So Let it be Written, So Let it be Done!

April 5, 2008

Racism in our America

Filed under: blogging,kamakula,politics,rant — kamakula @ 12:43 pm
Tags: ,

So many people, specifically white Americans (yeah, I called you out) for various reasons believe that racism doesn’t exist. Or that it should no longer matter. That they are far removed from the actions of their ancestors. It is impressive how ignorant they profess to be on this matter. Yet it doesn’t take a degree in sociology, economics, or some other field to see that racism still exists and is still fundamentally affecting life in the USA today.

Now, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve taken great umbrage at some of the words of Pat Buchanan. Here is an excerpt from his blog – a response to Barak Obama’s speech on race:

What is wrong with Barack’s prognosis and Barack’s cure?

Only this. It is the same old con, the same old shakedown that black hustlers have been running since the Kerner Commission blamed the riots in Harlem, Watts, Newark, Detroit and a hundred other cities on, as Nixon put it, “everybody but the rioters themselves.”

Was “white racism” really responsible for those black men looting auto dealerships and liquor stories, and burning down their own communities, as Otto Kerner said — that liberal icon until the feds put him away for bribery.

Barack says we need to have a conversation about race in America.

Fair enough. But this time, it has to be a two-way conversation. White America needs to be heard from, not just lectured to.

This time, the Silent Majority needs to have its convictions, grievances and demands heard. And among them are these:

First, America has been the best country on earth for black folks. It was here that 600,000 black people, brought from Africa in slave ships, grew into a community of 40 million, were introduced to Christian salvation, and reached the greatest levels of freedom and prosperity blacks have ever known.

Wright ought to go down on his knees and thank God he is an American.

Second, no people anywhere has done more to lift up blacks than white Americans. Untold trillions have been spent since the ’60s on welfare, food stamps, rent supplements, Section 8 housing, Pell grants, student loans, legal services, Medicaid, Earned Income Tax Credits and poverty programs designed to bring the African-American community into the mainstream.

Governments, businesses and colleges have engaged in discrimination against white folks — with affirmative action, contract set-asides and quotas — to advance black applicants over white applicants.

Churches, foundations, civic groups, schools and individuals all over America have donated time and money to support soup kitchens, adult education, day care, retirement and nursing homes for blacks.

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

Barack talks about new “ladders of opportunity” for blacks.

Let him go to Altoona and Johnstown, and ask the white kids in Catholic schools how many were visited lately by Ivy League recruiters handing out scholarships for “deserving” white kids.

Is white America really responsible for the fact that the crime and incarceration rates for African-Americans are seven times those of white America? Is it really white America’s fault that illegitimacy in the African-American community has hit 70 percent and the black dropout rate from high schools in some cities has reached 50 percent?

Is that the fault of white America or, first and foremost, a failure of the black community itself?

As for racism, its ugliest manifestation is in interracial crime, and especially interracial crimes of violence. Is Barack Obama aware that while white criminals choose black victims 3 percent of the time, black criminals choose white victims 45 percent of the time?

Is Barack aware that black-on-white rapes are 100 times more common than the reverse, that black-on-white robberies were 139 times as common in the first three years of this decade as the reverse?

We have all heard ad nauseam from the Rev. Al about Tawana Brawley, the Duke rape case and Jena. And all turned out to be hoaxes. But about the epidemic of black assaults on whites that are real, we hear nothing.

Sorry, Barack, some of us have heard it all before, about 40 years and 40 trillion tax dollars ago.

The biggest thing that gets me, despite the blatant ignorance that permeates the rest of his blog post and even just the amount I quoted is the following:

We hear the grievances. Where is the gratitude?

The gratitude? The WHAT? You are telling me that I should be grateful to whites for working to give me HUMAN RIGHTS. For working to give me EQUAL RIGHTS. For working to correct a country, a culture that systematically dehumanized, terrorized, and demoralized my people. I thought I was BORN with human rights? I thought that was a fundamental property of being human. There is NO REASON I should be thanking anyone for giving me those rights. Why in the world should I have to thank white people for treating me as an equal? Why in the world should I have to thank white people for treating me as a human being? Why in the world would you even THINK this?

Now, one conclusion is that Pat Buchanan thinks that white people somehow OWN equality and civil rights and have been doling them out to blacks. No Pat. No. That kind of thinking is racist. Yeah people, racism is not just about calling black people “nigger” or talking casually about lynching Tiger Woods, or designating drinking fountains specifically for blacks. It’s also about thinking that whites have a monopoly on the things that the founders of this country supposedly believed belonged to everyone. That they codified, among many different words, as life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When you start thinking that I should be grateful to you for giving me these things, then it suggests you think you’re somehow better than me. That something about yourself gives you a greater claim to ownership of these properties, so much so that you had to break off a little piece for poor old me.

In talking with other people about this, I’ve started to think that the face of racism is changing in this country. White people of my generation think that because they don’t use the word “nigger” or that it has become prevalent in usage in parts of our society, because they don’t dislike someone soley because of the color of their skin, because they went to school with me, they think racism doesn’t exist or is no longer a factor. They think they are removed from the affects of slavery, jim crow laws, the state of our union up to and past the passage of the civil rights act barely half a century ago. Just addressing all of these things can take forever. . . luckily, other people have started on this.

So, here is a link to bitchphd’s post on this topic:

http://bitchphd.blogspot.com/2008/04/legacy.html

This post will also serve as a point for me to refer people whenever I hear things like this coming from them. I know that my people (Americans) perish for a lack of knowledge. As bitchphd points out, you can be well-meaning in your actions and it still be racist. I understand that many people say and think the way they do because that’s how they grew up. Without exposure to any other view points, without any real discussion of history and how that can affect things, without them having to raise children of their own and think about providing for those kids futures, and establishing a legacy for their families, they have no idea how all of this can contribute to still stifling a segment of society.

Now, I’m not saying this should be an excuse. I’m a firm believer in challenging the status quo and fighting for your dreams and ambitions, regardless of the odds stacked against you. However, perhaps I’m among a unique set of individuals, or perhaps it was the combination of that, my parent’s expectations of me, my churches expectations of me, the model I was expected to set from an early age for not only my siblings, but also all the younger children in my church and community, my love of reading that exposed me to a wide world of ideas and stories where young children always fought against the odds to become great detectives, or take care of their siblings, or become mystical heros, that it NEVER occurred to me there was any option other than success. However, I know, because I went to school and church with many people in different situations, that not every child had the opportunities that I had, that even as a CHILD, already saw the lack of progress in their families, their communities, and had already “figured out” that it was going nowhere for them. I think this is the thing that most white people (at least those that I’ve had any discussions on race – which likely greatly skews the sample population) don’t get. For them, their childhood was much like that of mine. Their parent’s insulated them from potential failure and instilled in them the notion that they were unique, special, smart, and destined to do great things.

Anyway, read bitchphd’s post . . . I’m probably going to buy this book sometime soon: http://www.amazon.com/Shape-River-William-G-Bowen/dp/0691002746. I don’t usually buy books – I’m a borrower, but sometimes you need to own one, either to support the work someone has done (like me buying Jon Stewart’s – America, A Citizen’s Guide to Democracy Inaction) or in this case, a book that I can read and loan (mostly loan) to other people.

Ooh. . I cannot help myself Pat. How can crime be a failure of any one community? Crime is not committed in a vacuum. As you yourself points out, there is black on black, white on black, and black on white crime (there is also white on white too). The black community yes, needs to step up to work at keeping blacks out of jails. . . but so does the rest of the country. There is a concept that you politicians bandy about when its convenient but clearly don’t understand. The adage “it takes a village to raise a child” does not mean it takes a black village to raise a black child. This entire country must be focused on the kind of work that uplifts everyone. As Obama said, and as some clearly realized when they put the pen to affirmative action programs, our country is strongest when everyone is at their best. At this point, blacks and other minorities are still struggling, achieving and working at lower levels compared to their white counterparts. If you like to pretend that it’s because of some defect in the black, latino, or some other community, and has nothing to do with the current and past policies of the country at large, you’re just burying your head in the sand!

I need to stop this and get to work. . . oh and listen to Eminem’s White America.

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