Thursday, May 5, 2011

What I See


There are a lot of white people trying to make this whole race thing better.

I just want to make it clear that I understand that fact. These are folks who could live their lives tightly cocooned within the comforting folks of white supremacy and probably have things a lot easier. Instead, they are trying their best to change the world and confront wrong ideas. I respect and appreciate their efforts.

But sometimes, y'all get on my nerves. (And I'm not picking on you Mi Grant, and I hope you stay around.)

Mr. Goff in the above link seems like a smart guy. And I'm sure there were many black folks who read his comments and nodded their heads at his advice. Sadly, I was not one of them. When I read his words my first thought was "Does this dude live in America?"

See, it's all fine and dandy to want to concentrate on incarceration rates instead of playing Guess Who's a Racist? It sounds wonderful to say you want to eliminate the achievement gap instead of pondering whether Donald Trump uses the word "nigger" when he gets angry at black folks. (My vote is "yes.") But, it's really hard to actually put those ideas into practice. You know why? Because racism is real!

That's right, racists do still exist.

That's important because the education issue, the poverty issue and prison issue are all intertwined with the race issue. They are not separate stand alone topics to be digested at leisure. They are all part of the same foetid mess. Racism is what has caused those problems and is a key component in maintaining their existence. The idea of white supremacy and the systems created to further that idea are why non-white folks get shafted with no vaseline each and every day.

The fact that Gross and his supporters don't see this fact can be quite disillusioning for a black man like me. It's even more bothersome that Gross decides to tell us what he'd rather discuss instead of race and who is a racist. That smacks of a certain arrogance. It's not like Gross is just expressing a preference, it's almost like he's telling us poor backwards peons what's really important, and smugly instructing us to get on board.

Black folks know what's real. We know that throughout this country's history, black people have embraced the self-improvement tenets espoused by folks as varied as Booker T. Washington, Carter G. Woodson and Malcolm X. We know that we've built businesses, built communities and built power. And we've watched as racists have casually demolished all of those things in the name of racism, and scoffed at our pleas to leave race out of the discussion. We know this because this is American history.

Racism trumps rules. You can't encourage people to solve problems for folks they view as inferior beings. Sure, they may dispense a little charity, give a few handouts, but there is no way you are going to convince racists to make the wholescale structural changes needed to correct past wrongs and ensure a just future. That doesn't happen with racists. They aren't interested in that plan.

So yes, identifying racists and racism is still a priority because black folks deserve to be able to point out our enemies and say "You don't want this to work. No matter how you pretend, no matter what promises you make, you don't want this to work." Otherwise, we're wasting our time and energy with folks who are just waiting for the best moment to slip a shiv in the hollow of our backs.

That's what I see.


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3 comments:

Blaque Ink said...

The more you try to ignore a deep cut, the worse it gets. Racism is a deep cut, and racists are the blades that made the cut.

MiGrant said...

@Big Man — You do know Goff is black, right?

Big Man said...

I had no idea. Lol. That comment didn't seem like the comment any thinking black man would make, but I've been proven wrong.

Raving Black Lunatic