Do you think that the above quote could be applied to both sides of this debate? It seems like the latest and typical narrative of racial relations in churches today is that white TODAY are RESPONSIBLE for undoing the injustice in the past by means of checking in their “white privilege” at the door. There seems to be a tremendous failure on behalf of the next gen black youth as to why such concept is both naive and unfeasible in concept of modern culture that chosen the route of individuality to resolve various problems that were cause by prejudicial approach to group identity.
And that’s what that “groupthink” ideology is ignoring. There are no “white people”, just like there are no “black people”. This categorization is an arbitrary concept which could be done to any number of attributes that people share. Yes, there are people with white skin, but that’s not what defines a person enough to ascribe “white people” as a group identity. Yes, there are people with black skin, but that’s not what defines a person in order to ascribe some “black people” as a group.
Amplifying these identities isn’t how you get to convince me that we are not that different after all, and that’s the paradox of this discussion. No one is forcing people into cultural cycles that exist today. These are cycles perpetuated by IDENTIFYING WITH THAT CULTURE. I rejected my culture, and that’s why I’m in US today. I don’t like the fact that people in my original cultural context are alcohol-dependent for cultivating relationship contexts. I don’t like the fact the moral relativism is the de-facto cultural “rule of law”, and I don’t really like the obsession with dubious “glorious past” in order to give some justification for dilapidated present. I rejected my culture, because I can see the problems.
So, yes. It’s very true that “white man” is responsible for the “black cultural context” of today. The cyclical poverty and fatherless. Lack of education that perpetuates that poverty and fatherless. The violence and the crime that results in the culture of anger and competitive necessity to “be important” and “be respected”. I get all of that.
I grew up poor, and I had to make my way out using sports which is brutally competitive and violent in some context. I left USSR alone at the age of 15 and grew up in NW Miami. When I was leaving my father said that I have to think of myself as “of lower status than blacks in US”, and I didn’t understand what he meant until I’ve experienced that. I wasn’t allowed to work legally. I couldn’t get a student loan. I had to get “under the table” work here and there at the rates far below the market value, and I had to claw myself to the top destroying my body for entertainment of other… so I EARNED MY PRIVILEGE I have today.
So, naturally, for any person lecturing me about my “white privilege” or those of my children I ask if they would be willing to go through the hell I’ve been to in order to land where I am. I’m not sure I’d do that again. And at the same time there are plenty of white Ukrainians today who would switch places with “poor black people” in the US in a heartbeat. You can’t truly contextualize poverty unless you’ve seen the world.
So you don’t get to cast a group identity on individual context, because that’s how we get to racism in the first place, and that’s where the greatest disconnect in this conversation takes place. I get desperation. I get hopeless states and limiting circumstances imposed by the societal structure. I get the need to band together and appeal for restructuring the society to have a more equal access to opportunities.
BUT. You can’t do that successfully by casting all people into some “privileged class” by merely judging their present state of position in society. It’s like walking up to Mohamed Ali and claiming that his achievements have nothing to do with his path in life and only because of his “black athletic privilege”.
You can’t carry a productive conversation that lacks these nuances because you automatically lose and alienate people like myself… even though I want to support the plight of poor and marginalized people of color. But it’s very difficult to do so when ideological presets of the modern “civil rights” demand one to reject one’s personal achievements and chalk these up to some “undeserved privilege”.
I’ve already heard that narrative somewhere, and that’s the very reason I left Ukraine, which still clings to this Marxist ideological past in many societal contexts, and that’s the very reason why it is in perpetual hole of poverty that it is today. People keep blaming everyone else for keeping them in poverty, while most of their time is occupied with activities that do nothing to improve their state, and perhaps making it worse.
That’s one of the biggest problems with Marxist “solution”. It equivocates inequality and success with immorality. And the moment you swallow that ideology, you are shackling that culture to the perpetual state of dilapidated mediocrity, because it’s a culture of “crabs in the bucket”, pulling each other down in order to feel some “unity and equality”. And I lived in the poverty context to see what such mentality does to people.