Monday, July 7, 2008

Who Are These People?

I made a post a while back about a young white guy who was picked up by the FBI for burning a cross in one of his neighbors' yards. If you didn't see it, scroll down the page until you see Bitch Please, Redux.

As I noted in the post, the boy's mother insisted that he wasn't a racist, and to buttress her point she pulled out the old stand-by excuse that the young fella had "black friends." We've all heard that one before.

Anyway, this weekend I read over that woman's comments again, and also checked out what some of y'all wrote on the subject. It got me thinking about a post I wrote a whille back about the different definitions that white people and black people have for friends.

I want to go revisit that concept because of something said by The Uppity Negro in his comments. See, I can actually understand how an average white person might be confused about whether the average black person is their friend. Y'all may laugh and joke at work, occasionally share a sandwich and generally have a cordial relationship. It's easy to mistake that kind of interaction for friendship, particularly if you're looking for a way to increase your minority friend count with the least amount of effort.

But, in the case of somebody who burns crosses, I wonder exactly what type of black person is associating with them enough to give them the impression that they have black friends.

WNG said that there are racists at her job who would probably call her a friend, although she despises them. However, I would wager that WNG's racist co-workers have never done anything that rises to the level of cross burning because if they had, I have no doubt that she would have made sure they never called her friend again.

Cross burning is one step below lynching in my book. If you're bold enough to set fire to cross in my front yard with a bunch of friends, I'd wager that you and those same friends would drag me from my home or car and string me up given half a reason.

tSome of y'all may think I'm going to far, but let's be clear, this isn't some crazy idea created in the mind of a black radical. No, this is a carefully reasoned opinion based on historical fact. Throughout history, burning crosses have served as racial fire alarms for black folks; we know that gunshots and night riders are never far behind that lovely lawn ornament.

The type of white person who engages in cross burning has such an overriding dislike for black people that even the most assimilated Negro would have a hard time being comfortable around them. That type of loathing seeps from your pores and forms a "hatred blackhead" that is damn near impossible to miss.

How blind would a black person have to be to miss those feelings and go out to the local pub for a beer with Mr. or Mrs. Cross Burner? Ward Connerly blind? Shelby Steele blind?

It really is amazing to me that this cross burner's mother felt comfortable saying that he has black friends. In fact, the woman's comments are a sad commentary on the self-hatred that is still all too prevalent in the black community because she had to have seen her son socialize with some black person to reach that conclusion.

That any of us would willingly associate with someone who shared these sort of views, or the views held by Pat Buchanan and other less violent racists, really disturbs me. It shows the "sickness" in us is full-blown; that the infection is putrid. I see it when Fox News trots out their pet Negroes, and I see it on inner city streets when I watch certain black folks interact with each other. It seems like some of us dislike ourselves so much that this cross burner's feelings don't even bother us.

Shit, there was probably some black person nodding along to every hateful word cross burner spewed because that Negro was convinced that he/she was a different sort of black person.

I really wish I could slap the stupid out of them.


WNG said...


Now that I've got that out of my system... I know that my coworkers wouldn't even consider themsleves to be racist and would probably be hurt that I consider them so.
I agree with you that there are levels and that a cross burning is only one short step away from a lynching. It is an inherently violent act and takes a symbol of forgiveness and love and turns it into a symbol of hate.
It is not funny EVER and you have to be a special kind of stupid to believe it to be a joke among friends.
As for the self-hatred I don't know what we can do about it except love our children - all of our children and support them. And call it out when we see it.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, I do think with some of the younger generation there is a level of self-hate that could possibly allow a young Black kid to be friends with a racist.

I have a teenage son, and while I have tried my best to instill the facts of life as a Black man in him, the younger set IMO still thinks that things are different today. After all they are watching crap like MTV and BET so it seems like things are ok racially.

Living in Maine, I have come across a lot of Black folks who live here, who I swear move here because they don't want to be Black so Maine allows them to assimilate into white culture on some level. Of course a loud mouth sista like me living here, screws it up for them. LOL Like you I wish I could some slap some sense into them.

Big Man said...


Now you raised an interesting point. I know mant black people who move around lots of white people do so because white people typically live in areas with better schools and other amenities. However, it stands to reason that there are some self-hating black people who move to white neighborhoods because without any black folks around it's much easier for them to assimilate. That's an interesting idea.

Also, sometimes I feel sorry for this younger generation. they only understand racism, or try to understand it when something bad happens to them.

WNG said...

'Also, sometimes I feel sorry for this younger generation. they only understand racism, or try to understand it when something bad happens to them.'

That's a double edged sword, Big Man. How do we keep our history alive and pass the truth on to our children without passing all of the negative emotions and feelings of inadequacy on as well?
My parent worked really hard and risked their lives so that I would have th right to vote, so that hearing someone hurl the N word at me would be a rare event, so that I could live where I wanted and not be afraid - and for many, many other things.
I don't understand racism in the visceral way they do. I have never had a gun pressed to my head in a voting booth.
At the same time I was raised in the history of this country and my people and I know the truth about where we are and where we were.
I hope that the next generation will have even less visceral knowledge of racism than I do, but I pray that they have the same grasp of history and I will work to ensure that they do.

Kit (Keep It Trill) said...

Found your blog and love this post! It's sooo on point about the friendship thing and the FoxNews pet Negroes.

I hate race traitors with a passion. It blew me when I saw a 'biracial' journalist with Hannity, who was thanking his stupid ass and calling him 'my friend' for giving them the Rev. Wright story. Bitches like him set us up and set us back every time they they open their mouths and try to get paid.

Great blog. I'll be back to read your other stuff soon.


~ Kit

Big Man said...


I'm going to add your blog as soon as blogger stops tripping. Sometimes I hate blogger.

the uppity negro said...

Blah, blah, blah, I'm back from my East Coast tour--tune into UNN for the WHOLE plethora of blog notes to come.

Field Negro wrote almost exclusively about this black cuple he knew/saw at some Fourth bbq and they were slightly oncerned because their black son, I guess 16 or so was hanging out with white girls...DUH! most of the commenters were saying DUH as the family had moved into a lily white suburb

I still think the cross-burning type of white folk is over the line...especially since the incident took place down south. Evne in rural areas, my cousins( who are my REAL blood cousins, from Mississippi and the Acadiana part of Louisiana) may have white friends, but they are quite aware of racial dynamics that take place even in small towns.

Just ask the black folk of Jena, Louisiana.

Be that as it may, I think that the mother was telling a bald-faced lie about her son having black friends because it sounded good for the reporters who very well could have been reporting a lynching had it been a few decades ago.

Another case in point--I think black people need to get a lil more instestinal fortitude and have the race conversation with their white counterparts---be they friends or otherwise. Too often we FEEL forced (because of job security or what not) to not offend the sensibilities of whitey. Like when my host mother said "hip hop comes from the prison culture" I REALLY had to hold my tongue and tell her that she was just as wrong as those who thought that Jesse Helms died and "went to a better place."

Just during this trip, with the youth group out in Philly, the site coordinator had a skit and he played an old man--named Uncle Tom.

Well, you know what I thought.

So later in our individual groups, I simply explained the history of Uncle Tom...they all knew Harriet Beecher Stow, but didn't remotely have a clue about the contemporary understanding of that nomenclature...I would daresay that a good number of blacks wouldn't explain that for daring to offend the sensibilities of whitey.

I mean, what does BGM tell her son, I guess to the best of her ability tell her son to think critically about the situation--particularly about race.

Or slide him some Cornell West or Michael Eric Dyson books for Christmas or his birthday.

Raving Black Lunatic