Racism is terrible. I’m not sure where exactly to start this blog, but that feels pretty solid. If we don’t see eye to eye on that platform, you better buckle in or jump out. Now, obviously, racism takes on many forms, but for the purposes of this discussion, I’m focusing mainly on racism by white people against black people in the US. The path to this argument can take several different turns but I don’t have the time or attention span to explore them all. Now, again, we all know racism is bad – the oppression, marginalization, targeted violence/torment, etc. should have no place in our society. From the overt violence which stained the civil rights movement, to the engrained systematic oppression within our contemporary infrastructure, racism is completely deplorable. But that’s not my point here. So many social justice leaders can, have and continue to outline that more eloquently and passionately than I can. What I’m saying here is that it’s just plain irrational.
Full disclosure: I’m going to make some sweeping generalizations about racists and I have not interviewed any in preparation for this blog, so if you are a racist and feel misrepresented, please feel free to reach out to me. Now, let’s go through some common positions (from the past and present) we hear racist folks take and I’ll explain why they make absolutely no sense.
“Go back to where you came from!”
There are just too many great clap-backs for this classic jab, including:
“Bitch, you go back to where you came from!” or,
“You mean, Delaware?” or,
“That’s what she said!” (she being a Native American woman)
I digress. The real irrationality here is that, for the most part, Y’ALL BROUGHT BLACK FOLKS HERE! We were chillin in the cradle of life, feet up, spring water and berries with the fam, watching The Lion King (IRL). Y’all decided you didn’t want to do the work yourselves and had the bright idea to steal black people from Africa to work for you for free – granted: bold move. Decade after decade, your ancestors shipped tens of thousands of Africans to America – over 120,000 just in the decade after the cotton gin was invented. Your great-great Meemaw ‘n them were loving black folks (at the appropriate distance). Meanwhile, black folks had absolutely no choice in the matter. Africans were abducted from their homes, from (or with) their families, on a one-way trip to lifetime servitude in a foreign land.
So, let’s sum this up: You bring 600,000 black people to this country against their will, over the course of a couple hundred years. Then, because you can no longer legally own those people, you want to be like “okay byeeeee!”??…
Black people are more closely related to primates and thus are better athletes
Dude, your fault again. Let me preface this by saying the title of this section is a position held by some racists themselves, with the intention of dehumanizing black people. It is not the opinion of the humble author of this blog that black people are genetically/physically superior to white people in any way… But since you think so… let’s think about why that could be.
First, let’s go ahead and put out there that the factual scientific evidence proves this asinine notion of blacks being more closely related to primates to be completely false. We’re all kin – you, pappy, me, White Jesus, Black Jesus and Caesar from ‘Planet of the Apes.”
Now, hmmm… If you believe that black folks are genetically predisposed to being superior athletes and it’s not because we’re more animal-like, what could it be? Could it be because white folks went to Africa and selected the most physically fit black folks they could find and brought those peak physical specimens to the country and worked them literally to death, in extreme heat and adverse working conditions and made them breed and then worked those children in the same grueling conditions for their entire lives until they too could breed and begin the cycle again? I’m pretty sure that’s how Doomsday (the villain who killed Superman) was created. Do you think that might have influenced today’s generations of athletic black folks?
Black people are violent criminals
This is a tough one to keep on the lighter side of discourse, mostly because it’s such an infuriating position, given the circumstances, but let’s have a go, shall we?
Poor, marginalized people commit the most crime. Black people (and Latinos for that matter) have had to fight for every right they have been granted since abolition. Racist people want to pretend blacks were freed and “ALACAZAM!” …equality. Well, it didn’t exactly happen that way. Even if you fast forward through the decades and millennia of sanctioned rape, murder and segregation, that only brings you to a point in time where blacks are still under-paid for the same jobs, incarcerated at higher rates for the same crimes, and living in neighborhoods not afforded the same access to resources. And that’s not to mention the starting point of a government that (in all branches) is comprised primarily of white men, some of whom find it difficult to legislate in a fashion that may not put the best interest of white men first.
I can relate to some extent. If me and my homies were playing basketball on the good court with the new nets and no cracks in the surface, it’s damned hard to let this new crew get a run. But “ball don’t lie” – it’s an even playing field and if your squad has what it takes to compete on the same level, you’ve earned your place.
The issue is, some people want to focus on the results of the oppression rather than the recurring factors perpetuating it. If you take an affluent neighborhood and limit its resources to the same extent as those with higher crime rates, you better believe there will be competition over those finite resources. Tanner and Bradley will start having the same conflicts Kasim and Quincey are. Even though, as mentioned, T-Bear and Brad won’t be arrested as much for doing the same stuff as Q and Kas.
Hey, do you like metaphors? Ok, check this out:
It’s a race to economic success and social stature. Place your bets. The starting position of lane 1 is familial or objective demographical wealth derived from factory ownership, within which the factories have all the necessary inputs to produce highly demanded commodities and the labor to produce those commodities is free. The starting position of lane 2 is the unpaid workers of those factories – oh, and even when they’re not in the factory they have to wear t-shirts that say “will work for free.”
GO!… who’d you put your money on? No matter how fast and hard lane 2 runs, it’s like the person in lane 1 has the starting line at his toes and the finish line at his heels – he’s already made it. That’s how it feels to require laws to be instituted in order for you to have a better chance for equal consideration for success, yet still not have it. That’s how it feels to be outside of the pipeline.
But pity is not the point here. Hell, education isn’t even really the point. The point is that y’all racist folks have a really selective memory and are being petty about this whole situation. I just don’t see where the grudge comes from… like, by definition, I don’t see the possibility for a grudge to exist. And what’s all the anger and hostility about with your meetings and demonstrations and whatnot? You guys are winning! You’ve already won the chip like literally hundreds of years in a row. Also, your team owns the league. Are y’all just confused? This is like The Dream Team protesting the results of the Olympics. It’s like Meryl Streep beefing with the Academy. It’s like casinos being upset with gamblers for winning sometimes-but-not-really-that-much-actually. Is that enough similes? Ok, one more: it’s like foster parents getting really pissed if any of the foster kids make something of themselves (after enslaving generations of the kids and such – you know).
I’m really hoping that somehow this blog makes it into the hands of at least one racist white person and they read it objectively and think: “Hmm… Well shit.”
I know that’s not going to happen. However, if we can collectively start shifting our thought processes, actions, dollars and votes toward leaders, businesses, legislation, etc. that believe in prosperity for all (or at least a legitimate chance at it), perhaps that societal shift will occur organically.