I have already said that one cannot say that any white person is a racist unless they—as you have done—say that they are one.
For somewhat similar reasons, until the arrested person is convicted, or until they confess, the “justice system” considers such people suspects.
So, in like manner: I always tell non-white people, it is not just to call or say that any white person is a racist, unless they say that they are one. Like you have done.
However, it is just to consider any white person, for any reason, a racist suspect.
This is true, as long as the chief weapons of a racist are deceit, secrecy, and violence.
This is especially true, along as racism is in the Refinement stage, which, I hold, it is.
That is why I said:
I see people, all the time, who I THINK may be responsible for something akin to breaking into Black people’s houses, tying them up, raping their wives, shooting and killing their kids, stealing and fencing all their valuable goods, and never getting caught.
I did not say that they were responsible for anything.
I said I think they are.
Which police person should I call?
How would I verify, in advance, that that police person is not a white supremacist?
What does that mean for you in light of how you treat such a person? Would that mean that you potentially would have to put up defenses until they can demonstrate that they are not out to exploit you, or something similar?
Let’s say that you are having a meeting with a white person who you don’t know. Generally, in everyday interpersonal relationships race isn’t a subject. What behavior markers would you look for to alleviate your suspicion whether that particular person is a racist?
Likewise, how do you differentiate between conflicts that arise that may not be about skin color? Let’s say someone who is white is angry with you. Do you differentiate that anger from similar anger of a black person, or does it become a potentially, suspiciously, and even likely racist behavior then?
One point that I’ve made to you, @arkdrey, @sirje, and others—not you three, particularly, but white people, here, generally—is that most of the Black people you know don’t tell you what they really think about racism.
This is often especially true if they think that you are, or may be, a racist, but if, additionally, they are friendly with you, or otherwise dependent on you…as all non-white people are dependent on white people, in some way.
I’m always interested in what non-white people say about racism, much as I am always interested in what white people say about racism. So, I’m interested in what the non-white people that you used to pastor—not the current ones, for some reason—have to say about racism.
It’s far easier for people to really say what they think—including what they think about you—if they can do so anonymously.
A key part of why many Black people do not tell white people what they really think about racism is that:
a) Part of what they think about racism has to do with you. Even if they say, “Oh, no, you’re not a racist,” this means they checked; they have thought about it;
b) They don’t want to deal with your emotions when the subject gets raised, whether those emotions are fury and anger, or sorrow and regret. (Do a Google search for white women’s tears and racism.) Deal with that stuff yourself.
Of course, he’s correct: They should have been hanged as traitors. But they weren’t, because, essentially, “The Civil War” was a white dispute on how to practice white supremacy.
So, instead, Black people were hanged: For the next century, and more, Black people were hunted like rabbits and strung up in like manner. All that energy, that should have gone into the cracked necks of white Southern generals, was “displaced,” and the traitors were memorialized with statues.
This is called, “Winning The Peace,” under white supremacy.
Black people are very used to white people, in one way or another, disbelieving, refuting, ignoring, or otherwise rejecting what they have to say about racism.
Indeed, for the most part, that has been my experience, here, on Spectrum, when interacting with you, @arkdrey, @Timo, @danny…I’d go on and on, but I’ve learned that, in this comments system, one can only post five handles in a single post.
So, by her age, or for other reasons, the 98-year-old Black female to whom you spoke might have been confused. She might have been imagining it. She might have been talking about an earlier episode in her life, or one that she’d heard about, like, say, the Evansville race riot in 1903.
However, a response like, “If such had actually happened, I would have expected it to be on the news or in the paper,” meaning, to the Black person, that, “That didn’t happen,” is something a Black female born in the 1920s, would know very well.
It was weeks before anyone knew the names of Breonna Taylor or Ahmaud Arbery, both unarmed and horribly killed. If a Black teen child named Darnella Frazier had not held a consistent, rock-steady lock on George Floyd’s head, and on his cop killer, we would not know his name, today, any more than you know the names bordering the June 15 cover of TIME:
So true, Harry. I have only been able to have a few conversations with Black people on the topic of racism where I sensed they felt free to speak their mind, and the only reason I believe I have been able to have such honest conversations is because I was able to make it clear to them that I know what structural racism is, and that I am not trying to get them to explain it to me, but that I simply want to know what it is like for them. What was their personal experience with racism? In every instance, they all had concrete examples of how racism had affected their lives. Some of them tried to soften the story a bit because they are talking to me, a white person, but they all had stories (plural).
I would love to have more conversations with more Black people about this, but it always seems so uncomfortable for them to share with me. I have been told that their discomfort stems from so many experiences where white people asked them about their experience, and when they told them, that white people almost invariably question the veracity of their stories or try to suggest that their stories are an exaggeration or they try to explain away their stories in such a way that the white person thinks shows the stories don’t represent examples of racism. Why would Black people want to tell yet another white person when they have not been listened to before, or worse, have been told their story just couldn’t be true? I mean why would the police arrest a black young man and take him to jail for expired license plate tags? Police don’t do that sort of thing, we all (white people) know that. It’s never happened to me, so why would it happen to a Black person?
What is the incentive for a Black person to tell such stories, especially if the person asking actually has a degree of power over them. I am a college professor, so why would one of my Black students feel safe telling me a story that makes white people look bad. I have to convince them it is safe, and even then, it is uncomfortable for them. I assume that telling their pastor such stories, or telling their white pastor that they support BLM when they already sense that their pastor thinks BLM is a violent, anti-police organization or that he believes it is Marxist, would be rather crazy. If I was a Black person in that situation what incentive would there be for me to be honest? I would most likely deflect the question and give some platitude, such as “God loves everyone, regardless of race, and so do I.”
White people need to stop assuming that just because no Black “friend” of theirs has never expressed support for BLM or has never shared a story about how racism has affected them, that that Black person believes that racism is no longer an issue in the US and that I, as their white “friend” am not racist in their eyes. I can guarantee you that almost every Black person I know, if they were to read the discussions here in Spectrum, would consider some of the commenters racist.
Harry I got to say that while I dont understand you I sure hope you keep posting. Having said that, you really dont t need the “you said, my response “ stuff. We all can read. But if you feel the need than go for it.
I’m responding because my name was mentioned obliquely. So, I’m reading all this but not sure what it’s about exactly - the point? It all sounds a little narcissistic. I don’t go around wondering what my black friends think about me - about racism or if I’m racists. I know racism is front and centre at this time; and I’m sure that’s why everything, everywhere is about racism. Or, is it that racism has always been front and centre… But how can we get beyond racism if that’s what we continually focus on. Someone once said, you are what you focus on.
It’s almost like asking, “How would you treat a person that you thought was Ukrainian, but that you also had reason to believe did not want you, or anyone else, to know this, and that you felt would become extremely defensive and agitated if you said, ‘Are you Ukrainian?’”
You might say, “Well, I would listen, to see if I heard a little bit of a Ukrainian accent.” Or, “I might see if they made references to certain Ukrainian sites, in a way that suggested more than passing familiarity.” Or, “I might talk about Ukraine, and see how they reacted.”
Things like that.
In a similar sense, I would listen to the things the suspected racist says, watch what they do, and note what kinds of things they say they think about, particularly as these things, directly or indirectly, pertain to racism.
It could, and I think, for many Black people, it does.
In my case, however, I try not to do so, because I feel I learn more when I don’t do that.
Well, I’d say, generally, it isn’t a topic, usually, but it is always “a,” or the, subject.
In my experience, because the racists are deceitful, secretive, and violent, the standard is extremely high.
As I told @ajshep, the only proof that any white person could offer me, to show that they are not a racist, would be to eliminate the global system of white supremacy and replace it with justice. Anything less can be falsified.
Estimates, for how long such a process would take, vary. But I’ve never had a white person offer to do this, let alone offer to do it before the end of a meeting.
This issue—“Is the conflict I’m having with this white person only ‘about’ ‘this matter, before us,’ or is it also ‘about’ race?”, in the way that you’ve described, is a very deep concern and ongoing problem for Black people.
Part of the reason it is is that many Black people do not believe that they should “blame everything on race.” They consider doing this a form of weakness, and, as they all know, white people typically do, also.
As well, many Black people don’t consider “everything” to be “the fault” of racism. “We do a lot of messed-up stuff on our own,” they urge.
Furthermore, some Black people want to “blame” racism more, but they don’t know how to make it “stick.” They suspect that the treatment they’ve received is racist, but how would they prove it, and who would believe them?
I don’t approach these matters this way.
First of all I consider all interactions between white and non-white people to be racial. (And, of course, if you do, you’re halfway “home.”)
Because those interactions involve white and non-white people. These are racial classifications.
(1) Anything said or done that involves white people, with non-white people, in social and/or material activities that are directly or indirectly dominated by White Supremacy (Racism).
(2) Anything said or done, by any person, in any place, in any area of activity, during any time that White Supremacy (Racism) exists.
(3) Any circumstance and/or event, that directly, or indirectly, is caused, or affected by the practice of Racism in any one or more areas of activity, including Economics, Education, Entertainment, Labor, Law, Politics, Religion, Sex, and/or War.
As well, I consider any conflict with a white person to be a racial ‘incident’:
Racial ‘Incident’ = Any conflict between any white person, and any non-white person, in any situation that is directly or indirectly dominated by White Supremacy (Racism).
Put another way, if I have a conflict with a white person, at any given moment, a question I can ask myself is this: "Why am I here, why is this white person here, and, in any way, did race have anything to do with why, at this very moment, we are here?"
I would ask that question, even before I get to the matter of what we are discussing, how we are discussing it, or whether what is being said is truthful, or racist, or not.
You might say that my approach looks at white supremacy as a field. By “field,” I mean “a space where certain kinds of events are likely”; e.g., a gravitational field, a quantum field, or a corn field.
The way most white people choose to discuss racism is in terms of their own conscious intent:
“Would I have treated my white co-worker the same way?”
Or, “Did I have ‘racial contempt,’” whatever that is, “in my heart, for my Black co-worker, as I spoke to her?”
I don’t consider any of that seaworthy. The first problem is that the racists dominate all people relations, and they are deceitful, secretive, and violent. So, even if the answers to those questions do affirm white supremacy, the white supremacists are likely to deny it.
For example, to the degree that a racist was involved, the case of Black jogger Ahmaud Arbery might be instructional, here. Currently, three men have been indicted and are awaiting trial for his murder.
But when the case was first studied by local officials, they looked at the facts, said that no crime had been committed, and sent the men home. No one was even arrested, not to mention indicted.
So, that’s the first issue: Determining conscious intent in the context of deceit, and leaving the issue to rest there.
The second one is that people, all the time, do things, then can’t say why they did them; “I don’t know what got into me.”
To imagine, then, that, when engaged in an act of Master Criminality, the white person I’m dealing with is going to perfectly and truthfully decode and reveal the racist content of their thoughts, speech, or actions—if there is any—is the kind of want for which even the least cynical say, “Keep wishing.”
Finally, third, the way most white people address racial matters doesn’t account for all the racism that has happened, and its possible effects; not to mention the, so-called, “subconscious” effects of it. (This goes back to my “Why are we here?” question.)
So, for these, and other reasons, to your question:
ANSWER: I try to deal with the issue, as stated. So, if it’s about my performance, I try and adjust what I do. If it’s a difference of opinion over an event, I try and work out with them what happened, as much as we can.
However, the sad thing, for white and non-white people, is that, given the history of the world, racism is akin to the Big Bang’s microwave background radiation; an effect, still hanging there, from earlier times, surrounding everything…except that, in the case of racism, the Big Bang never stopped.
So, it’s difficult, given this, to say, with certainty, often, “Is this person a racist?”
Someone told me that they were once friends with a family who ran a funeral home. This was in New York City, where buildings are close together, so they lived nearby.
These were lovely people, friendly and caring, with an excellent neighborhood service; all the celebrities were funeralized by them.
The only downside was, in close spaces, the members of this family always had a faint smell of embalming fluid clinging to them; one that, apparently, never came out.
Racism means white people often have a stench that they can’t even readily detect, but to which Black people are very sensitive. Trying to have a discussion with someone, opposed to you, about if or how they smell is typically a very difficult thing.
When that “smell” is one like racism, though—a source of communal wealth, power, and cohesion; when they have a stake in it—well, again, “Keep wishing.”
And, to your other question:
Under white supremacy, I differentiate everything that Black people do from what white people do.
Because that’s what the racists do, and they’re in charge.
At the risk of attack from all sides, I must say I am more than a little disappointed with how this discussion seems to have deteriorated to a point that someone like myself, who find themselves looking to move forward in doing what we might to adjust or dismantle those institutions that continue to affect most blacks disproportionally—I for one, tend to lose hope. It appears that neither side would be satisfied.
I appreciated the original article as an honest personal assessment of the situation. Much of what was presented, I have already accepted as reality. I also appreciated Arkdry’s passionate relation of his own experiences.
I appreciate Arkdry’s response to my question about Marxism within the BLM. At first I was a little concerned that the video was cut rather abruptly, but I was able to track down the context elsewhere, and am satisfied that, although I would have preferred a more complete conversation, the context does support the fact that the founders do indeed subscribe to Marxism as a whole. Nevertheless, I am not so comfortable with the suggestion that the movement would necessarily result in a Marxist America. I believe many (most?) who are currently supportive, myself included, are not going there.
While I also appreciate harryallen’s perception of the problem, I take issue with the assertion that as long as Blacks face discrimination, all whites are somehow racist. Most whites, I believe, have not been truly aware of the extent of the problem. Many are now. Those many are now supporting, pressuring and voting for change. While some may not agree with all of the changes, it is still a reflection of a growing understanding of the issue. To represent these whites as racist, does not help the conversation, and could more likely end the desired progress.
I am hoping that the wider discussion outside of this one, does not follow the same course.
I just wish more already had come to these realizations. In many ways it is common sense, but common sense seems less common than it ought to be. Although it has actually taken me some time to realize these things myself.
I appreciate that, @2humBaby, particularly because, as you say, you don’t understand me.
I also appreciate you saying you don’t understand me.
I expect to keep on posting, particularly when the conversation pertains to race.
I appreciate you saying that. @GeorgeTichy once said something similar, and I fear that my response to him was not as clear as it should have been.
However, the fact that he asked; that I was—to me, in my response—not clear; and that you are saying something similar, means that, this time, I expect, and have another chance, to be clear. So, in some part, this is to his credit, if I succeed, and to my detriment, if I fail.
I’m confident everyone here can read; the forum is useless is one can’t.
However, I’m not confident that everyone here knows how, or chooses, to talk about race in a way that is simple and clear, especially toward the goal of eliminating it.
This is especially the case with non-white people, who, many times, have the greatest need to talk about race, but often the least ability.
Additionally, I believe that part of the way that the white supremacists dominate non-white people is through confusion.
I feel that this is done at many different levels. But a key level is conceptual; that is, the level of ideas.
Ideas are in what we engage, here, on Spectrum. Because of this, when speaking about racism, I try to be particularly, conceptually clear, and avoid confusion.
There are many ways that I do this. However, one of the ways I do this is via a consistent written format in my responses.
One reason I do this is that I want non-white people, when scrolling through the forum, to be able to identify my post by this familiar structure; on sight.
However, the main reason I do this is because I want to keep the ideas clear, and simple.
When responding, I want to be able to, as needed, address each and every part of what the questioner, or accuser, has said to me, and not leave anything out
To put it another way—and this kind of gets to my response to @GeorgeTichy—I want to create an exploded-view diagram of the exchange.
For example, this is a diagram of a portable electric drill:
Perhaps it was “obliquely,” though I’m not sure how you are using this word.
I was saying that you are one of the people, as I recall, to whom I’ve said, “Most of the Black people you know don’t tell you what they really think about racism.” (I could be incorrect about this recollection.)
I was doing this in the context of an exchange with @ashep, where this detail was an important part of the narrative we were discussing.
However, I was also saying that this is a statement I have made to many white people.
It’s veracity is often seen in the surprise that many white people express during macro-scale outbreaks around race—“I can’t believe so many of you think this country is racist!”—as well as during micro-scale outbreaks around race—“I can’t believe so many of you think this office is racist!”
Black people usually don’t make these kinds of statements.
Because believe “that this country is racist!”, and that “this office is racist!”
Because the believe, they are not surprised.
That’s because they know.
Please try and be a bit more specific about the part you read, but of which you could not detect a point.
Please clarify to what you’re referring by “it,” and, especially, what you mean by “narcissistic.”
That is, as I understand it, the latter is a clinical diagnosis. Making one requires both training, and direct access to a subject.
Are you claiming the same?
If not, maybe you’re using the term colloquially, by which you mean to say, “It all sounds a little self-absorbed.”
To which I would say, there is nothing more self-absorbed, in the known universe, that the system of white supremacy.
That’s surprising, because, in an earlier exchange, you seemed somewhat outraged by the idea that one might say a white woman, who crosses the street at night, as Black men are approaching, is racist.
But, I’ll take you, at your word, that this is not a concern you have.
I think that the reason “why everything, everywhere is about racism”…is because everything, everywhere is about racism.
Some people already knew this. Some people are just finding out.
I would say that it has been, for those who see it.
Well, think of racism as something akin to a suspension bridge.
When you’re on it, you have to focus on it, in order to get past it.
If you don’t, well, then, just turn anywhere.
If true, that may be why I encourage people to replace white supremacy with justice.
The focus on justice…is just. It’s also lets you know “that racism has always been front and centre”
That’s because, when you focus on justice, you see more racism, if only in contrast to the justice on which you’re focused.
Sorry, I can’t help but laugh out loud a bit, because you seem to have no clue when it comes to the “relationship that crosses certain boundaries” that I have with many of my friends, especially those that I’ve picked up in my experience in team sports. There some things that we talk about which we wouldn’t even talk with our wives And I almost certain that neither you nor @bness understands what’s it like to leave the racial context behind, and achieve a goal for which all of the people involved are pushing each other in the purest expression of trust and support that I’ve ever experienced. I don’t think I’ve even experienced that level of understanding in my marriage, and I think my buddies would all concur about theirs, and my wife would agree It’s just different kind of intuitive understanding one can have with the other men, in a setting in which everything else beyond common goal is just noise.
Hence, it seems like neither of you had that experience across racial boundaries, so you end up generalizing your general sense of fear and discomfort as you project it on other people, and it’s both insulting, and hilarious at the same time.
If you think that any of them would be uncomfortable to speak to me about race honestly, I’m literally dying laughing right now
Two of the guys are cops now, so they do agree with Brian to a degree. They think judicial system is messed up, and that it recycles black people that were constrained to poverty and hooked on drugs… with cycle perpetuating generationally. They would disagree with Brian’s view of “white privilege”, except in some isolated context where they can say that’s a case.
Ironically, none of them would agree with you, Harry. I literally mean none. Maybe it’s just my crowd which shares similar ideological affinity… but the closest we have is a guy we all make fun of for constantly pointing to Illuminati symbolism in everything. But even in that case… it’s not what you make it out to be. And I can guarantee you that it’s not because I’m white. These guys pull no punches when it comes to expressing certain racial concerns… but we’ve grown to be a band of brothers, even though we don’t speak as much anymore.
So, sorry… you have no idea what you are talking about in that regard. I think both of you should avoid projecting your own insecurities and pedantic understanding of reality on relationships of other people.
For me “black” is simply a different culture, like that of a different nationality - which includes language, life style, possibly values, with no judgment, or value placed. Racism , to my understanding is bring obsessed with race. Admittedly, there’s a lot of that around.
That’s not something I’d ever say. I don’t even use the word “discrimination”; in these fora, or elsewhere.
My position is that racism has a sole, functional form: White supremacy.
I also hold that all non-white people are victims of racism, and that race is a global system that dominates all non-white people in all areas of people activity: economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war.
That is, in essence, the core concept of the counter-racist system I’m attempting to develop. That, in short, is what I believe.
However, I believe, and certainly expect, that everything else I’ve written here about race, over the last few years, fits with and locks into these notions. That is, they are designed to do so.
I’m not white. So, I can only tell of what white people are “aware” by what they say, or, perhaps, do.
Further, “white awareness of the race problem”—aka, of white supremacy—is not what most Black people want from white people, or in what they’re most interested.
What most Black people want is for white people to eliminate white supremacy, and to replace it with justice.
People “know,” and are “aware of,” issues, all the time; e.g., “I know I need to lose weight”; or, “I’m aware I need to clean out the garage.”
Certainly, awareness of a problem is important, in order to start solving it. But awareness of a problem is not the ideal state.
I think what Black people want to know is, change…of what, into what?
That may, or may not, be true.
In some systems, not agreeing with all the changes indicates that there is not understanding of the issue; think of putting together IKEA furniture.
This issue—eliminating white supremacy and replacing it with justice—is truly a matter of details, and not vagaries.
I’ve never represented white people as racist.
Indeed, many times, on this forum, I’ve said, “No Black person should ever call any white person a racist.” I’ve stressed this many, many times. I strongly emphasize this.
Now, what I do say is that, it is just for any non-white person, to consider any white person, for any reason, a racist suspect.
In other words, to suspect that any particular white person might be a racist.
Because the racists are, by reputation, deceitful, secretive, and violent.
Because they are deceitful and secretive, not only is it extremely difficult to tell which white person is one, but at the same time, it is also of critical importance that that non-white person knows who the racists are—because they are also violent.
As a result, to suspect any white person of being a racist, at any time during the existence of white supremacy, is something of a “middle ground.”
Doing so, you might say, is a form of racial due diligence.
I agree with you, if by “the same course,” you mean a path that does not eliminate racism (white supremacy).
To your point:
Morgan Freeman was promoting his new Science Channel series, “Through The Wormhole,” with Don Lemon on CNN when the conversation took a more serious turn.
Lemon asked the 77-year-old actor, “Do you think race plays a part in wealth distribution?”
“No, I don’t. You and I are proof,” Morgan told Lemon. “Why would race have anything to do with it? Stick your mind to what you want to do and go for that. It’s kind of like religion to me — it’s a good excuse for not getting there.”
Morgan continued, “If you talk about it, it exists. It’s not like it exists and we refuse to talk about it, but making it a bigger issue than it needs to be is the problem we have.”
I don’t think that there’s a singular black culture, anymore than there’s a singular white culture. A culture of someone from Caribian is very different from someone in inner city Miami, and substantially different from someone from Ivory Coast.
There’s certain consolidated black history in the experience of American black people in the US, but even in that case, there can be vastly different experience due to geolocation and socio-economic class.
What I wonder is how a parent of a student or potential student might feel about having their child called a racist and by extension themself’s being called a racist by a professor simply because they are not black? If I was a student or parent I would hope someone would give me a heads up.