30
Jun
09

Color Connected

A bit of a ramble today, but considering how I’ve been neglecting this blog lately (at least in comparison to previous levels of posting), a ramble is better than nothing at all.

Before I start, I’m going to apologize in advance to Tit for Tat, one of my regular commenters here and often a foil against which to fence on various spiritual thoughts. Not because I’m about to talk crap about him but because he commented over at Raving Black Lunatic on a post titled Nah, You Can Keep It and he’s the jumping off point for some points I want to make about white privilege. I encourage you to read the post and comments for context.

For those who didn’t click on the link above, Big Man basically posted on the U.S. government’s fairly lame apology for slavery. About a day after a few short comments, mostly in line with Big Man’s thoughts, Tit for Tat came in and posed the question of why whites should bear any burden for the sins of previous white generations. I got up on my soapbox and then Big Man added his own responses once he realized the comments had revived, and I’m not sure it’s over yet.

But my point isn’t to repeat any of the points I made to Tit for Tat over there, nor to call him to task for his views. Instead, I want to talk about what his comments sparked in me in relation to white privilege and the way that whites band together for sometimes inexplicable reasons.

The thing is, that post by Big Man related specifically to U.S. whites and U.S. blacks. Tit for Tat is from Canada. At first, I had forgotten where he hailed from, because he seemed to be insulted at the notion that white folks should continue to feel bad about past injustices with regard to slavery. So I responded to him as if he were  U.S. white, as I am.

I’m still not sure why Tit for Tat felt moved to make the responses he did, but it made me wonder about internal loyalty among whites and how it seems to me that we, as a group, often band together in odd ways to defend the actions of our fellow whites, even when they really shouldn’t be defended.

And what it made me realize is that across the globe, whites tend to be very connected to each other. Much more so than, say, Latino and Hispanic cultures in North and South America, or Africans. I’m leaving aside Asia and the Middle East in this discussion because they haven’t endured nearly as much white colonialism or expansionism (yes, yes, I know about India and Hong Kong, for example, but overall, the depradations have been less than they were in Africa and in the Americas, I believe).

To a large extent, whites have the privilege and luxury to stick together because they can trace their roots, and because overall, they have been the aggressors and the victors worldwide for a long time now. Certainly the overwhelming force for much of the industrial and Internet ages.

Most whites can trace their geneology and thus can feel a strong connectedness across the oceans to other white nations. Blacks in the United States, cannot do that. Their ancestors were brought here as slaves, and they have no clue and no records that give them any link to an actual identifiable past.

In Africa and the Americas, native people were harshy subjugated, slain and/or exploited by white nations. Whites had no problem putting down borders in those places based on their desires and their goals, ignoring traditional boundaries (something that also happened in that European/Asian transition point of Eastern Europe, where all sorts of tribals folks and other disparate groups were forced together because powerful white European nations wanted to build nations to their own specs).

In other words, whites have held the reins of power a long time, longer, I think, than perhaps any other race in history (at least over such a wide area and controlling so much wealth).

This isn’t to say that all whites have money. But the fact is that in a place like the United States, where I live, a poor white person typically has more chances to get ahead than a black poor person. A struggling white person is often be more comforable if an asshole white person moves in next door than if an upstanding black one does. Resumes with “black sounding” names get tossed in the garbage without another glance in many companies. A black person with the same or better credentials for a job will more often lose out to that job to a white person who isn’t as qualified or is equally qualified.

Yet whites, by and large, refuse to acknowledge this no matter how many studies show the inequities. They want to claim that the past injustices have nothing to do with them, and yet they won’t even admit to the current ones, much less examine how they link to the past.

Tit for Tat continued the discussion with me a bit via e-mail after we finished at Big Man’s blog. In fact, it’s likely still ongoing; no idea how long we’ll continue to banter about it. But he asked an interesting question, that I forgot to answer via e-mail, so I’ll answer it here, in front of all of you. He asked, more or less, that since I have two biracial kids, would I expect them to bear responsibility for past white sins, particularly if one or both of them ended up looking white.

It’s a fair question. First off, Son of Blue is almost a man now, and clearly too dark to pass for white. The older he has gotten, and the less cute and cuddly (by white American standards), the more harrassment he gets, for no good reason. So he is getting the crap from the white people who think they are better than him simply by being white, even though many of them aren’t as well off, aren’t as intelligent and aren’t as together. Those are the kinds of people who may hold him back from opportunities in the future. So, he can’t cash in on the white half of his heritage. He is seen as black.

It is clear to me already that Little Girl Blue will most likely be dark enough to be identifiably part black. So, she too will be treated by society as being black.

But what if one or both of them could “pass” as white? What would I expect? I would expect the same of them that I do of myself and any other white person. I would expect them to recognize the unfair benefits they get and to do the following:

  • Not take it for granted
  • Do their best to not misuse it
  • Do their best to treat all people equally and/or according to their individual merits
  • To recognize the manner in which the past plays into the present

This isn’t about blame or hating or revenge. This is about fairness and justice. In France, because they aren’t happy that African Muslim immigrants won’t fully assimilate and become just like every other French person, they are talking about banning the wearing of burqas by women. Whatever your feelings about burqas, it’s part of the religious tradition, and not all women feel forced to wear them. In any case, how can a supposedly democratic society ban a piece of clothing word by a single group? Easy, because it’s white privilege. White is right. White societies know better. That is the attitude that too many whites carry. It matters less to me whether whites take responsibility for their ancestors’ sins of slavery than it does that they stop acting like they’ve moved beyond racial unfairness.

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29 Responses to “Color Connected”


  1. June 30, 2009 at 4:43 pm

    Intersting post Deac.

    I will say, before anyone else does, that the whole banding together thing isn’t unique to white folks. Everybody does it, and black folks catch crazy flak when they do it. Remember the backlash after OJ got off?

    However, I think it’s good to look at that concept because white folks do seem blind to the fact that they do it, and that given the power white peopl wield as a collective, their decision to “band together” often means other groups are excluded.

    See, I don’t think white people are particulary better or worse than any other race at the most basic level. We are all human. However, part of being human means that we are shaped by our environments, and from what I can tell, many white folks don’t really want to admit what their environment looks like. They don’t want to admit that privilege that exists, they don’t want to discuss how it affects all aspects of American life. It’s simply easier not to. And that’s a human reaction as well.

    But it doesn’t make it right.

  2. 2 Deacon Blue
    June 30, 2009 at 5:19 pm

    I guess what I feel is that it seems like white folks are more likely to rush to the defense of fellow white folks far afield of their own zone.

    Black folks stick together, but it’s usually American black folks sticking up for other American black folks. At least that’s the way I’ve perceived it. Mexicans don’t stand together with Argentinans and Puerto Ricans. Etc.

    I’m not saying that there’s absolutely NO kinship, but whites have carved up territory amongst themselves so long that I think that they stick together, GLOBALLY speaking, more than other groups, even when not really justified.

  3. June 30, 2009 at 11:03 pm

    Holy Shit Deacon Blue…….Thanks for the props, though it may not be quite the one I had hoped for, its props none the less. 🙂

    So much to discuss, but I will start with your ending.

    “It matters less to me whether whites take responsibility for their ancestors’ sins of slavery than it does that they stop acting like they’ve moved beyond racial unfairness.”(Deacon)

    What if a white person has moved beyond it? Is it necessary for them to acknowledge that many havnt? And if they do, will you then stop judging them because of their skin colour? If it isnt fair for your children why should it be fair for other children. Shouldnt we be basing our opinions of each other by what we do, not what we look like? Most of the inequities of the american culture are based on greed, that is why in the late 18th century the Irish were shipped in as slaves also. Though the numbers were nowhere near as great as for Blacks, the emphasis was the same. They were considered inferior and to be used as “cheap” labour. I fully agree that people should acknowledge racism and its roots and how it can create inequity. I expect that of my children, I expect that they do that in regards to any race or colour of people. That is the right thing to do. My concern is when we judge all by the same brush. Blanket statements of what “white” or “black” people do doesnt work for me. An asshole is an asshole in my book, they would not be welcome as my neighbour regardless of their skin colour. Just because my other “white” neighbour may prefer the white asshole doesnt mean I have to be judged as he.

    You seem to forget that hate knows no colour. Six million Jews would tell you that their “white” brothers forgot there colour.

  4. July 1, 2009 at 3:00 am

    Great post, Deke.

    I think that one reason whites don’t acknowledge the white privilege that gives us so many social advantages is because they really don’t see it. They are blind to it, taking it for granted; and in doing so, they assume that blacks, latinos, asians, and so on share it, even though they don’t.

    This is common among hierarchies, and whites are typically at the top of the social hierarchy just about anywhere. The person higher on a hierarchy has no understanding at all of the situation of the person lower; and the person lower has both a deep understanding of her own situation, and of the situation of the person higher. That’s just how it works. (Read “Clueless At the Top,” by Harriet and Charlotte Childress)

    I think you do make a good case regarding global sticking-together of whites, regardless of the Holocaust, which was religious and racial, Jews being Semetic rather than Aryan. Religion can throw a lot of monkey wrenches into the deal – Northern Ireland, Kosovo, etc. But the overlying effect is still the same. And you, living so close to it, can see it better than most of us.

  5. 5 LightWorker
    July 1, 2009 at 6:40 am

    Here’s a hypothetical question Deacon Blue. You admitted that you haven’t made good use of the white privilege that has devolved to you by virtue of being born white.

    Would you, were it possible, give it up entirely, and join the ranks of those without it?

  6. 6 Deacon Blue
    July 1, 2009 at 10:19 am

    TitforTat,

    You provided an entry point for a topic. But I do hope you didn’t feel attacked.

    Your example of the Irish is good, except that depsite early abuses, they were still, in the end, white, and ultimately and relatively quickly were recognized as such. The same does not apply to blacks.

    Also, as my wife would be only too happy to point out, class trumps race. But here again, most of the people in the more privileged classes or at least classes with more options to choose from are, of course, white. Or depending on your area, perhaps Asian too. Hispanics, not so much. Blacks, even less. So, what we see here is that while class is the real issue in many cases for opportunities and economic advancement, race rears its ugly head there as well.

    And for whites who have “moved beyond” race. Hell, none of us moves beyond race really, every race carries baggage with each other. I still have my moments, and I consider myself pretty enlightened. But you see, part of that is realizing that I still do have advantages over blacks. Until society moves beyond race in a more concrete and definitive fashion, it doesn’t matter how enlightended I might be in interactions with people of other races. Or, rather, it matters A LOT morally, but it doesn’t give me the right to just forget that I have advantages. Because remembering that I do is what helps me put into context things that blacks or others do. If I don’t recognize my own privilege and take it for granted, it would be easy to see very justifiable complaints by blacks as “whining.” Which is, sadly, what many white people do, even the ones who often think themselves enlightened.

    ——————————-

    Seda,

    Thanks for the input. One of the reasons I harp on this issue from time to time is because I don’t like people to keep blinders on. I try to make sure to keep my eye open (not just on race issues, but life in general), and I think that it’s too easy for people to get complacent and not think about the bigger picture.

    Your comment about the Holocaust got me thinking again about another point I never made regarding global sticking together. Aside from anti-semitic ass-hats in the United States, there is a strong amount of support for Israel in general. I think that owes to the facts that to many Americans, Isrealis are “white” while everyone else around who threatens them is “dark.” And I think that colors some of our attitudes. We stick with them because they are more like us. Or so we feel.

    ——————————–

    Lightworker,

    Well, first, as I’m sure you figured out, I was making a little joke there.

    But I believe in using what one has, not giving it up simply for the sake of giving it up. There have been brief moments in my life where white privilege has not simply served me well but given me chances to do things for others who aren’t my color. Not big things, but I have been able to do my part to keep things as color-blind as possible in certain situations. Had I not been in a position of influence at those times, something which was aided by my privilege, perhaps things would have been different.

    It’s like rich people. I don’t begrudge them their wealth. What’s more important to me is that they don’t flaunt it for the sake of flaunting it, don’t take it for granted, and take advantage of the opportunity to do some good with that wealth beyond themselves and their families.

    What is gained if I “join the ranks” of the people who don’t get as many opportunities? If I could make an irrevocable decision to, say, become black tomorrow, would I? Depends. If it would make my wife’s life easier somehow or strengthen our marriage, perhaps I would consider it. But if I became black, what good would it do? Would it cause other blacks to be lifted up or treated better? No. It would simply add one more person to the ranks of people who get extra crap. I think I can do better using what small amount of privilege I have and tempering it with something that, I hope, approached wisdom.

  7. July 1, 2009 at 3:25 pm

    Hell, none of us moves beyond race really, every race carries baggage with each other.(Deacon)

    I dont have issues with people because of what they look like. I have issues because of how they act or treat me and others. I am far from enlightened, I just dont judge based on skin colour.

  8. July 1, 2009 at 4:02 pm

    [musing] my 16 yo has decided to join the priveleged class. she wants to have a sex-change operation.

    i told her its bad enough consorting with the enemy, she doesn’t have to become one of them.

    said it before and i’ll say it again: GENDER TRUMPS COLOR

  9. July 1, 2009 at 4:12 pm

    LW,
    Interesting question you ask Deke. In fact, I have given up privilege – male privilege – though it was not just for the sake of surrendering my advantages over my female peers. I did it for the sake of reclaiming my soul. I did it to survive. I did it to be a better parent to my children. I did it to relieve the awful isolation of invisibility, and to join the world as who I am, at the risk of losing my family, my home, my employability, my friends, and my position in society.

    In many ways, it has made my life harder. Yet I count the price a small one to pay. I would do it again, in a heartbeat, faster than before.

    But I agree with Deke. Surrendering the privileges we are given by our birth or class just for the sake of joining those less privileged only removes privilege from the world. It is pointless. It’s also an abdication of the responsibility we have to hold our privilege carefully. There is power in it, power to ease the road of those without. And we should use it.

    Notice, I am not interested in surrendering my white privilege. I will use it to promote harmony and justice where I can.

  10. July 1, 2009 at 8:09 pm

    Robyn,
    Good luck to your 16 yr. old! I assume he’s genetic female? Quick, get him on some form of hormone blocker, so that secondary sex characteristics don’t develop further! (http://silknvoice.blogspot.com/2009/06/commentary-on-dsm-iv-or-when-should.html) Does he have resources to help?

    And good luck to you, too. Transition is tough, but the results are worth it.

  11. 11 Deacon Blue
    July 2, 2009 at 1:39 am

    TitforTat,

    I will totally take you at your word on how you treat people. Doesn’t change the fact, though, that most white people DO treat people different because of color. It may be little shit or may be big shit. They may do it without realizing it or they may refuse to admit it, but it’s the only explanation for a lot of the crap that goes on. The alternative is to say that blacks are much more genetically prone to be criminals, lazy, stupid, etc. A group of people cannot get treated to so much abuse on the whole in society without the majority of whites buying into the idea that whites are better and deserve to get more breaks.

    ——————————————

    robyn said: “i told her its bad enough consorting with the enemy, she doesn’t have to become one of them.”

    robyn, had I been drinking something when I read that, it would have shot out my nose.

    ——————————————-

    Seda,

    Thanks for the backup.

  12. 12 LightWorker
    July 2, 2009 at 2:11 am

    Deacon Blue, I liked what you and Seda had to say.

    Here’s another question: How many blacks, do you think, would join the ranks of “white privilege,” were it possible (say by passing), if they could?

    I’m not looking for an answer here, just asking a rhetorical question.

  13. July 2, 2009 at 9:24 am

    LW,
    I’ve no idea. I can’t speak for them. I suspect there would be some, though. Is MJ an example? even though he had all the advantages of class, which trumps race.

  14. 14 Deacon Blue
    July 2, 2009 at 9:48 am

    There have always been black people who can pass as white and do so, keeping their extended family secret, sometimes to the point of cutting ties with them altogether.

    My wife just finished reading the memior of a woman who discovered late in life, after her father had died, that her father (I think he was a New York Times editor or something like that) was black. No one knew, though a handful of people suspected. She discovered an entire family she didn’t know existed and started a journey of trying to discover her black roots, even though her entire identity was to be raised as a white person.

    “Imitation of Life” is a movie that chronicles the (albeit fictional, but very plausible) story of a black woman who tries to pass as white and the problems this causes for her and for her mother.

    There is a long history of this; however, it is my suspicion, based on what experiences I have had with black people over the years, that most of them would rather continue to identify as black and be proud of who they are rather than hide who they are to cash in on white privilege.

    My wife might want to come in and give her take. Not like she can speak for all black people of course, but I would be curious as to whether she shares my assumption.

  15. 15 Deacon Blue
    July 2, 2009 at 9:52 am

    Let me clarify…Obviously, many other black folks read my blog aside from my wife, and are welcome to provide their own take on this, if they feel like sharing one. The reason I would be curious to have Mrs. Blue’s take specifically is because we have encountered many of the same black people (friends and family) and I wonder if the assumptions I take away from them jibe with hers (since she has longer associations with most of those folks).

  16. 16 32B
    July 2, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    I have been reading along and I guess I have a chance to reply at this point. I am an African-American and, if given the chance to “pass”, I wouldn’t. As Deac said, I am one of those who feel pride in who I am and my heritage. I am younger though so that may determine my answer and I do think that those who were able to “pass” decades ago did so to survive which is a more serious and significant reason from my point of view.

    Although things have gotten a tad bit better for African-Americans over the years (a tad), I don’t know how I could endure the times of my ancestors so I would be wrong to judge whether they were weak or wrong to “pass” than to stay true to who they are. One side of my family is completely of a much lighter complexion and some could “pass” today so it is safe to assume some likely did “pass” years ago but I wouldn’t know for sure.

  17. 17 Black Diaspora
    July 3, 2009 at 1:08 am

    If it were possible for me to pass as white, I wouldn’t, not for the purpose of accessing “white privilege.” Come to think of it, I can’t think of one reason why I’d do it. First, there shouldn’t be such a thing as “white privilege.” And second, I don’t feel underprivileged–although many times in my life being white would have afforded me greater opportunities.

    Note: being deprived, and “feeling” that you’re deprived are two different things. I wanted to make that distinction. Wouldn’t “white privilege” have come in handy? Without a doubt.

    Here’s one illustration. To be closer to my aging parents, I applied for a job in Texas at a private law school. The school administrator loved my resume–my credentials and job history were exactly what she was looking for. My first job interview was conducted by phone. My second interview would be in person, and I would have to fly halfway across the country for it–at their expense.

    Surprise of surprises!

    Because I was black, the administrator quickly did an about-face. The school had never hired a black at my level of professionalism because, as she put it, “A black wouldn’t fit in,” although the school had blacks and whites among the student body.

    She was kind, frank, and affirmative in her decision not to hire me after seeing me, and seeing that I was black. Our phone conversation gave no hint of my race.

    Was I angry? No. Disappointed? Yes.

    I had seen this sort of thing many times, and was not the least bit defeated, because of her unwillingness to hire a competent, and capable worker.

    White privilege? Keep it! I don’t need it!

    I won’t allow the lack of it to hold me back, defeat me, demoralize me, or prevent me from attaining whatever goals I set for myself.

    Not all blacks have the grit, the sand, the starch, the determination that I have. And that is the nub of the problem.

    We have to rear our kids, especially those growing up in today’s environment, to fight for what they want. I recognize that in years past, this can-do spirit, this plucky attitude could get you kill. And it still can. The threats against President Obama are real. They were real when he was running for president, and they’re still real now that he is president.

    But we blacks cannot allow those threats to keep us from reaching for whatever brass ring represents our goals and our dreams.

    To do less is to live less. Someone said it aptly: Life begins at the end of our comfort zone. And I might add: Life also begins at the edge of our courage zone.

    Some blacks would certainly opt, were it possible, to live a life where “white privilege” would ease their burden. But most, I believe, are like me: I won’t turn down opportunities that present themselves, regardless of how they came about, but I’m not going to be someone, and something that I’m not to obtain it (the “Uncle Tom” phenomenon), nor would I “pass” to achieve it, as many have over the years.

    I neither condone nor condemn those that have passed. It was their choice. Their choice didn’t necessarily impact me. Those that “Tom” can injure, and have injured those of their own race. This is why they’re so often despised by their own people.

    When “white privilege” becomes privilege for all–despite color, race, creed, or social status–then we Americans, of all colors, will have arrived as a people, where we can truly say: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

  18. July 3, 2009 at 2:04 am

    BD,
    Shoot, I’d hire you in a second, if the opportunity arose. I’ve followed your logic and articulateness adequately enough to count on your abilities.

    “When “white privilege” becomes privilege for all–despite color, race, creed, or social status–then we Americans, of all colors, will have arrived as a people, where we can truly say: “One nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”

    Exactly! And that is something to work toward.

    Passing is a bit of a different issue for me. As a trans woman, it’s a hell of a lot safer to pass – especially in a public restroom. I imagine that under Jim Crow, it would have been much safer for a black person to pass, too, though that safety factor must be diminished from that time. Nevertheless, I often feel torn. I can’t say how this would be for a black person – I certainly won’t assume it’s the same, because it’s not. I’m out and proud, yet at my sister’s funeral, among all the old Wyoming friends and ranchers, I refrained from introducing my new self to many folks I knew from long ago. It would have been just too awkward to go through the raised eyebrows and explanations. So I let it go, and didn’t talk to a number of people whom I would have enjoyed connecting with.

    It’s a small town, though, and next time I’m back, I’m sure everyone will know. It’ll be both harder to pass, and less important.

  19. 19 Black Diaspora
    July 3, 2009 at 6:22 am

    Seda, I’d hire you in a New York second, too! There’s nothing wrong with passing. On occasion, I pass as a sage, knowing full well that down deep we’re all sages.

    I hope you can accept a compliment, because I’m about to lay one on you. I read your blog more often than you know, but I don’t always leave a comment.

    Your courage to tell the story of your journey continues to impress me. And, because of your willingness to share that journey, I have learned much.

    That you may, for your own reasons, “pass” externally is of little importance; what’s more important is that you’re true to yourself, and what you’re feeling within the depth of your soul.

    Everything else is window dressing….

  20. 20 Deacon Blue
    July 3, 2009 at 10:02 am

    I agree, Black Diaspora, that blacks (and others who face similarly themed issues of access to opportunities and/or acceptance) have to fight and strive for what they want.

    Being handed something without any cost to oneself is often a recipe for failure, as has been seen in the way so many social programs have been administered. (Of course, giving someone a HAND, as opposed to a HANDOUT, is totally cool and necessary).

    But I do wish this were a world where a person didn’t have to have an opportunity vanish simply because once the hiring person laid eyes on them, they didn’t like the color they saw, and immediately dismissed all that was beneath that color. It’s something that irks me on such a fundamental moral level.

  21. July 3, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Thanks for the props, BD!

    “It’s something that irks me on such a fundamental moral level.”

    And ethical level. And compassionate level. And practical level. And …

  22. July 3, 2009 at 7:28 pm

    But I do wish this were a world where a person didn’t have to have an opportunity vanish simply because once the hiring person laid eyes on them, they didn’t like the color they saw, and immediately dismissed all that was beneath that color.(Deacon)

    Unfortunately its not just colour that makes that happen, the list is endless.

    Black Dispora

    I applaud your spirit. Eventually that same spirit will change the world. Thanks. 🙂

  23. 23 Deacon Blue
    July 3, 2009 at 8:11 pm

    TitforTat,

    Please, the list may be endless, but color/race should be largely irrelevant.

    If a person has the skills and qualifications and you’ve already had communications with them by phone, and the ONLY reason you take a pass on them is because of race/color/ethnicity, that is plain wrong. It means you have gone all that time being perfectly fine with their skills, their demeanor, etc. and the ONLY reason you don’t want them now is because you don’t like they way they look. Or because you assume things about them based on skin color.

    It’s one thing to pass on a person because you decide you don’t like their personality. But skin color? How fucking superficial, shallow and meaningless a reason is that.

    You keep trying to make excuses for this behavior by saying that other things happen too. But how often do ugly white people not get jobs because of the way they look? Not nearly as often as black people fail to get work simply because of surface appearances.

    People don’t go that far, like with Black Diaspora, and then get rejected on appearances UNLESS they look crazy dishelved or unkempt.

    And the fact that black people (and Hispanics to a lesser extent and Middle Easterners back when Obama bin Laden was always in the news) get treated so much more badly for absolutely nothing that has to do with their achievements or personality is plain wrong, and it’s widespread and endemic to society in the U.S. and most societies in terms of some group or another. It’s a sickness, and there is no excusing it by bringing up that people mistreat people for other things, because those “other things” aren’t usually as universal, as ingrained, as insidious or as destructive.

    Obese people, for all the shit they take, don’t get near the same kind of universal disdain or prejudice in this country. Take your pick of people who get picked on for reasons of visuals alone, and I defy you to find a group that is as badly treated in the United States except, perhaps, for Native Americans.

  24. July 3, 2009 at 10:47 pm

    You keep trying to make excuses for this behavior by saying that other things happen too. But how often do ugly white people not get jobs because of the way they look?(Deacon)

    Please….sometimes I wonder what planet you come from. Do you know that taller men earn more than shorter men, they also father more children on average than shorter men. How often are fat people persecuted for their size. Colour is just one of many ways we use to discriminate. You do know that, Im sure. By the way, there are other colours other than black that get their fair share of persecution. Do me one favour and at least acknowledge that racism isnt just against one colour regardless if you have a more personal interest in seeing it one way.

  25. 25 Deacon Blue
    July 4, 2009 at 6:45 pm

    TitforTat,

    I KNOW there are many and sundry forms of discrimination…but NONE of them are as pervasive in the United States as racism…particularly against blacks.

    It’s not just about employment. It’s about harrassment from the police. It’s about arrest rates. It’s about harsher jail sentences. It’s about being treated more rudely in stores than anyone else. It’s about not being able to rent a place. It’s about realtors guiding you away from neighborhoods to keep them white.

    What planet do YOU live on? If you have any basic knowledge of U.S. race relations, it is clear on ALL levels that blacks get it up the ass, on the regular…FAR more than any tall, short, fat, rich, poor, or any other white person.

    Blacks were hauled here as slaves. They were treated like slaves for a long time after slavery ended. They were denied the ability to vote even after it was legally granted to them. They are still denied or dissuaded from voting in some parts of the United States. They have been shat upon, time and time again, and continue to be treated as second-class citizens but a VERY large percentage of the majority white population.

    By what standard can you compare the plight of most groups to that?

    You can’t, unless YOU are from another planet.

    Hispanics, Arabs and Native Americans (Indians) get some treatment that has comparable comparisons.

    Women, for all they suffer, still get it MUCH better than black people. By FAR.

    Gays and lesbians, for all they suffer, also get it MUCH better than blacks overall, if for no other reason that people can’t always TELL their sexual orientation.

    To talk about all the other forms of persecution that are MUCH less pervasive, much less harmful, and much less ingrained in the culture, and to use that to minimize how fucked over the blacks in this country are, is INSULTING.

    It is precisely the reason why I harp on this issue from time to time, because white are ALWAYS trying to get out of this issue by citing other groups.

    ALWAYS.

    And I’m tired as shit about. And embarrassed that so many people who share my skin color will still cling to tired-ass strategies to make it seem like blacks are a bunch of lazy whiners.

    Do blacks have their own baggage and their own shit to clean up amongst themselves? Yes. But none of that erases or absolves whites from the shit they do to this very day, every day to blacks that they don’t do to ANYONE else at anywhere near the same level.

    You are arguing from across the border and likely with no personal experience of what happens to black people and to the white people who are involved with them.

    PERIOD.

    Sorry if I seem raw about this, but I don’t know what part of MOST (AND LONGEST) PERSECUTED GROUP IN THE UNITED STATES that you don’t get.

  26. 26 Mrs Blue
    July 5, 2009 at 12:57 pm

    Wife of Deacon chiming in here, also I happen to be African-American. Tit for Tat, without a doubt other groups face discrimination and bigotry, my husband is not saying that. However the level of racism that African Americans and most individuals from the African diaspora face is far more pervasive and destructive than what those other groups face 9 out of 10 times.

    Like Black Diaspora, I have faced the exact situation where I submitted a resume, talked on the phone and when I showed up, the interest level dropped immediately. In my early 20’s I applied for a position as a entry level stock broker at a brokerage house. Well at that time I had an extensive sales background, on the phone the hiring agent was excited to meet me, when I showed up I was told point blank that their clients would not respond well to a Black woman. It was already dicey to hire a woman…but a BLack woman?

    Look, these are not isolated incidents, this is the type of daily shit that happens to Black folks in America. I hold an advanced degree now and there are still doors closed in my face regularly because of my race.

    I went to grad school with an obese white woman, we were in the same program, I had higher grades, better student all around…yet this woman is further along and I am not fooling myself whiteness even when packaged in an obese woman still trumps BLackness.

  27. July 6, 2009 at 1:40 am

    Trans people take a lot of shit, too. In most states, they have no specific civil rights protections to this day. So, it’s legal to fire trans people just for being trans, to evict them because they’re trans, and so on. They’re one of the most underemployed groups in America, often forced into sex work just to survive. There has been at least one case of first responders refusing to treat a trans woman who had been in a car wreck; they just stood around laughing at her while she died.

    Which is not to downplay the very significant racism black folks deal with daily. For one thing, a lot of trans people pass as cisgendered, and so (if they’re white) take advantage of white privilege. Also, there are a lot more black people than trans people, so racism is more pervasive in our society. I’ve been a witness to the racism that is so often directed at blacks, more times than I’d like to admit. And black trans people really get the shit.

    Which is a good reason to tear down this white patriarchy and create a new culture that embraces the diversity of our humanity. Everyone bleeds the same color, and everyone loves.

  28. 28 Black Diaspora
    July 6, 2009 at 4:20 am

    Thanks Mrs. Blue for sharing your story.

    “Everyone bleeds the same color, and everyone loves.”

    And Seda, I agree on the need for a “new culture.”

  29. 29 Deacon Blue
    July 6, 2009 at 9:51 am

    Seda,

    You’ll get no argument from me that work needs to be done across the board, and that sexual oriented/gender orientation is one area that still needs a lot more progress than it’s had so far.


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Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

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