Racist Memorabilia

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I was in an antique store yesterday looking for something that I can put a TV on, Marley my boyfriend says I need to upgrade my broken tube TV and step into the future. As I was wandering around the store I saw three booths that contained multiple handmade Mammy dolls, and immediately I felt dirty. I wondered who owned these dolls before they sat here, and why would they own these dolls in the first place? Did they belong to little girls in need of dolls? (I tried to find the least offensive picture of of these dolls). I think I actually remember my mother had one of these dolls in the 1980’s, so maybe that’s why I feel dirty. Right before I left the store, with the Mammy dolls in the far corners of my mind, I ran into a fourth booth that contained three advertisement posters depicting racist images. Two of them had little African American girls and one had an African American man on it, and all of them depicted frightening big eyed looking faces that would scare you into believing the lies that were spread about African Americans through out history. The one that depicted a man was selling toothpaste to “darkies,” and it said “It gets Their Teeth the Whitest!” I was horrified, as I stood there transfixed not being able to pull away, as the pain started welling inside my soul. I slowly walked away, just a little more damaged than I was before, and as I was leaving I vowed never to return to that store again.

Today I ran into a blogger’s post who was questioning whether or not we should destroy all racist memorabilia. She had read an article by Henry Louis Gates Jr in which he was talking about the two different schools of thought on the topic, as many African American collect this memorabilia, but also that many African Americans are rightfully hurt by the.images depicted from this memorabilia.

At first instinct I would want this racist memorabilia destroyed, but we cannot destroy it! We cannot forget our past! We cannot forgot about slavery, reconstruction, the Black codes, or segregation. We cannot forget about how African Americans were treated after the abolition of slavery. We cannot forget about the forced imprisonment of innocent men, we cannot forget about the lies and false accusations, and the subsequent lynchings. We cannot forget about how it was really the Whites who created our ghettos through refusing to give African Americans FHA loans, so that they can buy a home, and for redlining certain neighborhoods forcing African Americans into certain neighborhoods that we now call Ghettos. The list goes on and on, and these are part of all of our histories. We have to learn about it, and not hide it. Our education has been hiding the truth from us all since the beginning of time, because we live in a White Supremacist world.

My fellow blogger has experience racism when she lived in Hawaii, as Native Hawaiians are still hurt by the theft of their Island by the Whites.  I told my fellow blogger that am Irish too, but the Irish or the Whites in Hawaii have never experienced the racism that people of color, but especially the African diaspora have experienced ever since Whites set foot on their lands. The Irish, or any White person can move to a safe place, they can leave Hawaii, and they can assimilate into White culture. They have assimilated into White culture. African Americans cannot not do this, for the exact reason why they were enslaved in the first place, because of the color of their skin.

Last year I read the book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Dr. Beverly Tatum, and she says that her definition of racism states that African Americans cannot be racist, there is no such thing as reverse racism, because racism implies receiving benefits or gaining rights through the detriment of others. I am still exploring what this means to me, but I can understand her point of view and I can agree with her on many levels.  I loved this book, and I learned so much about race relations and understanding racism because of her brilliant book.

*Update: I am not sure that this definition completely covers all of the issues of racism, but I do understand how she can define it this way.

So does this mean that Native Hawaiians cannot be racist towards Whites, because it was the Whites who benefited by stealing the Island? The Native Hawaiians were robbed, starved, and then kept in poverty. What did African Americans or Native Hawaiians ever do to European Americans to deserve this treatment?  Nothing! That’s why I feel that most  European Americans are the racist ones, and then they turn around and claim reverse racism when they don’t get their way or when they are afraid of a take over.

*Update: Does reverse racism exist? I believe in many situations when some European Americans claim reverse racism they are missing so much history and truth that their claim gets lost in the fear and hate that they don’t even know the origins of where this hate came from. White people for generations have been afraid of a take over, so is this fear where some of these origins lie?

My fellow blogger as a teen was beaten at the hands of some other teens who happen to be Native Hawaiian. Hawaiians are still very angry at the theft of their Island. Is this a situation where reverse racism could be real? Does this exempt their behavior, absolutely not. No one should experience a hate crime ever.

I don’t mean to out my fellow blogger in any hurtful way, I actually appreciate that she gave me the opportunity to reflect on what she had to say, and I needed to talk about her post because she brings up many important conversations on race that I feel need to be addressed. Disclaimer: I am not an expert on racism, and I will never understand what it feels like to be a person of color, but I am trying to learn and we all need to have these conversations.

We cannot interrupt racism without education, without learning the truth, and we have to have these conversations about race and racism.

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18 thoughts on “Racist Memorabilia

  1. **WARNING IT IS A LONG POST, GET A DRINK. I apologize. I just had a lot to say**

    I appreciate that you decided to explain your view in a more thoughtful manner. A lesser person would have just flamed me without even trying to understand my mindset, where I’m coming from and why I think the way I do.

    I don’t really understand why people would choose to have racist memorabilia in their homes. I can understand and agree that museums should preserve those things but constantly viewing something painful and negative would just make me feel angry all the time. Not having those things in their home wouldn’t make them forget their past, right?

    On the subject of me being white enough to live better somewhere else… you’re absolutely right. Whites are lucky enough to…shall we say…re-assimilate?… in this country. When you’re a teenager you just feel trapped because you don’t have the legal rights to escape though. If I was an adult I would have been like “fuck this crap” and moved and that would have been it. I was there to take care of my dying grandmother.

    I’m tempted to agree with your statement: “the Irish or the Whites in Hawaii have never experienced the racism that people of color” but I also disagree.

    Perhaps, because it’s more concentrated, and a shorter time period it’s not “as bad” but there has been murders, rapes, and a bunch of other injustices too. Personally, I still have the scars on the inside of my mouth from the jumping. I feel very angry when people assume “I don’t get it” as if whites are impervious to racism. I know what it feels like, just in a different way.

    I’m not trying to compare atrocities but you have to admit it does share some similarities. I personally know what it feels like to have your soul stomped on because you look different; you’re made to pay for something you and your family had absolutely nothing to do with. You’re treated as second class citizen because of something some other assholes did. I only had to endure five years of it and it changed my life. It gave me a passion to fight it no matter who it was against. It’s ugly and it’s wrong and it will ALWAYS be wrong no matter who it’s pointed at. If I hadn’t lived there and stayed in “white suburbia” my whole life I would just know it was wrong… but having a chipped tooth, a black eye, scarring on the inside of my mouth and bruised ribs by people I barely knew (I knew them by sight from going to the school) Let’s just say It was very educational.

    I’m not going to assume that I know what it feels like for African Americans, but it’s untrue, unfair and hurtful to assume that certain whites won’t know how painful racism can be. Also, not every place is safe for a white person to move either. South Africa is a dangerous place all around…for both sides, really. One of the children I work with is from South Africa and her father (white) moved to America after his wife (also white) was murdered for racial reasons. It’s not (no pun intended) a black and white issue.

    I don’t really agree with the author of ‘Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?’ because it sounds as if she’s excusing negative behavior because of what’s happened in the past. I don’t agree because my definition of racism is mistreating a member or group of people because of race. My view is more broad, I guess.

    I also disagree with something you said:

    (and I mean no offense by this, not trying to call you out)

    “So does this mean that Native Hawaiians cannot be racist towards Whites, because it was the Whites who benefited by stealing the Island? The Native Hawaiians were robbed, starved, and then kept in poverty. What did African Americans or Native Hawaiians ever do to European Americans to deserve this treatment? Nothing! That’s why the European Americans are the racist ones, and then they turn around and claim reverse racism when they don’t get their way or when they are afraid of a take over.”

    1.) This is a blanket statement. Not every European/Descendant of Europeans participated in the slave trade. “Europeans being the racist ones” is a blanket term because it’s assuming that it is the mind set of every white person. If I can share my own family history for a second, my family came over on the “coffin ships” during the American Civil War. My great x4 grandfather had spent his life being kicked around by the British and their racism, as his father had before him and so on. When he moved here and saw how things were he joined up to fight the south. It wasn’t his fight as a foreigner but he knew wrong when he saw it. We have some interesting letters he sent to his wife. Those sort of ethics have been passed down in my family. My great grandfather was a doctor in California who gave free medical care to Native Americans on the local reservation on weekends because he felt horrible about what happened to him and wanted to help. I tell you those two stories to illustrate my point: Claiming that Europeans/whites is wrong. We don’t all think that way. The so-called grandfather clause is extremely flawed, especially since it begets more hate and resentment. As they say, two wrongs don’t make a right.

    ‘Reverse racism’ is a very real thing. Trust me, I know. I have scars to prove it. Back in the day my friend’s jaw was wired shut because of “reverse racism” so it’s safe to say he thinks it’s real as well. Even if it helps a group feel vindicated it doesn’t help mend bridges or make peace between two groups. Do we want to hate? I don’t see why people can’t look at each other as HUMANS. It’s a naive dream of mine but I want all groups of humans to regard each other as brothers. I feel that this sort of hatred is unnecessary and brings humanity down as a whole. People shouldn’t forget their history, but they should treat each person on an individual basis and then decide if they are a racist, an asshole or whatever and THEN dislike them and ONLY them. People are responsible for their own behaviors. Racism, reverse or otherwise, is harmful to society. People need to learn to be better than that. The term reverse racism gets me because it’s claiming that that sort of racism is different and somehow more okay.

    2.) I don’t know what you mean by “taking over” and why white people would feel threatened by more Africa Americans in power. Just because some racist fucks do doesn’t mean all or even most of us do. I certainly don’t know any. I’ve had bosses that were black, friends who were smarter than me who were black and so on and not once have I ever “went there”. Why should I? In my mind all people are equal and deserving of respect until an individual proves they don’t deserve it. Regardless of race you will always have pockets of people who hate other groups for ignorant reasons. It doesn’t mean hating others is okay. No one likes their own people’s stereotypes because they’re not true. That applies to white people as well.

    So here is my question(s) for you:

    1.) Am I racist because of the color of my skin, regardless of my actions? Must I endure verbal racism and harm to my person because of what some people with my skin color did or do? Don’t I have a right to individuality? Don’t I have a right to not be defined by how I look but by my actions? You do, so why not me?

    2.) If one group is victimized is it okay to hate on that entire group in return? Regardless of individuality and culture? If so, what is the logic behind that? Do two wrongs make a right?

    I’m not saying that whites as a whole have it bad. I’m not saying “poor whitey” in any sense. I’m just asking for things to be looked at realistically and with individuality. My skin doesn’t dictate my actions. I didn’t go to college because it was the white thing to do. I certainly didn’t have the money to do so. I’m 60k in debt because I was willing to take the risk. I went to school because education is important to me. I treat everyone the same because my parents raised me with a stellar set of values.

    Believe it or not there isn’t some mass e-mail from whitepower@white.com (if that actually exists I’m slitting my wrists right now) that goes out for white people that tell us what is next on the hate agenda and to remind us to get our parking validated at the next local meeting of how to keep others down. As I said, I’m passionate about this subject and the fact that I’m not taken as seriously on the issue BECAUSE I am white. It’s almost laughable because it’s RIGHT there, ya know?

    I hope this hasn’t offended you or anyone else. It wasn’t my intent. Things are just too complicated to throw around blanket terms/beliefs.

    Respectfully,

    A fellow human.

    • Hey, yes we would need to get drinks and hash this one out, as it’s very long. Let me try and address your response.

      I am thankful you are so passionate, and I am sorry that you were violently attacked. On the note of if racist memorabilia were not kept inside one’s home. You are right it wouldn’t make you forget, but it’s really more about educating the White man. He is trying to forget, and doesn’t want to remember the past or take responsibility for it.

      Again you are also right a child or teenager cannot just leave, as they are minors and need to stay with their parents, but it is the parent’s responsibility to protect their children. I understand in certain situations this just isn’t possible, but if you are White again you or your parents can make the decision to just leave and move to a “safe” place.

      Of course there is hate and violence from all parties, I am not saying because you are a person of color that you are automatically exempt from being responsible for your thoughts and actions. I am saying that you cannot compare the plight of women, homosexuals, or of the Irish to what the African diaspora has gone through, and continues to go through today. These situations of inequality do share similarities, but are the Irish still on the receiving end of hate crimes, or did they successfully assimilate into White culture? Can homosexuals hide the fact that they are gay in situations where it would be prudent to do so? Can Black people hide the fact that they have Black skin when they walk into stores, so security doesn’t follow them around, or when a Black man walks down the street and a White woman grabs her purse, or when you are driving through a black community and your mom locks the car doors? Can a Black man hide his skin color? Do you believe the lies spread that the Black male is a criminal?

      I don’t mean to be rude, and five years of experiencing hate is horrible, but you only had to endure five years. African Americans and other people of color experience it every day of their lives, because they cannot escape, they cannot move, and they cannot hide their skin color. You are right certain Whites do understand what racism can feel like, but most Whites are uneducated and blind to how racist our world really is, and how we are surrounded by White supremacy. It is bred into us from birth, our education predominantly only teaches European histories and neglects to teach us African histories and this neglect breeds hate, racism, and white superiority.

      Okay you claim that not every member of European society participated in the slave trade, while technically this is true. Reality says this is not true. Even if slaves never passed through your hands, you somehow somewhere benefited through the slave trade. Let’s use the statement that I have heard a thousand times, “My family never owned slaves, so I never benefited from this form of racism!” Okay maybe you didn’t own slaves, but picture this… it was a cartoon I saw and it was like a light bulb went off in my head: The date was around the 1930-1960’s, so the first picture was of a whiney White boy saying something similar to the quote above. The next shot was of a Black couple at the bank trying to get a FHA loan so they can buy a home, and the clerk said no sorry you don’t qualify. Then the following shot was of a White couple who successfully received their home loans. The Black couple was then forced to move into a red lined neighborhood aka the ghetto due to that was the only place where they could get someone to rent to them. The White couple moved into a pretty little White neighborhood. The Black couple struggled to find work, because no one wanted to hire “Blacks,” so now they can’t afford to send their kids to college, oh wait Blacks weren’t allowed in most schools at this time…. Which this means that they can’t find work or the only jobs they can get are low paying jobs, and now you have them set into generations of a dirty cycle of poverty that society won’t let them out of. The White couple gets work right away, and moves up the corporate ladder, sends their kids off to college, where they get great jobs and homes, and this sets them up for generations of success. So tell me again how Whites in 2013 haven’t benefitted from slavery or racism?
      I am afraid that White People are afraid of hostile take overs, why do you think they have imprisoned or enslaved the Japanese, the Jewish, the Native Americans, or the Africans. etc? You still don’t think that Whites are afraid of hostile takeovers? Tell that to the thousands of Blacks who held public office in SC from the local level to the State level during reconstruction? They were moving up in the world after the abolition of slavery, and Whites were angry, so the KKK moved in and murdered most of them. Tell that to the thousands of blacks living in Wilmington NC, where the town was predominately Black, and was running the town happily next to the Whites that were there. Again the KKK came in and murdered most of the people in the town. Tell that to the Jewish people who went through the holocaust. Tell that to African Americans who were enslaved for hundreds of years. Tell that to my mom who thinks Muslims are going to kill her and the Chinese who she thinks are trying to take over.

      1. If you aren’t actively working to fix the race problem, then you are part of the problem. Are you racist? Educate yourself about racism, and then answer that question yourself.
      2. No one should endure racism.

      Our society is run on White supremacy. Look at any magazine, TV show, Hollywood movie, and your school text books and tell me what they are teaching you? White supremacy, White faces everywhere, do they make Band-Aids for dark skin colors or just for White skin colors? Please read that book by Dr. Tatum I think you might be enlightened or at least entertained.

      Thank you for your response, because this is how we learn.

  2. I don’t think I expressed it in my wall of text but were and are are two completely different things. If it’s a white supremacist world then why are things changing with each generation? Why are more couples intermarrying. These things wouldn’t happen if whites in general were still super racist. There are enough of us that don’t think that way and agreed that it needed to change. We can’t ever undo the pain but we can go forward hand in hand. That’s the kind of future I want.

      • Of course it still exists but it’s changing. The problem is thinking in terms of “the white man” or “the black man” is that you’re creating a rift when there is already one when both sides should focus on trying to fill it. Is me “not seeing the truth” agreeing with you? That we all hate the black man? That whites as a whole thing we have a reason to? That’s not true. That’s a lie. Is it largely “our” fault that ghettos in this country exist? Yes. Is it every single white person’s fault? No. Do white people as a whole benefit from the ghettos? No. The problem here is that there is a time stasis. Calling us all racists and implying that all white people are born racist only HURTS THINGS. Do you want a good future? Of course you do. Never forget but don’t become a racist yourself (saying ‘you’ in a general term) in your pain. You say white people want to forget what they did. How can you tie a group people together like that? I only represent myself. I refuse to be judged as a ‘white’ person. I cannot take responsibility for the hatred that some asshole in Virginia does to African Americans. Believe it or not not all whites have it easy. Just like that not every black person has it bad. I live in a middle class neighborhoods and I see black families around here everyday. No one puts a burning cross on their lawn or leaves them hate mail. If you live in an area where most of the white people in your life treat you like shit then you live in the wrong place. There shouldn’t even be a white side or a black side or a purple spotted dinosaur side. We’re humans. We need to go forward together or get stuck in the past and repeat the same mistakes. Wanting a good future for both “groups” is NOT NOT NOT forgetting the past.

        “White people” aren’t trying to forget what they did. Descendants of these people don’t need to suffer for what they weren’t apart of. The grandfather clause isn’t fair and tit for tat is a game where everyone loses.You don’t punish someone for what someone else did. Making us pay for the sins of their father is racist. Why not take the high road? What are we supposed to do? Submit ourselves to slavery? Start from the bottom of the ladder? Each person is only responsible for themselves. As I said, society IS changing. We have a black president, do we not? If white people still hated blacks as much as you seem to think he never would have been made president. Things aren’t perfect yet and it’s not going to change over night. Do you really think we all believe in white supremacy and don’t want to see it change? We don’t. We don’t think we’re superior. Select people do. You can’t just group people together and say that we all think the same thing. “White people are all racists” “Black people are criminals” “Mexicans are lazy” “All Asians are good at math” as a whole they are not true so I would appreciate it if I am not thrown in with the “the white man” pile.

        Do whites have control of almost everything in America? Yes. Is it changing? Yes. Is it perfect? Far from it. Is it fair? Absolutely not. You should never compare atrocities and say that yours or theirs were better or worse. If you want to compare then do so, but make it accurate. Compare it to the plight of Native Americans, to Jews and to Cambodians. All were awful and unforgivable. Should future generations of the perpetrators be punished. Tell me, do you believe that Germans still want to annihilate the Jews and create an Arian race? If not then why is that different from what white Americans supposedly want?

        Also, what the Irish went through in their own homes for a little under a hundred years isn’t anything to sneeze at. They were starved, enslaved, beaten, raped, murdered. This happened for almost a thousand years. Most of them are moving on though. It takes effort to hate. Some people want to make that effort stay stuck in time. It’s not easy to undo hate but it is possible. It’s something you have to choose to do. Sure, I only had to endure five years and get a pretty concentrated dose but that doesn’t mean that I’m fine now. What happened to me MATTERED. What happened to me isn’t any less important than what has happened to you personally. I’m sorry if that can’t be understood. I had to WORK not to hate the people that kicked me in the ribs. I had to work to not hate the people who said “haole” with hatred. Hate, regardless of cause in life, can be overcome. It’s just extremely difficult.

        Even if your personal story is actually worse than mine you’re making light of another person’s suffering in some weird way of protecting your own pain. Why should that even happen? Isn’t it better to be compassionate of all mankind? Also, even if a white person didn’t own slaves that also doesn’t mean they benefited from it. Pretty sure the starving men and women in Europe didn’t benefit from it.

        Please don’t assume I haven’t educated myself about racism and that my eyes are closed. It’s something I’m interested in, so I have. I’ve talked to people from just about every creed about this because I wanted to understand. Here is what I learned from my multiple encounters: There are those that are so hurt they need to constantly point out how shitty “the white man is” and there are those that treat each person as an individual despite the past. The difference between what I took from my education is that I just haven’t convinced myself that hatred from any group is okay.

        I don’t pretend that everything is equal across the board. I just think people need to start working together to make a better future. The past is there to learn from. Every atrocious act in history causes a ripple effect and future generations suffer for it. But not forever. In 200 years I doubt we’ll be having these problems. Americans in general may even look at it as just another chapter in ‘ancient’ American history and then go on a date with their black girlfriend/boyfriend and no one will look twice. Maybe by then most of us will be a happy shade of ‘gray’ because we’re all so mixed. If you focus on the shitty past and dwell on what’s wrong with the present without actually doing anything about it and treating others as you want to be treated then don’t expect to progress. If you look for ugly then you’ll find ugly. If you look for beauty you’ll find beauty.

        Do I feel guilty for being a white American? Often. The bulk of American history is about us oppressing other people. We steal the land of Native Americans and nearly wipe them off the face of the earth. We fight for our freedom and then enslave Africans in a fierce hypocritical irony. We want acceptance but we persecute each new group that comes into this country, white or otherwise. Did you know that racist whites called the Irish white n-words? Check this out: http://d1xcqlxj49e9dd.cloudfront.net/wp-content/uploads/Nast01_black%2Bwhite-orig.jpg?bdeedc

        It’s not a fun legacy to have. I had nothing to do with but I understand what “we” did. But you know what? I hate racial grouping. That implies that there should be a stark difference between us other than culture/language.

        You may think that I “just don’t get it” because I don’t believe in endorsing white supremacy and am supposedly ignoring it’s existence so I don’t feel bad. Well, I’m not.I know my history and see the fallacies. I see the present ones too.

        Admitting that all white people are racist won’t make me “open my eyes”
        My eyes are open. I just look for beauty.

  3. I have been thinking about this all day, and I came to respond to you again to apologize to you, for two things: one being that I am sorry about your grandmothers health and two that Dr. Tatum’s definition does not include situations like the one you endured in Hawaii. No racial group should endure any form of bullying or violence.

    I really never meant to group any one race separately, because I believe that we are all one race. Race was created by man. Unfortunately our world does not operate by this definition. I do believe that every racial group has multiple variations of diversity within so you cannot blindly group them together. What I was doing by calling out the white race was to explain why I feel so strongly as to the fact that we are all controlled through White Supremacy. While I understand this is a bold set of word usage, and it conjurers up the KKK. I use it because people of color are still being held back in today’s society. In our education system, prison system, receiving proper health care, receiving proper jobs or even advances within the same job. While I am aware that there is a huge African American middle class now, there are still many people held back, and this is only addressing one race.

    Please lets not argue, as I never meant to hurt you. I was only trying to open up conversations, because last time I looked the majority of European-Americans are uncomfortable to talk about race and racism, and this is the only way to educate ourselves and interrupt racism within our own families. I also believe that it is up to White people to do the heavy work on this topic, we messed it up, so it’s our responsibility to clean up the mess.

    Don’t feel guilty for being White, be proud you are a strong woman, and use that energy to continue learning and to continue interrupting racism! It look a life time to learn the things you know, and it could take another lifetime to unlearn it.

    I appreciate your passions, and the hard work that you are doing to interrupt racism.

    • It’s okay. I didn’t mean to get so angry and I apologize as well. As you can imagine, because of my experiences I have a bit of a knee jerk reaction.

      There isn’t a real such thing as “race” anyway. We’re all human. The way I think of it is to look at an animal group that has many different sorts of the same animal. Take the dog, we have German Shepherds, Irish Setters, Shitzus, Gold Retrievers, Chihuahuas and so on. At the end of the day they’re all dogs. We’re European, Native American, Asian, Africa, Arabic, Polynesian and so on. We’re all still human. I like dogs better than people though.

      Unfortunately all humans are biased about things and people. Even if we’re just biased against biased people. Bias is inescapable. We’re humans though. We look different but we’re the same. What separates us more than anything else is culture and how outsiders perceive that culture. Culture is at the same time the most beautiful and ugliest thing we have developed as a species. Our cultures promote unity, bring people happiness and bring structure to their lives among other things. Culture also creates conflict. It starts wars, it keeps certain folks down and promotes ignorance of people who don’t think and talk like they do.

      Culture is extremely important, and we all have them, but I wish people would focus on being humans more. Promote a brotherhood/sisterhood based on us as a species and as custodians of this planet. Remember that we’re all animals and all human. I can’t speak for other countries but it seems that America is unique in the way that our people are members of multiple “sub-cultures” in addition to their country of origin’s culture. We’re all American so we’re influenced by that, but there is also religious culture, non-religious culture, many of us are still influenced by our ‘motherlands’, neighborhood culture, homosexual culture, and finally there is state culture. Sometimes when I go to a different state I feel like I’ve entered a different country. Some of these cultures conflict with each other.

      I’m not that offended and even though it was tense I enjoyed our conversation.

      You may be interested in another one of my blog entries. It explores the American tendency of participating in blind-patriotism; covering up certain events in president’s lives such as slave owning; and how freedom has a history of irony.

      http://seershadonnghaile.wordpress.com/2013/06/05/giver-me-liberty-or-give-me-death-cough-cough-except-for-african-americans-and-native-americans-cough-cough/

      • I enjoyed our conversations also. This was the whole reason I started this blog, so that we can learn from each other. I think that we both have important information to share, and I look forward to learning with you. I will read your blog entry while I am drinking my coffee this morning.

  4. I am so ignorant. I never realized these were called “Mammy Dolls.” I was under the impression that they were made by a mother for her daughter. As an educator I learned in one of our ethnic studies courses, that for many years a child had only one color choice in a doll, and that it was white. To me, that was/is racist.

    Fast forward…
    Recently we moved to Alabama, and I was trying to find a church home. A younger coworker invited me to visit her church. She was very enthusiastic about my coming to see what her church was like and to experience the fellowship she found there.

    A little background: In the deep south 90% or more of the Adventist churches are black congregations. In the west, near Loma Linda California, they are multicultural congregations.

    Therefore, I had felt totally comfortable to accept her invitation to accompany her to her church, a) because it is a house of God, and B) because of my experience in California in an unbiased atmosphere of worship and fellowship. In our church back home it didn’t matter who you were, what color you were, or how you were dressed, you were welcomed in with a handshake for the men and a hug for the women.

    Imagine my shock when I walked in and was not made welcome. I truly felt like an intruder. That said, in a very real, and yes, I understand “limited” way, it opened my eyes to how it feels to be not welcome by reason of color.

    So in all candor, I ask: How is this not reverse discrimination?

    • Hi Lynda,

      Sorry it took me so long to respond, but I was on vacation with my children.

      It is true that for a long time there were only European looking dolls, and therefore children of color had only one choice and all little African American girls had to carry around White dolls. I am sure many mothers did make their daughters dolls to match the image that is reflected back at them in the mirror. Unfortunately these White dolls with blue eyes did not help the self image of African American girls. There is a book The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison that goes into great detail about this experience.

      It is unfortunate that you weren’t made welcome in the church of your friend. I myself have contemplated visiting a Black church in my neighborhood. What holds me back is the very experience you had. I then tell myself that I need to put my feet in their shoes, because just imagine being Black and in many communities not being able to walk into a Black church at all, so White churches are what is left, and being the only person of color there. Also imagine walking into the grocery store or school classroom, a PTA meeting, or any public place and being the only one there. Go to the hallmark card section, or the magazine stand, or open up any textbook and be excluded from the faces present.

      We live in a world that is very mixed up, and very much still geared to White supremacy. I haven’t been in a doll section recently, as I have boys. I wonder how many African American dolls are present? What about Native American, Chinese, Latina? Unfortunately White dolls are still the majority.

      To answer your question ” How is this not reverse discrimination?”

      On the surface I would say that your experience was discrimination, but to dig deeper and I might be of the school of thought that believes that Blacks can’t be racist, because they have never advanced in life through the detriment of another race. (This belief is still under examination). That they have been excluded from every aspect of life, and in many cases they still are. Jim Crow laws and segregation have been the origin of Black churches in the South, because they deserve to Worship too. BET came in to existence so that African Americans can have a positive image reflected back at them, because TV and Hollywood keeps putting Blacks in the stereotypical box which is mostly negative if they are present at all. Turn on your TV now, how many Black faces do you see clicking through the channels? That they have a right to be angry, and without the angry few advancement in certain areas wouldn’t have happened.

      Should people be rude and mean? No, there is no excuse for that.

      Should you have the right to go to a black church, and be welcomed? Yes, I feel you have the right, but if we all joined Black churches then they wouldn’t be the private safe sanctuary that African Americans need to get out of the racist world for one hour a week.

      Will I eventually go to a Black church? Yes I probably will, and I will endure the stares,the rudeness, and the exclusion? Yes, because it is only fair to share in that legacy too.

      Should you go back to that church or another Black church? Only if you feel that is the right church for you.

      Thank you for your comment!

    • It is not reverse discrimination because, according to your story, no one beat you up for being there, lynched you for being there, or tried to create ways for you never to be able to walk into that building at all.

      I think it is very important in our discussions of race to use specific language to describe things because the topic is multifaceted and overlaps. Discrimination is an action that is taken against a person. Racism is a perception or perspective.

      So I’m sure your next question would be was what you experienced reverse racism. Again I would say no. I say no because I don’t think there is a such thing as “reverse racism.” The entire concept is propaganda used to excuse racists from taking reonsibility for their beliefs. How does one reverse racism? Wouldn’t that mean that the racist becomes un-racist? And not the person who is the victim of racism being turned into a villain because they are angry and responding to the racist actions that have been taken against them. I do believe that Black people can be racist; however, we have to be careful to distinguish between racism and anger and self-defense.

      When situations such as the one you encountered happen (especially when it is in the south) it must be understood that these individuals have experiences and have been taught that historically that white are dangerous to their well-being. This isn’t because they are White, this is because they have seen it and the cost has been freedom, civil liberties, and even life. With stakes that high it is only logical to be defensive or guarded. All too often people want to say ‘oh that was decades ago. It isn’t like that now’ or ‘I shouldn’t be punished for what my ancestors did.’ We HAVE to go back that far because that’s where it started and it has never been 100% corrected. The trauma spills down through generations and creates a cycle that, in my opinion, can only be stopped when we all (as a society) take responsibility for the tragedy and horrors of our own history. Also, it’s not about punishing anyone, it’s about making this undertaking as vital to White Americans as it is to Blacks because White people are the majority when it comes to power and influence in this country.

      • “So I’m sure your next question would be was what you experienced reverse racism. Again I would say no. I say no because I don’t think there is a such thing as “reverse racism.” The entire concept is propaganda used to excuse racists from taking reonsibility for their beliefs.”

        THANK YOU!

  5. Memorabilia-I love African American (BLACK) history. I enjoy going to museums, and reading books and watching movies about black people before my time. You are right that these things should no be destroyed. That is the problem with a lot of the negative things my people (black people) do. Some of our negative actions in this world are due to lack of knowledge of our history. We were never taught our history, just the history THE MAN wanted us to know. It might hurt initially looking at racist memorabilia, but I would have bought the Mammy dolls, the posters and all because our people don’t get a chance to see it. It brings about hurtful feelings, and memories, but it’s great to talk about and understand, and move forward from.

    Racism- As I commented on another post (white guilt) that I too read that book “Why are all the black…” I understand why the author defines the term the way she does, but I disagree with there not being reverse racism. I think of racism as hatred towards another race, stereotyping and being prejudice towards someone because of their skin color.

    On another note: I enjoy reading your posts and will be following and reading your blog often!

    • Thank you for your comments, and I am sorry it has take me awhile to get back to you. My summer has been very busy, but when Autumn comes back around I will be back online learning all that I can and sharing my thoughts. Thank you again.

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