I’m not a white man, I’m a white woman. A few Black men used to tell me that white women and Black men shared a common victimization. They claimed that Black women were freer than both of us.
I was never sure that I bought that argument, and I certainly don’t buy that I share an equality of victimization with Black men or women.
But it does give me a certain empathy that comes easier for me than perhaps to the white male.
In my professional working days, I dated a number of police officers. A few were regular beat cops, a couple were Sergeants. I called a number of detectives and even one Deputy Chief good friends. Since this all occurred in one of the larger metropolitan forces in America, I think I know of what I speak.
Given that all this happened in Detroit, Michigan, once the “murder capital” wherein I worked with and under a list of rather well-known African-American police/ judges/politicians, I speak with some small knowledge of the realities of both crime and racism in America.
We are in the grips of a series of well-publicized incidents wherein Black folks have been killed by white police officers. This has happened in myriads of places, among forces that are more or less bigoted toward their policing communities. The evidence (1) or more properly, the allegations are all over the place. Some cases “seem” more clear-cut than others. People who are favorable to the police in one case are not necessarily favorable in other cases.
Whatever the truth may be in any case, there is a strong and clear perception that the system has failed the African-American community in large part. One example will suffice. Studies suggest that where marijuana is concerned, people use it pretty much in an equal amount racially. In fact, in some years, whites out use marijuana. Yet when you examine arrest rates, Blacks are arrested at stunningly higher rates. A look at the incarceration rates across the country speaks to the same conclusion.
Blacks are targeted. This has always been the case, and it continues to be the case. All the explanations and arguments cannot dissuade this conclusion no matter how hard people try. Deflections to “blacks commit more crimes against blacks than anybody else” are convenient diversions but nothing else. African-American parents teach their boys at an early age a whole series of behaviors in public that are required of them that are unthinkable to a white parent. Walking and driving while black is a real concept.
During my time practicing law, it was not unusual to be told by a client, “the police rolled up on us, stopped us, and said, ‘what are you doing in THIS neighborhood?'” No such thing is asked of a white kid.
The insensitivity to race in this country is stunning and shocking. The Right-wing continues to claim that we are a post racial country. And of course this is understandable when you are busily trying to dismantle government support systems, deny people the right to vote, and otherwise diluting the influence of dark skins in the decision-making process. Suddenly we don’t need to feed the hungry because they are poor and victimized by an unfair system that revolves around poor schools, lack of transportation choices, injustice in the courts, and so forth, but rather because they are “lazy” and have not learned the values of hard work and sacrifice that all good white children learn.
The point is there is a vested interest on the part of the Right to negate racism in America. Their champions become those handful of Negroes who crave the limelight and are willing to dance Bojangles tunes in return for being patted on the head and “considered” a real presidential candidate. African-Americans who stand up and declare the unfairness (as well as well-meaning liberals) are just “playing the race card”
Go to any right-wing blog, and read the comments. I regularly post “humor” pieces consisting of nothing but verbatim comments by people on topics of racial injustice. The same sick and ugly remarks pervade the hundreds that are posted.
Yet, I am daily told that I am the problem. I fail to understand the dangerous jobs our police people are doing, against criminals who are armed to the teeth. I fail to have any balance. I am always “playing the race card.”
Yes, I play it, because it fairly cries out to be played. This country is still ugly racist and you, Right wing, prove it every single day.
Here is a list of what is considered racist:
- I’m not a racist. Well, you probably are if you made that statement. People who are sensitive to race and working to eliminate racism recognize that we are all racist or bigoted in ways we don’t even realize. We are always looking for the ways that we “assume” before thinking, “react” before thinking. We recognize our tendencies and work to eradicate them. To say you are not a racist is to utterly fail to even grasp this concept. You are deeply racist, and haven’t even begun the process.
- We have a black president, and a black attorney general. As Chris Rock said, this is not an example of “progress”. There have been Black people for decades and centuries that were more than capable of being all these things. To suggest that white American has finally reached such a point, has little to do with “progress” from a Black perspective.
- Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are black racists. There is no such thing as a black racist. It’s an oxymoron. Racism denotes the power to control a minority by a majority. A minority cannot be racist. Individuals of any race, creed, or gender can be bigots. Learn the difference.
- Blacks need to raise their children to work hard and be law-abiding. They already do. What you are really saying, is that black people need to act white. You are not constrained as they are by crime-ridden neighborhoods, poor schools, lack of good transportation, poor government services, local merchants who take advantage of them though inferior products and high prices. When you have tried to fight though all that AND teach your child to be polite to slur-slinging authority figures and keep their hands out of their pockets and not play with toy guns, and not to walk down certain streets, and not to wear those tennis shoes, and not to wear your hat that way, and not to be out after 10 p.m., and not to ride in that sort of car, and, and, and, maybe you will get it.
Much has been made in recent months of mostly white men walking around in stores carrying their “I got a big dick” guns, in some male peacock display of misplaced masculinity. People forget that the Black Panthers did the same thing in California back in the 70’s and then Governor Ronnie Reagan called for new gun laws to stop this danger to the public. Black men with guns is dangerous. White men with guns is “protection to all”. Do you FUCKING SEE THE DIFFERENCE?
One day we will look back on all this (we being future generations no doubt) and see all the hypocrisy. A study just confirmed what has been known for a number of years. The bulk of the “tea party movement” was born, bred and financed by the Kochs. They personally don’t give a damn about all your religious issues, but they do find it a good thing to have your mind occupied by gays and affirmative action, by “socialist” boogie men behind every government program designed to help those less fortunate. They and those like them are behind the misdirection that you live with.
As long as you blame others for your shit-life ( or at least it would be a whole lot better if I didn’t have to support THEM), then you are not blaming them–the people with all the money and with all the power. They continue to reform this country into an oligarchy where the rich have everything and everyone works for them in some sick Ayn Randian dystopian nightmare. And you play your part by calling for free markets and free guns, and worrying about who is marrying who.
Get a clue. Markets have never been free, and the Kochs and their ilk don’t want free markets, they want them rigged as they now are to favor them. They want international markets to be open to their products and they will abuse and exploit workers worldwide and do so with impunity. They are intent on reducing you to no more than a Bangladeshi sweat-shop worker. They don’t care about your old age, or your health. As long as we continue to breed, there will always be enough. Platitudes are all you actually get from paid politicians who say we just have to get back to the good old days of hard work and sacrifice–you know, like you and your parents. Stop supporting these lazy no-accounts. That ain’t racism, just good old American pride.
As they sit with their December tans in San Moritz and laugh over martinis at the gullibility of their “tea bagger” supporters, while you continue to talk about “respecting our police” and calling young a young kid who may have snatched a few cigarillos a “thug”. Yeah, continue doing your “job”. The rich laugh all the way to the bank.
PS: all this shit applies to brown skins too.
(1) Given that almost none of these cases has resulted in a prosecution, we can only surmise what the evidence is. Grand jury testimony is not evidence nor proof of anything, having been untested by cross-examination or subject to objection by the other side. This is no “other side” in grand jury proceedings.