White Guilt?

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*Warning, this is an emotional post please read at your own risk.

What is White guilt?

I don’t know what White guilt is, but I do know that it is a different experience for different people. I don’t feel that I carry White guilt anymore, but yes I did at one time, and more on that later. I am proud of my Irish, English, Scottish, Welsh, German, Polish, and 22-25% of *inconclusive heritage. Unfortunately I was raised in a household without too many customs relating back to any one culture. I feel a deep loss because of this, but its probably because we are so muddled with different European bloodlines that there is not really one culture that could dominate in my family. Some people think I look Native American, but I was raised in a European-American household, and when I was born my mother swore I wasn’t hers because she thought that I belonged to the Native American woman who was sharing a hospital room with my mother. My mother looks Native American too. My father had to swear up and down that I was indeed my mother’s baby.

*My sister took a DNA test and it came back with strange results, so I went to a better company, and I am waiting impatiently for my DNA testing to return to me to find out what the missing link is… maybe it’s Russian or maybe it’s not?

White guilt, the feeling that you don’t like the fact that you are of European American decent, because of all of the capitalistic exploitation and colonization that Europe has done throughout the 1800’s and throughout the ages. The destruction and underdevelopment of Africa, Asia, and Latin America then and still today.

Enter the United States, and you find death and hate here too with the destruction of Native Americans, the theft of their lands and then forcing them onto reservations. The toxic diseased filled blankets given on purpose as gifts to the indigenous peoples of America. The “Indian” Schools to beat the savage out of them so they become civilized, and the displacement and feeling a sense of not belonging anywhere as a result of these schools. The gifts of alcohol that the effects still ravage many tribes, and the trail of tears, etc.

Slavery brings it’s own horrors and degradation of the African diaspora. The theft of Africans from their motherland from the 1500’s to 1865, and the toxic and tortuous middle passage from Africa to the States that many did not survive. The breeding factories in Virginia and elsewhere to make more slaves to sell. The theft of identity, of family, and of culture. The torture and rape that all slaves had to endure to scare them into staying on the plantations. The selling of wives, husbands, and of children right in front of you, and there was nothing that you could do to stop it.  

Reconstruction and the lies that were being spread about African Americans, lies of raping White women and then the subsequent lynchings. The lies that African American men were criminals and devils. The debt peonage, the convict leasing system, and share cropping that kept African Americans in slavery until the 1940’s. The Black codes or Jim Crow Laws that led to segregation, voting restrictions, and not being able to serve on a jury. The creation of the KKK, and the horrors of burning, bombings, hangings, etc

The refusal to give home loans and the creation of ghettos. The mass incarceration of African American men, and the destruction of many families as a result. School policies that push children into dropping out of school or being expelled for minor infractions, and the subsequent school to prison pipeline. The state of health care, and the state of health of people of color due to high stress racism. The fact that many people of color today are invisible, and the only time you see them in the media is just reinforcing racist stereotypical lies that have been spread for generations. Racial profiling, racial fear, and the damage to people of color because if it.

I could make a post of each one of these topics, because those are not exhaustive lists, but I don’t think I could stomach or relive the details of these horrible events as I typed it out. Yes, one has a *right to feel White guilt, and as a young child I had a bad case of it. It became worse when I turned nineteen and dated a militant Black male whom I think was really out to destroy me to express the hate that he felt inside. He had me reading all kinds of literature at the time that made me hate white people, or actually just hate myself. I endured all sorts of emotional abuse from this man which lasted about six months, and thankfully I had the strength to get out and run far away from him. It took many years to regain my sense of self and reclaim my European heritage of which I am now proud of, because what else can I do I can’t change my skin color.

**Update *While it is true we may have the right to feel guilt, because it is our right to live our lives anyway we feel we need too. I strongly feel that this guilt is negative energy, and we would be better off finding a way to educate ourselves about race and racism, and claiming our own ethnic identities instead of feeling guilty about what our ancestors did.  If you aren’t part of the solution; then you are part of the problem. We can’t just say that racism is wrong, and that we aren’t racist, and then turn around and sit idly by hoping someone else will clean up the problem. I believe that if you see racism and don’t say anything, then you are just as guilty as the active racist. For example, if you know a person of color or a person of a different sex at your employment who works hard, but is getting paid less than you, then it is your responsibility to demand that you get paid equally. Whether she/he gets a raise, or you take a pay cut. Its called equality, and fighting for the rights of all man or women kind.

Last year I read the book Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria? by Dr. Beverly Tatum. This book has enlighten me on so many different levels about race relations and racism. She has taught me that I as a European American woman that I need to claim my ethnic heritage, and be proud of who I am, because until I can do that I cannot learn and understand the plight of so many people of color in our world. That I won’t see the truth, and I cannot interrupt the racism inside my own family until I claim my ethnicity and understand who I am.

I don’t hate White people, and I don’t think that they are bad people or stupid people, but I do feel that many of them are lost. I can’t save them, but I can save myself. I am educating myself, learning, listening, and I am talking to anyone who will listen.

Communication and talking about the real subjects on race, race relations, and the state of racism today is only one step into interrupting racism, but it is one BIG step forward. The hidden subtle forms of racism today that completely hide themselves from most White people. The Unfair Campaign claims that it is hard for a white person to see racism. I agree with this statement, but unfortunately when I stated it out loud to a young White male at my University he immediately went into defense mode and claimed that the statement was unfair and it claims that White people aren’t capable of understanding or seeing racism. I wanted to say, but many White people don’t or can’t, but I couldn’t say this, because there are only so many conversations you can have with someone who isn’t willing to really listen.

I know who I am, I am working hard to see the truth, and I won’t stop till I reach my goals.

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.

Petition for Assata Shakur

http://www.blackyouthproject.com/2013/05/petition-president-obama-remove-assata-shakur-from-the-fbis-most-wanted-terrorists-list/

Please sign this Petition to remove Assata Shakur off of the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list.

Assata Shakur is the first woman to be put on the FBI’s most wanted terrorists list. The facts are that this is a 40 year old case. She was wrongly and falsely accused. A white police officer shot her and killed her two companions in 1973, a police officer also died… I don’t have all of the details. I do know that she was also shot, and during her stay in the hospital she was tied to a bed an tortured. She was accused of shooting them all and put in prison.She was sentenced to a men’s prison. She is innocent, and the police records prove it. She had her hands in the air, and no gun powder was found on her hands. With the help of a few friends she was able to escape prison, and has been living in exile in Cuba ever since.

Does our government have nothing better to do than harass this innocent woman?

In light of this information I have decided to add Assata An Autobiography to my summer reading list.

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The New Jim Crow

This book The New Jim Crow is on my summer reading list, and I ordered it last week. I have been doing some research on the mass incarceration of African Americans and Latinos for some time now, and this book keeps coming up to the forefront.

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