White Fear

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White fear is another consequence of racism and is related to White guilt. This is a post of my unpacking my past and my privilege, so hold on tight it might get a little bumpy.

They are claiming that we live in a post-race society, and racism doesn’t exist anymore, so therefore we do not need the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They have already struck down Section 4 of the Voting Rights Act, so now the nine most racist states can effectively make changes to their voting laws without permission, and you can read an article about it here.

We have a Black president, and he was elected twice, so we can’t possibly be racist still,  right? The ignorance of this statement is mind blowing, and I have heard it too many times. If racism did’t exist then we wouldn’t have had chairs lynched from trees through out the entire election process. Also they wouldn’t have made Obama show proof of his birth certificate. I feel that many hidden aspects of racism were exposed, because of the election of Obama and yet people are exhaling and cheering yay! We aren’t racist anymore! Hurrah!

What I want to know is how can White America be so blind? I understand that some of it has to due with the fact that if you are raised a certain way and these ways are passed down generation after generation then you just believe by default. This is how White America can move through life blind to the fact that other races are invisible in their day to day lives. We aren’t affected by it, so we don’t see it, we don’t feel it, and we don’t feel out of place or neglected in the media or in our work or school systems. We aren’t held back through the education system, or in the work place, and unless you are a woman, we aren’t paid less money for the same job. We know our history, because it is taught to us in schools, and some of us have very *long documented family trees.

(*Side note: Although I have recently found that I only have my lineage documented on my paternal grandmother’s side to go back seven to eight generations, the other three grandparents are only documented for four to five generations. Which might have something to do with my DNA results that just came in this week. I should have this update in my White Guilt post, but I am updating it here instead. My results say that I am Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, German, Polish…all of which I knew about, but the new information is that I am also Mediterranean of unknown country, Lebanese, North African, and Sub-Saharan African. This is probably why we thought we had Native American ancestry).

Is it White blindness, White guilt, or White fear that makes American’s feel or believe that racism doesn’t exist anymore? We know racism is wrong, so we do everything in our control to be “colorblind,” and we pretend that there is no racism, we don’t talk about it, and we hush our children when ever they notice it, so if we just pretend long enough that it doesn’t exist, and believe it will just disappear or that it will eventually become reality. I believe that this is just more lies that we tell ourselves to make ourselves feel better. I believe that keeping quiet is part of the problem. People of color talk about race and racism inside their homes, but White people do not, as they believe if we don’t talk about it, it will just go away. Not talking about it is creating mystery or prolonging the lies, so not talking about it is creating racism. I believe the best way to raise a racist child is to not talk about race or racism inside your homes.

If you are White you aren’t racially profiled, and you aren’t randomly stopped and frisked by the police. You are free to wander around retail stores without being followed by security. If you are a White man women don’t grab their purses close to their body when you walk by.  These are common occurrences for my African-American boyfriend, and many other people of color. One day I was in a public bathroom in a downtown establishment while on a date with him, and a very young White girl walked in while I was washing my hands. She asked an Older White woman who walked in ahead of her if she could wait for her, and walk out with her, then she said that there was a gentleman waiting outside the bathroom and she didn’t feel safe. The older woman said yes of course. I finished drying my hands, and as I was exiting the bathroom it finally dawned on me that she could be referring to my boyfriend. Fear washed over me as I walked down the long corridor to the benches outside the restrooms. When I reached the end of the hall my boyfriend was the only one there, and pain then washed over me and I actually started shaking. He then noticed that something was wrong, so I told him what just occurred. By the time I reached my senses I went back to confront this child, but she was already gone.

If you are White **Cops don’t pull you over while driving, and they don’t drive through your neighborhoods looking to fill their quotas. **This link is an informative post by a fellow blogger, and her experiences with the police, and it is a must read.

One of the legacies of racism and a story of my past: I remember driving with my parents as a child, we traveled a lot, and if we happened to get lost and drive through a Black neighborhood my mother would automatically lock the doors. This is so incredibly damaging to all involved. One, that the African American men standing on the street could hear the doors locking, and I can’t imagine what this pain feels like. Two, that as a young child it was ingrained in me that African American men were dangerous. I have struggled with this fear all of my life. I knew it was wrong from a very young age, but every time I am confronted with it it rears it’s ugly head. I have to consciously remind myself that these fears are irrational. I basically just hand my purse over now every time I cross the path of a Black man. Not literally of course, but it’s sort of a knee jerk reaction that I loosen up and sort of hold out my arm towards them. Is this over compensating? Yes probably, but my brain has to start somewhere. This is the result of the racism I grew up with, but am I racist? No, I am not, because I am aware of the discrimination and the racism in my family, and I am actively educating myself, and reprogramming my brain to believe the truth, and not the lies that I grew up with and the lies that our society pushes on us on a daily basis through the media and our education system.

We are all affected by racism, and no one is excluded from the damage that racism causes.

Racism still exists, and we need the Voting Rights act of 1965 just as much now as we did in 1965. Racism hasn’t diminished; it just has a different face than it did 50 years ago or even 150 years ago.

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10 thoughts on “White Fear

  1. Your writing is always so honest, open and clear. I acknowledge your struggle with coming to terms with racism, and I appreciate you sharing your Journey – much more than you can ever know, and I can ever express. What you are doing is real and world and paradigm changing. I got your back.

  2. We (America) have to keep talking about racism until we can get rid of it. It cannot be ignored. I come across many people of other races as well as people of African descent that act as if we should stop speaking about this! It amazes me every time! Awareness is key. This marks the 150 year since the Emancipation Proclamation was discovered and celebrated by slaves (Juneteenth). African Americans were in bondage for nearly 465 years in this country… what now? Where do we go? What do we do? … the answer is definitely not to get over it.

    Peace and love,

    Queen Duafe

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