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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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.

Cheerios and an Interracial Couple

I love this commercial! It depicts a beautiful young family, and a little girl who loves her daddy. This family just happens to be Interracial, and apparently there are thousands of people out there who have a problem with that. Cheerios has made an insightful commercial that represents real families out there, and I give them a standing ovation for realizing this, and for showing the world that we need positive representation too.  Unfortunately they had to shut down the comment section of their YouTube post due to racial slurs, and a out cry of disgust for a White woman and her Black husband making a beautiful child together. Biracial children are the fastest growing population in the United States today, and here is an article stating that there were about 4.2 million biracial children in America in 2011. Interracial families aren’t going anywhere, and we are able to have a happy and healthy family too. African American men have faced serious opposition from ignorant White folks for too many generations, but because of this they are some of the strongest men out there. These men also make great husbands and fathers, so I disagree with all of the people who claim that African American men just make babies and disappear; in the words of president Obama “that simply is not true.”

*Update

I found this article today and wanted to share it with you all, because it states that “According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the number of people reporting that they are of two or more races reached 9 million during the 2010 U.S. census, a 32 percent increase from 2000 to 2010.”

Ramarley Graham’s Mother

This post is inspired by Ramarley Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm.

People never give up!

Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you cannot do something! If there is a deep need or desire welling in the pit of your belly and you must let it out, let it out! If I listened to people’s opinions I wouldn’t be here today writing this blog. My soul screamed out that I needed to talk. I needed someone to listen. I needed to educated myself on race and racism, and anyone else who wanted to listen to my perceptions and thoughts. I live in a society predominated by global White supremacy, and while I am blessed to have a diverse group of friends in race and religion, most of them are of European descent. When I talk about race and inequality people clam up, people ignore me, and people outright oppose my need to express myself on these topics. Yes I feel fear, but I can’t let it stop me. I continuously remind myself of why I am doing this, and if you don’t understand then you don’t have to listen.

Ramarley Graham’s mother Constance Malcolm is torn from her own soul, because her child is dead and she is in pain and she is angry. I read in the paper this morning that the judge in the Ramarley Graham’s case threw out the indictment on the cop that murdered her son. She was ready to take her fight to the street and protest if necessary, but her family was opposed to her doing it. Frank Graham, Ramarley Graham’s father, might be opposed to taking it to the street, but he is not opposed to fighting for his son, for justice, and to put the cold murder in prison.

Why do people give up the fight so easily? Why are people so opposed to step out of their comfort zone and making a scene?  This is just life after all, and unless you believe in reincarnation you only have one life.  Why sit on the sidelines? We all need to jump in and either sink or swim, but if you don’t jump in you will never feel the cool waters of success on your skin. You will never have the satisfaction that you did it, and that you didn’t give up.

I am a mother, and I can feel the pain inside me, I can feel her loss, and I know that she isn’t going to give up. She will fight, and I won’t be on the sidelines just watching. I will be there in soul, and I will do my part from where I am, signing petitions and advocating that her son’s murderer Richard Haste will be held responsible.

How could Richard Haste think that a teenage boy had a gun? The article didn’t mention what happened before he chased this kid into his own home and shot him in cold blood in his bathroom in front of his younger brother and grandmother. There is something fishy with this story. If it looks like fish and smells like fish, then it’s probably a fish.

The United States needs to lose this image that an African-American teenage male is a criminal simply because of the color of his skin. African-American children are just children, and should not automatically assumed to be up to no good. This cop murdered this child. This cop murdered this child, because he thought he had a gun? Why did he think he had a gun, because he is black? Right, all black men carry guns, I forgot this is North America and we have to protect ourselves from cops.

http://abclocal.go.com/wabc/story?section=news/local/new_york&id=9103401

Slavery Is Not in Vogue

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/aamna-aqeel-be-my-slave-shoot-fashion-racism-_n_3268648.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular

I am sorry the fashion designer Aamna Aquul and her Be My Slave fashion shoot is not making a statement against child labor. This is in fact promoting child labor, child pornography  and children in slavery.  Does she live under a rock? Doesn’t she know that slavery is not a thing of the past that there are thousands of people being kept in captivity today as slaves? I think this fashion shoot is a disgusting way to capitalize and exploit this child from the African diaspora. Read the article or look at the photos and decide for yourself.

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