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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Q.u.e.e.n

I needed to have a little Janelle Monae and Erykah Badu this morning! It’s funny I saw someone else post this song this morning also, so I contemplated not posting it, but it was in my drafts, so I decided to post it anyways. 🙂

I love this song and the video, because it’s sexy, artistic, and smart. I love Erykah Badu, and because of this song I have officially been introduced to Janelle Monae’s music, and I think I really like some of it.  Q.u.e.e.n. is fun to dance to and it has a powerful message, so you can’t get much better than this. This song was actually a private conversation between Janelle and Erykah, so I am happy they decided to share it with us. I also needed to break up the energy of my posts, because the next post that comes out will be similar to the last one. I am going on vacation to take the boy’s to Grandma’s house, Yay!, so it might be little while before i can post it, but it is in the think tank. Fingers crossed.

The end of this song is so powerful, and it poetically describes some of the struggles of African American’s, and other people of color. The truth is there are more White people selling dope, the drugs and the lies.The message is clear, and the booty don’t lie.

“I asked a question like this

“Are we a lost generation of our people?
Add us to equations but they’ll never make us equal.
She who writes the movie owns the script and the sequel.
So why ain’t the stealing of my rights made illegal?
They keep us underground working hard for the greedy,
But when it’s time pay they turn around and call us needy.
My crown too heavy like the Queen Nefertiti
Gimme back my pyramid, I’m trying to free Kansas City.
Mixing masterminds like your name Bernie Grundman.
Well I’m gonna keep leading like a young Harriet Tubman
You can take my wings but I’m still goin’ fly
And even when you edit me the booty don’t lie
Yeah, keep singing and I’mma keep writing songs
I’m tired of Marvin asking me, “What’s Going On?
March to the streets ‘cuz I’m willing and I’m able
Categorize me, I defy every label
And while you’re selling dope, we’re gonna keep selling hope
We rising up now, you gotta deal you gotta cope
Will you be electric sheep?
Electric ladies, will you sleep?
Or will you preach?”” ~ Queen Lyrics

White Guilt?

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This picture can be enlarged if you can’t see it, so just click on it. If you are unsure of what to say visit the Unfair Campaign.

*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.

Day at the Zoo

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I wanted to let you know how our day at the zoo went, and to catch any of you up who haven’t read previous entries in my saga. I am in an interracial relationship, and I am a European-American woman and my boyfriend, lets call him *Marley, is African-American. I have two children who are also European-American.  We have been dating for fourteen months now, but he has never met my children. We have decide to move our relationship  to the next level and have the big introduction, so they can get to know each other.

Picture this: it was a fine spring day, the weather was beautiful, and it was 82 degrees and sunny. This is a day like no other, a day out with my African-American boyfriend and my European-American children. We had to drive one hour to get to the zoo, but first we had to pick up the boys from their fathers house. I thought to myself that this was going to be interesting, but it turned out to be completely uneventful! They boys were exited for the zoo, and they had been looking forward to meeting Marley.  The EX on the other hand was not excited, but he was polite, so that’s really all that matters right now. We piled into the vehicle, and headed to the gas station, to get gas and refreshments. We have now been on the road for close to an hour, it’s lunch time, so we stopped for Mexican food. We had a fun lunch together laughing and joking around. I was so please that our time together was going so smoothly, and i really couldn’t have asked for a better start to this adventure!

We arrived at the zoo in good spirits, and Marley was out to spoil my children, because we hadn’t even payed our entrance fees when he is buying them slushies. I see the love in their eyes already, because who doesn’t like to be spoiled! Slushies, elephants, tigers, multiple species of monkeys and apes then soda and cotton candy. Whew! You would think that we would be ready to crash, but no we went to the playground next and Marley and I sat and watched the boys play while we reflected on the day so far. Then we piled back into the car, but not to head home, we had more fun to be had! We decided to take the boys to the skate park, because my oldest is a skater, and then we got take out for dinner and went home to finally crash!

I expected people to stare, but I really didn’t notice much of it at all. We saw many interracial couples out with their children, and it was quite beautiful if you ask me. Marley and the children had never spent any time together before, and they had only communicated over the phone. My kids have never met a boyfriend of mine before either, so the day could have been a disaster! We had an amazing time, it was awesome, and it went better than we could have ever imagined. Every one was happy through out the whole day, and my kids and Marley really liked each other, and they can’t wait to see and spend more time together! I am truly blessed!

*Marley: I was going to say that I named my boyfriend Marley, because I think that he looks like one of Bob Marley’s children, but this would not be true. He doesn’t look anything like any of the Marley children, except for the fact that he has long Locs, and he is way more beautiful. He doesn’t smoke pot, he rides a bike, he likes to kayak, and he plays the bass.  I choose the name Marley, because Bob Marley was biracial, and I felt it was symbolic of our interracial love.   

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.”

Slavery by Another Name

Slavery-By-Another-Name-620x480 I needed to write about the documentary Slavery by Another Name which was based on Douglas Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize winning book. This documentary was one of my first introductions to African-American history, and it is an important part of all of our histories, and we cannot close our eyes to it and we cannot forget it. We have to always remember where we came from, so that we can heal ourselves and heal the future. It was difficult for me to sit in a classroom setting and watch this documentary being surrounded by mostly White students fifteen to twenty years younger than me, and it was eye opening and painful to watch. For weeks I  kept retelling the story and reliving the experience to anyone who would listen, and I even made reference to this documentary in my essay Racism from 1865 to 2013. I will never be the same after watching this documentary. My eyes are finally open, and I will never be the same again period.

Slavery by Another Name is a retelling of our history in The United States, and it’s apart of our history that is not public knowledge, at least it wasn’t for me.  It has taught me that since the very first day that African-American men were given their “freedom” in 1865 with the abolition of slavery that they were doomed to hold the racial stereotype of criminal every where they went. From the false accusations of being rapists and then lynched from the nearest tree to being ripped from the streets and falsely accused of criminal acts and thrown into jail just because of the color of his skin. This documentary tells the story of how African-American men were rounded up on false accusations and thrown into prison, and put to work in conditions worse than what was experienced through slavery on the plantations. The reality was that he could be picked up for standing on a street corner, charged with vagrancy, and then sentenced to six months in prison, put to work in the mines or on the rail road through the convict-leasing system, and be dead in five months. He was disposable because White supremacist laws could rule that they can just go out and pick up another Black man any time they wanted and put him to  work.  Slavery did not end in 1865, because it was continued through the convict-leasing system, share cropping, and the debt peonage system. This became a lucrative business for the United States, and continued until the 1940’s.

Is it still continuing today? Look at our present prison system, the mass incarceration of African American males, “the war on drugs,” and the present state of the convict leasing system. “Wisconsin has started a convict leasing system in their state, and they are so excited that they are saving tax payers money.  Many companies and businesses are relying on convict labor for making military uniforms and McDonald’s uniforms, and also IBM, Dell, Motorola, Compaq, Honeywell, Revlon, Boeing, Microsoft, Chevron, Eddie Bauer, Victoria’s Secret, Kmart and JC Penney all use convict labor.”  Does anybody have more information on the convict leasing system in Wisconsin or any where else?

A good documentary on the “war on drugs” or the mass incarceration of African American men is: The House I Live In, PBS isn’t showing it anymore, but I have seen it showing on On Demand and Netflix will be getting it soon.

Knowledge is power.