I had a conversation about racism the other day that was quite eye opening for me. I will get to that, and another story, in a moment.
Systematic or institutional racism does not exist.
A conclusion like this should be logical. It certainly isn’t the first time it has been put forth but like so many things that become “true” people cling to the idea. When people try to explain their objections those objections are simply ignored. People are accused of ignoring history and making light of slavery and oppression. That is just an excuse they use to shut up alternate opinions so they don’t have to deal with them. When a point of view is based on belief, not on facts, the believer often simply shuns the facts and vilifies the individual trying to put forth the facts.
When it comes to police and minorities, one thing that puts it in perspective for me is the fact that police have, “375 million annual contacts” with citizens. Of those the vast majority (vast) are uneventful. Even if we look at the tragedy of George Floyd we see that the officers involved were not all Caucasians and no words were passed to reveal racism. Racism in this case is only “seen” not revealed.
From the editorial, “…federal statistics explaining that police shot and killed 1,004 people in 2019, most of whom were armed and/or deemed dangerous. Out of that number, about a quarter of those, 235, were black, which is roughly the same percentage every year since 2015.”
Ayn Rand explained that, “The worst guilt is to accept an undeserved guilt.” I think you should reject the guilt of race because you have not earned it. Even if I were to acknowledge (which I do not) that such a thing as White Privilege existed I could never encourage someone to accept guilt for it. Your privilege is invisible but you are told it exists, you do nothing at all, but are told it is your fault.
If bias exists perhaps it is a subconscious response to this reality
“…a police officer is 18½ times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is to be killed by a police officer…” If that statistic is correct we should ask who is really killing who in greater numbers? Who will believe that statistic though? Who will rationally look at the huge numbers of contacts, and the percentage of those contacts that happen to be with black males and conclude that if you do something more often you are going to get a certain outcome more often as well? What we’ve learned is that even saying this kind of thing is terribly unpopular and if you do, you must be a racist.
There must be a reason that, “In 2018, the latest year for which such data have been published, African-Americans made up 53% of known homicide offenders in the U.S. and commit about 60% of robberies, though they are 13% of the population.” Some will argue – yes, there is a reason, racism! They will argue that racism forces blacks into murder and robbery because racism forces them into poverty and poverty leads to violence. I think it has more to do with the number of single mothers in the black community than it does with outside forces.
That, and, we are being asked to ignore every successful black person as a one-off.
Even if you aren’t a racist you are a racist.
In the conversation I mention at the start I spoke with an individual who had something unpleasant happen. In that unpleasantness, which involved some adolescent boys, nothing racist was said – at all. This person took it as a racist thing though. Why? Their explanation was that due to the history of racism, even when racism was not evident, one had to assume racism. Not only must we assume racism we must be aware of this and treat black people with kid gloves to make sure we don’t hurt their feelings as a result of the racism that you did not do. Let all this sink in. Others in the conversation agreed with this point of view.
So here is the conclusion they draw:
- Even when there is no racism evident we must assume racism.
- We must treat black people differently than we treat others because they are emotionally fragile.
- Any interactions/transaction between a white person and a black person wherein the black person is dissatisfied with the outcome of that transaction is by default racism.
Everyone seems oblivious to the fact that what they are advocating for is for whites to treat blacks differently and the reason they give is that blacks are more fragile than whites and blacks will assume they are racists not because of anything that particular person did but because of something others have done.
But that being true – they do not admit that this equals them being racist. Some have realized the hypocrisy of this and created a caveat that there must be an imbalance of power for it to be racism. An adult with a 12 year old has the power so if that is a criteria then the child is not the one with the power. Of course, that criteria is a farce. No imbalance of power is required for a transaction/interaction to be a racist one and people of all races can be racists.
Ayn Rand said, “Racism is the lowest, most crudely primitive form of collectivism. It is the notion of ascribing moral, social or political significance to a man’s genetic lineage—the notion that a man’s intellectual and characterological traits are produced and transmitted by his internal body chemistry. Which means, in practice, that a man is to be judged, not by his own character and actions, but by the characters and actions of a collective of ancestors.”
That is exactly what those who say we must assume racism from whites even when it isn’t demonstrated by word or action are doing. They are ascribing a moral character to someone based, not on that person’s own character, but what others have done and in some cases just what they have heard others have done, not what others have actually done TO them.
When you judge others based on the color of their skin and when you assign action to an entire group of people based on the color of their skin – you are a racist. I don’t care what color your skin is, you are a racist. it is not okay for black people to assume white people are racists. It is racist for black people to assume that all of society is against them because of some magical and undefinable concept they call “white privilege”.
Oh, how they will argue that this is really a thing.
Some have convinced themselves of this and will vigorously fight for the idea. My but how vigorous! But the entire notion is based on an assumption and not on something quantifiable and, yet again, we must ignore the successful black people as a one-off to believe in their notion of
white privilege and institutional racism.
“White skin privilege is not something that white people necessarily do, create or enjoy on purpose.” (White Anti-Racist Activism: A Personal Roadmap)
Again, that means it happens and is your fault even if you do absolutely nothing but merely exist as a white person and if you try to explain that you are a racist. So – shut up and treat black people differently already!
Way back in 1989 an essay titled, “White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack” was written. It outlined what the author said are 50 things that constitute White Privilege. The author, a white woman, explained that it was written from a place of self-reflection on how her white skin and allowed her to get forward in life. The essay was written at Harvard University. A place I suppose we must assume she did not deserve to be and only got to, not because she worked hard, but because she was white. It is also interesting to note that the author of this invisible knapsack of crap was a feminist. It must have been terribly difficult for her to parse how her disadvantages as a woman balanced out with her advantages as a Caucasian. Are the biases against a woman intentional or are they also invisible?
What should we do to fight racism?
Nothing. As long as racism is said to exist no matter what there is nothing we can do about it as a society. If it has become a form of PTSD only the individual will be able to rid themselves of it. I suppose accepting that people of all races can be racists is a good place to start. That a person can, as talked about above, have nothing racist happen but see racism, and justify it because of racism, and not see that as racist, is a fine measure of just how difficult a road this is for us. If that person can dig down and understand the full ramifications of “assuming racism” we have a chance.
If they don’t do that we have no chance. You can have no racism in your heart. You can do not racist actions. Yet still be a racist because of some invisible tendril of history that exists in someone else’s emotional state. In terms of how we treat others we could 100% do away with racism but that wouldn’t change a thing because people see it where it doesn’t exist, they require no intent. If things don’t go their way it is racism because that is how they feel about it and they will argue that it doesn’t matter if something racist happened or not they have to think that way because of history.
We will never get there from here.
We’ve been trying the same thing my whole life as it pertains to racism. Racism is bad. Don’t be a racists. Saying this or doing that is racist so don’t. What if all we are doing is passing along racism?
I will end with a story. A true story told to me.
A young man played with the kids next door. They were black, he white. This fact never crossed their minds as they played. They played more and more. The friendships grew. The mother of the young man, as kind a person as there is, and one who hated racism and treated all people the same explained to this young man that there was a word he should never use around black people. You all can guess what word he told me that was. He had never heard that word before, didn’t know what it meant at all, but he was now duly educated on how not to be a racist.
One day one of the neighbor kids was misbehaving and took something that didn’t belong to them. The young man wanted it back but that just made keeping it more fun. He had also taken it and wasn’t supposed to have it. If he lost it then that fact would be revealed. None of this mattered. The game of keep away was fun.
The young man then used that word. The word he didn’t know. The word he didn’t understand. “Give it back you…”
A look of shock.
The thing returned.
A moment of panic. Tears and apology from the young boy.
An explanation to the neighbor that he didn’t know what it meant. His mother had said not to use it.
Kids are good and they remained friends, but the young man told me he never forgot that moment, that look. His mother, in her desire to prevent him from being a hurtful racist gave him the tools to be a hurtful racist.
If a person can believe racism exists where it is invisible perhaps they can also not see it? Our tactic has been to fight racism. What if we try a new tactic and stop talking about it? That won’t make it go away! That will be the argument. Not being racist won’t make it go away either but that line persists.
I think it is better for them if it doesn’t go away. Racism at this point in our society gives power rather than takes it.
Political commentator and attorney Heather Mac Donald posted an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal this week that argues police should be held accountable when they use excessive force, but evidence of “widespread racial bias” by police doesn’t exist.
Source: Washington Examiner