Thursday, August 4, 2011

Where TALA meets reality

I wasn't going to discuss this whole flap about black babies being happier in slavery, but well, I haven't posted something in a while.

As the article states, this isn't just about the fact that conservatives and others have a disturbing misunderstanding about how slavery actually worked. That's actually not surprising since most white folks actively avoid reading any book that deals with this country's past racism against black people, and do their best to scrub the books they're forced to read of any such references. See the recent flap over Huck Finn and the word "nigger" for more proof.

But, as the author notes, it's the more serious attempt to "soften" this country's past that is bothersome. Not just because a failure to accurately relate the past makes it much more difficult to fight against the lingering effects of that injustice, but because it provides handy dandy protection for modern racism.

See, black folks know what's up. At least most of us do. We know when white folks talk about taking their country back, or state's rights, or reverse racism that what they are really saying is that they are tired of all these rules preventing them from keeping niggers in line and they want to be freed of these recent shackles. We know that while the attacks on President Obama may have some policy roots, they are also clearly connected to his race and the fact that many white folks can't stand to have a black man as the president. Period.

But, what white folks know is that if they can provide just enough camoflauge for their racism, if they can muddy the waters even slightly, then their fellow white folks will leap through hoops to protect them from accusations of bigotry. By distorting history, they provide the cover for spreading bigotry and discrimination today. It's devious.

It's also just another symptom of what I like to call TALA, or Taking A Loss Aversion. In the black vernacular, you "take a loss" when you readily accept the negative consequences of your actions because you understand that your actions were wrong, stupid or crass. It's a certain stoicism that is hard for many people to develop, but it is essential, in my opinion, to the development of good character.

Way too many white people develop TALA when it comes to this country's racial history. I just read this article about a white guy who has argued that the genocide against Native Americans was perfectly justified because indigenous people were "morally disqualified" from having this country. When white people took the land from the Indians, their argument was that Native Americans weren't using it right, and they were being selfish because they had more than they needed. Yes, I'm being completely serious.

Hell, most black folks have heard a variety of arguments about slavery and Jim Crow that shift the blame for these horrendous periods in American history away from white folks, and often on to the victims. Who hasn't heard the argument that black folks are better off here than in Africa? (This argument tends to ignore the reality that white folks effed up Africa too.) When white folks were actively enslaving black people a popular argument was that we lacked the ability to function on our own so we forced them to put us in chains.

Sadly, these arguments are all examples of TALA. Instead of just stepping up and admitting they and their ancestors were wrong, and dealing with the consequences, white folks have worked as hard as they can to shift and minimize blame. Their TALA is so severe that they are forced to invent the most ludicrous explanations and rationalizations for the past, to the point that they look like raving idiots.

Normally, this sort of illness would just be cause for pity, but seeing as how white people still control most of the resources in the country, wield most of the political power and are entrenched in those positions for the foreseeable future, it's a serious concern.

Their TALA is messing with my life, and it's probably messing with yours.



Imhotep said...

White supremacy now extends to the world of mammals? The narcissism knows no bounds, neither does the ignorance or hate filled heart.

The practitioners of white supremacy don’t see the need to take a loss. No need to admit to any wrong doing, cause none was done. Those hands soaked in human blood, does not trouble the conscience. Lies can be used to justify the lust for blood. The stolen lands (continents) along with stolen treasures and resources are passed down from generation to generation without any compunction. That's a legacy only the devil could embrace.

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