No Way Out

Racism is evil.  The grading of the shading of humans degrades us all.  Robin DiAngelo knows much about the subject and as we watch Trump rally the openly racist, she gives us all pause for thought.  Our entire culture is one of white supremacy.  Progressives, determined to combat it, are also part of it.  White Fragility is not an easy book to read.  It allows no escape for anyone “white” to use.  We must confront our racist culture and admit that we benefit from it.  When we try to explain that we’re misunderstood, she anticipates.  She has heard it all before.  The only thing we can do is confess, interrupt, and try to break down the system that continues to support the systemic evil we’ve embraced.

One thought occurred to me as I was reading.  No doubt DiAngelo would suggest I’m deflecting, and it may be that I am, but those of us who struggle with a perpetually low self-image, even if “white,” may not participate in feeling superior to anyone.  There are individuals whose natural assumption is the superiority of others.  I’ve experienced it time and again in my professional and personal life.  I assume the other is more adept and worthy than me.  In such circumstances a bit more carrot and less stick might’ve been helpful.  I know many both at work and more voluntary activities, for whom a word of encouragement is rare.  For those of us who assume the superiority of others, such encouragement goes far.

Even as I was thinking this I saw a post on Nextdoor.com.  The app, intended to help you find contractors or dentists or whatever, receives many posts on all kinds of topics from identifying animal droppings to alerts regarding crime.  The post to which I refer was from a security camera showing a “prowler.”  The young man seemed more to be walking than prowling to me.  His skin tone and the time of night led to a string of assumptions built on assumptions.  Since I’m often awake just an hour after the alleged “prowling” took place, I knew that were I caught on a security camera I’d merely be considered an insomniac.  Add some melanin and some racism and suddenly a walker is a prowler.  The words I was reading in White Fragility hit me with incredible force.  We have a massive amount of work to do.  “White” people have to own their history.  Own it and overcome it.

1 thought on “No Way Out

  1. Hi Steve,

    This topic, for me, has been a long awakening. Not that I am ignorant, I would not say that, my father was openly racist and every other negative word you want to throw in there about him. My dark skinned/Black friends could never be seen in our house, let alone in the yard, for that matter. God, what would the neighbors think !!

    I swore that I would never become him either. And I haven’t. We live in a multicultural world where everyone has a right to their “place” in it. Miami where I grew up, and now in Montreal, where I currently live, the world has not been “White” my entire life.

    But it became clear just where I sit in the grand scheme of things, while attending a “Blanket Ceremony” hosted by our Indigenous community. If you’ve never been, look it up. Suffice to say that if White People don’t read history, from the point of the oppressor or conqueror you are reading it wrong. We are NOT the victims.

    This thread goes on in my studies of the world (ala Jared Diamond, Peter Francopan, Ben Ehrenreich) just to name a few. White people do bad things, in the name of self, culture and Holy Mother Church. Racism is part of all of our upbringings. At least it was for me.

    The Other, did not deserve to live where whites lived, or shop where we shopped, or God forbid, attend church where we attended church. Racism is alive and well in Montreal. Black and Brown people are 4 times more likely to be stopped by police then whites. Our Indigenous community has higher stats than that.

    We’ve had three incidents in Quebec hospitals, where white nurses and doctors have been recorded racially abusing indigenous peoples, one a woman on her death bed, and two others seeking treatment, were harassed out of the building.

    White nurses and doctors at one of our hospitals have been indicted for playing a game with Indigenous lives, where before they treat them they play a lottery game guessing how intoxicated each patient is before they would touch them. Because sober indigenous people don’t come to hospital, for they are , ALWAYS intoxicated to some degree.

    The Black community cannot walk down the street in particular neighborhoods, and sure as shit, they cannot own, nor drive, expensive cars, because cops love to stop them to see if they actually OWN their cars, and that they are not stolen, so they tell us.

    Walking or driving while Black is daily common in Montreal.

    Yes, Montreal needs to have this conversation too. Because we are all guilty.

    Jeremy

    Liked by 1 person

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