First, watch the above link. Then read my post here. Then I want opinions on this so feel free to post whatever you want in response.
My Husband is from a very rural little coal-mining town in eastern Kentucky. His home is predominantly white conservatives.
In contrast, I’m alternately from the south Florida ghettos and the north-central Florida swamps. But I’m still as white as rice…the color of rice that is…not that rice is otherwise bad…because lots of ethnic groups use rice as a dietary staple….but white southerners use a lot of it as well….so maybe that counts too….was that racist?
He comes from an area of what I’m going to term as “Dishonest Racists”. The only ethnic group he ever encountered was the black family the high school brought in to coach the football team, one Asian family, and the staff at the local “Mexican” restaurant.
And this is the same for his entire community.
Yet, when asked, or when not asked, they will explain how they don’t just automatically hate ethnic groups, they just hate what they’ve always seen of them…without realizing that what they’ve seen of them is exactly nothing.
And without realizing that when minority groups are that far outnumbered, they are going to go out of their way to try and be “more white” in order to fit in with the overwhelmingly violent majority in order to avoid persecution.
I have to give credit to the few who do try to be tolerant, although they are horribly misguided. My mother in law really does try. I know that in her heart she honestly believes she is trying and I can see the effort she is trying to make.
But she says things like “I don’t see color, I just see the person” without realizing that by not seeing the color, you are not seeing the whole person to begin with. If you “don’t see color” you are just choosing to see the part that makes you comfortable and denying the parts that don’t.
This is what I mean by Dishonest Racists. They are either racists who have never actually seen another ethnic group immersed in their own environment and culture, or who are denying their racism while still being ignorantly racist.
I, however, come from “Honest Racists”. I lived in areas that were mixed with mostly equal parts Latin, black, and white. We experienced each other every day in our own environments. I say in our own environments because when you have a basically equal number of races all in the same place each race becomes more comfortable with allowing their cultural foibles to be out in the open.
My older family members present as typical white Americans. Meaning that they are probably some of the most uptight and reserved people when they are out in public. Expressing too much joy, sadness, elation, or any other emotion in public view is uncouth and unacceptable. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the churches. Attending an all-white Christian church is like attending a funeral.
But a deep south Black church is a place of high energy and emotions. They thoroughly enjoy their worship and express that joy without a second thought. They will weep, sing, dance, shout, and do whatever else the Spirit moves them to do. They are intensely joyful in their worship and aren’t shy about expressing it.
This is always especially entertaining during the time of year when the “prestigious” downtown white Baptist church invites the “unfortunate” black, sister church in for an extended Sunday evening dual worship service. I had never found white discomfort so hilarious until that moment.
So when a stodgy white person in my home town says they don’t like noisy black folks, it’s because they have actually experienced the noise. Yes, they are still being intolerant, but they are being honest about it. They have at least glimpsed the other culture in their own element before.
Most of the population of my home town works at the local Walmat Supercenter. But, outside of town, we have a lot of fields and farms where migrant workers come to work. Meaning that every Saturday during the picking seasons we see actual buses full of migrant workers come into the parking lot to get their week’s groceries and other sundries.
I personally witnessed the purchase of entire truckloads of salsa ingredients, tortilla flour, and other typically “Mexican” foods. So while saying things like “Here come the tortilla wagons” is racist, it isn’t untrue.
And don’t think it’s just the white folks being racists either. You have not seen funny until you watch a sketch by a local high school students done in “white-face” and sweater vests running over every worn out white person cliché in the book.
I’m not saying my way is better or worse. But honest racists have actually been immersed in other cultures, while the dishonest ones rely on worn out stereotypes without ever having been around other cultures.
Either way, racism exists and it needs to be fixed. Once we fix racism we can more on to sexism, and all those other annoying isms that make this world a really shitty place. But how? Should we just ignore it and hope it goes away? Should we acknowledge our ethnic and cultural differences as being differences? And how do we really start?
So which is “better”? Which opens the door to dialogue? Is being openly and dishonestly racist the better choice, or is being honestly racist the least obnoxious option?
- Biracial Families Make White People Want To Puke Says Washington Post Columnist (addictinginfo.org)
- The Daily Show Plays ‘Racist or Not Racist’ and Everyone’s a Loser! (jezebel.com)
- Dear “Allegedly” Racist White Person: (clutchmagonline.com)
- On the Word ‘Racism’ and Some of its Definitions (maverickphilosopher.typepad.com)