Most Whites Only Acknowledge Racism in Hindsight

A Collective Love Jones

EVER SEEN A MAN in love?  A man in love is a man who let things go and let things be.

I remember the look on a guy’s face when he was in love with a woman; it’s the look of “oh I adore you,” or “look at you, you’re so beautiful babe.”  I also remember the look on his face when she was belligerent towards others, impolite, malicious to people, or otherwise wrong somewhere.

The reason why I bring this up, is because the look on that guy’s face when the one he loves does something wrong unequivocally parallels how most white people in America handles racism:  “Yeah she’s wrong, but I’m going to say and do nothing because she’s my wife bro.”

When you bring facts, statistical analysis, scholarly socio-psychological studies that totally proves the point; look at their faces.  Look at their attitudes.  The denial of this problem mirrors a man in love with a perpetually criminal woman.  I know what you are thinking… “did he just imply most white people love racism as if it’s a metaphorical loving relationship?”  That was not my intent, but studies have shown to not be in one’s favor to argue against it; it’s been proven that when the smoking majority whites as a collective learn something is racist against non-whites (blacks specifically) learning said facts will strengthen their resolve to KEEP the racist policy/institution/practice in place.  I shit you not.


Measures of Distance

Interestingly, white people have no problem identifying American racism perpetuated by whites when there’s a specific distance between the said white person and the racism at hand.

One measure of distance is time.

The majority of White people today will totally own the fact that white people were — and enjoyed — racism towards blacks if you were to mention the 1960’s, 1950’s, American Slavery, or any time prior to the Civil Rights era.  Interestingly, white people of that time didn’t know they were racist, didn’t understand what was “all the marching for”, and totally believed that there’s no issue with how schooling and housing was segregated.  White people, at the time, were TOTALLY OBLIVIOUS to how racism works and how racism effects a mass of people.  While we all can agree that the 1854 slaver was racist in 2014, that slaver in the year of 1854 was totally oblivious to the concept of racism, which was a concept that didn’t cause America to self-reflect until World War II. If white people can see racism with a 50 year hindsight for example, maybe 50 years from now the majority of whites would realize how racist America is towards blacks by the time of publishing of this article.

Another measure of distance is space.

White northerners in Apartheid America were more than happy to point towards the Southern United States when it came to the racism question.  Before Jim Crow hostilities were televised to show the entire world how appalling the behavior of whites were, northern whites knew in the abstract sense that southern whites were more racist than they were.  Northerners were totally aware of slavery and its after-effects, the failure of the Reconstruction Era and how it was thwarted by southerners, the KKK, and Jim Crow.  Strange enough, there’s two main instances in history that tore this distancing apart:

1. Martin Luther King’s realization.  Dr. King was in shock by the violent reactions of whites when he marched north into Chicago.  After getting struck with a stone to the head from peacefully marching, Dr. King commented, “I have seen many demonstrations in the South, but I have never seen anything so hostile and so hateful as I’ve seen here today.” 

2. George Wallace’s American realization.  After George Wallace’s political grandstanding of attempting to uphold segregated schooling, he received letters from all over the United States, north and south, in support of his racist sentiment.  “They all hate black people, all of them.  They’re all afraid, all of them.  Great God!  That’s it!  They’re all Southern!  The whole United States is Southern!”  Here, you see George Wallace — a dixiecrat politician — proclaimed “they are all Southern” as if South is the definition of racist, completely shocked that the north is capable of enjoying white supremacy.

One person wishes to break the back of segregation. The other opted to maintain it.  Both men realized that white supremacy is nation-wide.  It’s easy to point in a direction in the distance to claim folks FAR from where you are were racist.  Back to the World War II reference, it was incredibly easy to point across the Atlantic Ocean and realize Adolf Hitler was a racist.  It was unfortunate that a person had to attempt to exterminate an entire ethnic group to make scholars consider what racism is.  If scholars were objective and examined what took place in America with the natives and blacks hundreds of years prior, perhaps Hitler may have never happened.

The last measure of distance is visible behavior.

The overwhelming majority of white people WILL point to racism in modern times when a person behaves with an “act of malice” behavior towards blacks.  Overt racism is the #1 thing that whites will point out as a problem.  Donald Sterling, Janelle Ambrosia… people like these?  Yes, the smoking majority of white people will agree that these people are racists.  The problem here is that white people are more than happy to maintain the false standard that this is the only form of racism.  Whites generally think “racism isn’t a big problem” in America because they go by the “act of malice” standard, which means that a person must have a highly visible, almost cartoonish style of a conscious act of malice.  Practically, a person has to be an incompetent, bumbling 1990’s cartoon villain to be called out by whites.  When the “act of malice” standard is considered the ONLY standard at which racism manifests, it means that they are not intellectually honest in their attempt (as a collective) to combat racism as a whole.  What most white people don’t get (unless, they are simply playing stupid) is that racism is largely subconscious and only when you are AWARE of that fact, can you do something about it.  When something subconsciously guides people to a specific behavior, such as faster trigger fingers towards black people, infinitely thinking black people are “suspicious” or inherently criminal… it should be questioned.  The problem here is that white denial of racism at its subconscious core prevents discussion, thus defends racism (passively or aggressively) where it stands.

What can be done?

This is the tough part.  I’ll need help with this.  The first thing that can be done is to educate the willing of all ethnic groups of the issue at hand.  If I were to assign a specific target, I’d say other white people because it’s a known fact that whites empathize with whites more.  White people as a mass collective don’t generally don’t listen to black people concerning racism… but if you educate a few white folks who are willing they will eventually talk to other whites… and those racism-denial whites will not be capable of ignoring them in the same way they ignore blacks… because they cannot use the same racial excuses or their racial biases to not listen.  The second thing to do is record EVERYTHING that takes place concerning police officer’s conduct with nonwhites… and whites, to provide the contrast in difference.  While it’s a catch phrase that “the revolution will not be televised”, technically it really was.  The Civil Rights movement made great use of video recordings of appalling behaviors of Apartheid America.  So yes, record everything.  Lobby for a nation-wide standard for police to wear cameras and always have dash-cams.  Politicians mostly make themselves to be useless, but contact them.  Instead of apathy, at least give them the space to observe or deny the issue at hand, with analog/digital proof that you’ve emailed, contact these leaders and hold them specifically accountable.

The distance was closed before.  The change was painful to many.  But being that it was done before, it can be done again.

*I use the term “whites” profusely to describe those whom I speak of.  This blanket term is applicable to all that apply, especially black conservatives whom exhibit the same behavior.

*Words like “most” denote the fact that I’m not saying 100% of whites fit the bill. There are simply more whites who deny racism in it’s existence than those who are aware of it and does something about it. Yes, MOST whites prefer to distance themselves from honest racism discussions.

Photo Credit: Johnny Silvercloud

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