, pouring acid in swimming pools of black people and burning down black communities. It was a time of very outward, blatant racism that we displayed and yes, I say -we. This is -our- history of racial terror in the United States. Us. Ours. Our grandparents, grand aunts, uncles, cousins, etc all had a hand in that. Go further up a generation as well, to your great ancestors. I don’t care. Bottom line is, if your family lived here before 1960, they lived here under Jim Crow laws. Jim Crow laws took place between 1870 and 1960. Yes, almost a damn century of that fuckery. There is no way to trace your ancestry to see if your family had any partaking in Jim Crow. Since you’d have to trace each individual member of your family and likely, if they did commit any lynchings under Jim Crow, there would be no record anyways because the law stated they were right in doing so. It’s safe to assume, however, that at least one (although, likely more) of your family members attended a lynching, saw one, heard about one, etc and did nothing to stop it and furthermore, did nothing to change the laws. It follows that your family believed that the laws of the time, stating that black people were 3/5ths human, were all right, fine and dandy. This ideology does not just go away over time. It was handed down.
For most of us, it seems it was watered down substantially. No longer were our family members all in agreement that black people were less human than us. There was a shift in how they said it, and how it was demonstrated. We started utilizing other tactics, such as erasure. You had numerous white families start telling themselves and their children that it is better to just not see race at all. White families started raising their children under this ideology. It is not a good ideology for a variety of reasons. First, you have the erasure of other people’s culture that comes along with it. If you do not see race, you will not see their culture. You then expect everyone to follow -yours-. It is just another manifestation of white supremacy. If you’re not seeing race, how are you seeing your own and why are you thinking all of your “culture” and “traditions” are the default? This attempt to sweep racism under the rug actually only furthered it.
White families started telling each other that white supremacists wear white hoods, and that as long as you’re not wearing a hood, or associating with Uncle Brad who does wear one, you’re not a white supremacist or supporting white supremacy. This set in white minds a new standard and idea of what it means to be racist or have any hand in racism and white supremacy. These thoughts and ideas are still rampant today. My generation is hell bent that if they have 2 black friends, had at least 3 black people attend their school, don’t wear white hoods and don’t talk about race, that they are not racist at all. That is not the case. If anything, it makes you racist and hypocritical. You “don’t see race” until you bring up your “black friends”? Really?
We think on such an individual level that it is dangerous, and moronic. Yeah, I said it. We are the only race in America with the luxury of being treated by our system as individuals. We are the only race in America that is separated by class. It’s very clear during election time. You hear about “the black vote” the “latino vote” but not the white vote because the white vote is not only the default, but the only one divided by class. “Middle class” “lower class”.
If those classes included other races, we wouldn’t need to talk about the “black vote” or the “latino vote”.
It is very clear that when race goes unmentioned, it is because the race we’re talking about is the white race, which is the default race in our country.
So, yes. All white people raised in America are instilled with this idea that we are the default, we are the go-to, we are the norm. That, my friends, is upholding white supremacy. Every time we say “I don’t see race”, we are contributing to white supremacy, as well as willful blindness to racism.
We see it everywhere, as well. We as white people are largely represented, in ads, on TV, in movies, in history books, in our communities, as well as in our government, and as well as in businesses. Other races are exposed to this as well. The difference?
For white people, it doesn’t stop when we get home. Growing up, if I was at a black friend’s house they were exposed to black literature, black TV, music… all these things that could counteract all of the whiteness they had to deal with at school. When I took myself to my white friends’ homes? The opposite. Just a continuation of whiteness at home.
There’s an exception to -every- rule, yes. I see why you don’t want me to use my blanket statement of “all white people raised in America are racist.” Blanket terms can be scary. I use this specific phrase because it is accurate. Every white person is raised this way. We have varying degrees. In example, my mother also embraced black TV, movies, literature, and did not shield us from learning our real history of racial terror. However, I still came out of there saying “I didn’t own slaves!,” as though that exempted me from our racial history. I still locked car doors when black people walked by, even though my mother had taken me down to Chicora-Cherokee to walk around to learn that black people were not inherently dangerous (likely because she also told me “better safe than sorry”).
– Have said “I’m not racist” and even “I’m not racist, BUT”
– Used to make “house negro” jokes with my family
– Used to say things like “you’re not -really- black, though!”
– Have said “My family never owned slaves!” “We were slaves”
I’ve even reached my mayo colored hand out and touched black people’s hair- as recently as last year.
I’ve said, and done some causal racist, uber ignorant, Becky Crow Jr stuff.
I’ve also examined all of that, took the claps to my face, shut up and -listened- to what was actually being said to me. I dropped my defense and woke up. All white people raised in America are racist.
Having woken up does not make me better than anyone. I should’ve been awake to it, but I wasn’t. It shouldn’t have taken me some 27 years of my life, being told what I’ve been told, seen what I’ve seen, exposed to what I’ve been exposed to, to see the truth of this country, my white history, the racism in even my own words and in-actions, and to see the role I was playing in continuing the problem. It did, because we’re so ingrained and indoctrinated with it that it takes a lot for us to see it. All white people raised in America are racist.
Furthermore, because of this heavy indoctrination, it is never going to be over. We will have to continue to check ourselves everyday, with every word we speak and every thing we expose our children to, to ensure we are not continuing this saga anymore.
I’m not perfect. I’m still going to swerve and am still capable of displaying the ingrained racism that has been instilled in me my whole life. This is the key to why I will no longer say “I’m not racist.” We have to commit ourselves to -listening- when we are called out on our mistakes, and solemnly swear to not let ourselves repeat those same mistakes, because those mistakes can cause lives to be lost through so many different ways. Those same mistakes can hurt the very people that we claim we care about. It’s not about doing what might gain you friends, what might get you pats on the back or about being commended. It’s about stopping all of this now so that children can stop losing their lives and so that children don’t lose their friends to racial disparities and racism. It’s so that women and men today can make ends meet and take care of themselves and theirs. It’s so that the people can live in peace and have any shot at prosperity.
THAT is what it is about and in order to do that, we white people need to shut up, look at ourselves with utter honesty and brutal examination so that we can check ourselves, check each other and get to work uplifting our black sisters and brothers on their journey and fight for liberation, instead of continuing to stand in their way and hold them back.
All white people raised in America are racist.
We have two options:
– Ignore all of it and continue perpetuating the problems
– See it exactly how it is, fight against it and
STAND UP TO IT
Sitting by repeating “I’m not racist” does nothing to change racism, so why are you still sitting?