cans of worms

After hearing, then reading, all the crap about Roseanne and the scurrilous commentary of hers (and an amazing number of like-minded responses), I started to really think about racism in this country.

Racism is nothing new..more than likely it’s been around since Neanderthalls wandered around clubbing each other.  But, it isn’t right. It goes against the basic tenets of the majority of faiths… basically everyone believes it is immoral..even those of no faith.

So why is it so blasted prevalent?

It isn’t inherent. No baby wakes up one morning and suddenly decides that another baby with a different shaped eye or nose, a different color of skin is better or worse than they. Stick little ones together and they play.  So where did we go wrong?

Well, actually..that isn’t the question I need answered.  Not since Trump et al made homophobia, misogyny, and racism the gold standard of political behavior.

I guess what i really want to know is, what are you all going to do to stop it?

Tweeting is all well and good, but it won’t stop the pain someone feels when they are discounted for their religion…or skin color.

Railing against the belief that one is better than the other in b log posts isn’t actually doing anything…not to change behaviors and attitudes.

I heard a bunch of talking heads last night..the discussion was all about the racist agenda of our government…but no one..not a single one of them had a clue what to do about it all. Ignore Trump and his cronies? Call out Trump and his cronies?

So, I am giving some common sense advice here for the whites.  Believe me, anyone of color already knows this stuff so they don’t need to read or do anything at this point. BUT the whites? Well, we are terrific at shoving our heads in the sand and bewailing it isn’t ME doing it!. And you are probably 1/2 way correct. We all have to admit that we have an inherent bias against anyone that looks different from us. Until we do, nothing will change.

Do you even know what inherent bias is though?  It is the tiny snub that tells someone else “I am better than you”  or “he/she is better than you”. It is thinking Christians are better than Jews..or Muslims..or Buddhists..or Atheists.

Do you recognize when others are showing inherent bias?

It is being in a grocery store and having the clerk ringing up a person of color stop and say to you (the white dude or girl) I’ll be right with you, sorry”.  That little bit of showing the person of color is wasting their time and ours. Do you say anything?  Usually a polite person will say “no problem” or something along those lines.  This reinforces to the person of color that you also know they don’t count.

How do you feel about what I just said?  Are you uncomfortable?

Inherent bias shows when you see a young man with dreds walking down the street and you hold your purse or briefcase tighter.

It’s when you see a young black man running down the street and automatically look for a policeman chasing.  Never mind he is wearing a jogging suit…he’s black and running. Must be a crime somewhere, right?

Or you see three African American women with suitcases leaving a house…you call the police because you do not recognize them. It doesn’t ever even occur to you they are Uber travelers, does it?

It is pulling away just a bit from a person of a different color, you just need a little more personal space than if they were white.

It is thinking, or saying “you are awfully pretty, for a ___ girl”..whether the “black” or “hispanic” or “Asian” if ever spoken aloud.

It is seeing a woman in hijab or a man in a kippah and thinking “go back to your country”…it never occurs to you they are Americans.

It is failing to make eye contact with a person on the street, in a store or library, on a sidewalk or in a Starbucks..because they are a different race or creed.

It is thinking that one race is more capable than another of crimes..or having police interventions.

Until the WHITES look at themselves, accept that they are indeed racists, then working on FIXING it so they begin to believe every human is a valuable member of society, we will never get rid of racism.

Those now thinking “but the Blacks (or Hispanics, or Asians, or Muslims, or Jews, etc etc etc) need to do the same” are racist. until you understand in your hearts and souls that we whites taught the blacks (and everyone else) to react in a negative way, you will never get rid of your inherent biases.

Changes have to start with the ones promulgating the racism.  That would be the white members of our society. Until we stand up and say “I am a racist, but I am working on myself to make positive changes when it comes to human relations and equality” nothing will change.

By NOT telling that person sharing a racist joke that their behavior is unacceptable we become complicit. By NOT telling that cashier that he or she is treating another human being as less than themselves we are complicit. By NOT calling out that statement that one group of people is comparable to animals, we become complicit.

Personally I refuse to be complicit anymore. I refuse to let people get away with showing their inherent biases. I refuse to allow myself to get away with any. If that comes across as being “rude” so be it!

I won’t ever change the mind of a white supremacist or a neo-nazi…I won’t even change the attitudes of those holier than thou charismatic christians…but I can change myself.

And maybe, just maybe, the kids that hang out with me..the people that I call friends and spend time with..will see and then find themselves thinking about their own biases….and change.

What about you?

 

20 thoughts on “cans of worms

  1. I’m more of an ‘un-jerk supremacist’: those who are not jerks, of any race, religion, orientation etc. etc. get more of my respect, although I have compassion for everyone, since it’s hard for the jerks too. As a white person but not mainstream white, I have friends and have had spouses etc. who are not white, of many religions or none, many levels of disability, financial situation, genders and orientations, etc. People just need to treat each other well, and I agree that actively not participating in racism is crucial, especially for white people, and anyone in the privileged crowd, to do.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ‘spouses etc’ ….. that’s a very amusing term.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. And you haven’t even met them….

        Liked by 2 people

      2. lol donna………………

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Compelling read ….

    Liked by 1 person

  3. It is about fear. We fear what we don’t understand and we take a naturally negative view of what we fear. It is in the interests of those in power to keep us in a constant state of fear and so many of our illogical biases can be traced to the particular stream of propaganda we have been drinking from. It is up to each of us, therefore, to examine our own fears and biases and establish whether or not they have any basis in truth. Often we are simply running scared of our own shadows.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Well said. We were raised to see equality versus privilege by our parents. We are raising our boys the exact same way. I wish it were just that easy. To change it in one generation…or two….or even 20. It’s as old as humanity…within in a few hundred thousand years, at least. We learned to distrust each group as caveme….er, Neanderthals…and it’s not gonna change easily. I wish I had an answer though. To the , “Why can’t we all just get along?”, question. 😔

    Liked by 2 people

    1. i’ve been asking since the 1960’s..and am getting so tired of having to ask.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. I hear ya’. It’s so deep rooted, it’s nearly part of the human DNA, it seems. I just don’t get it. But I wish I knew how to change it. 😕

        Liked by 1 person

  5. Some people can do what they can, and others have moved to lily White areas where they never come into contact with anyone who looks different than they do. Tim Wise mentioned something on the MSNBC town hall the other night, and I applauded him. White flight harmed the next generation, and the next. Part of the problem with race relations is that people were not afforded the opportunity as children to socialize with those of different colors, religions, and cultures. Not having that experience, they are unable to recognize the dog whistles; their privilege. They think that saying “I don’t see color” is correct, but it’s why they fail to recognize when POC are being treated unequally.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. it annoys the holy hell out of me to hear someone say “I don’t see color”…I always ask them..”are you blind? I didn’t know”. Of COURSE we all see the colors (unless our eyesight is permanently damaged)..it is how we react to those with differences that shows whether we embrace equality or not.I am mixed races..so I consider myself simply a human first. I was raised to believe I was white with all the southern privilege that comes with it..I CHOSE after finding out my genealogy to embrace all of me..not just the “majority” part. It has enhanced my life doing so…and opened my eyes to how people treat each other.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Jane Elliot has said that when people say they don’t see color, what they mean is that they don’t see what makes them uncomfortable. She asked, “Do we see gender when we look at a person?” You and I have something in common. I am also of mixed race. It’s truly an experience and in my opinion, an experience of tolerance.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Jane has a much softer opinion of people than I.

        Like

  6. Suze, welcome back. You write a great commentary and I have missed your thoughts lately. You and I would love to retire to that cave in the Mediterranean and let the world pass by….but we can’t. The world needs us.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I’ve been looking into this too. Sometimes I find the need to “check my privilege” when I feel that knee-jerk reaction because I AM white and I have NO idea what it’s like to be treated like a second-class citizen. I have no idea what it’s like to be fearful of raising a son and having to tell them how to react if and WHEN they’re pulled over by the police because of their skin color. (My friends have shared their stories with me and it’s heartbreaking.)

    I know what it’s like to work at a job where it’s assumed to be “men’s work,” and THAT was pretty crappy at times. But…I could go home. I was still a woman, but it’s different when it’s about skin color. I’ve heard some TERRIBLE things said by well-intentioned white people. Even in literature, it’s ASSUMED that the characters are white until the author says otherwise. I NEVER noticed this until it was pointed out to me. Now I can’t unsee it! Sometimes, the writer will ONLY describe the skin color of the non-white characters. I’m not saying that skin color shouldn’t be discussed. The whole “I don’t see color is rather insulting.” To everyone! But you’re right!!! Change HAS to start with the majority, the ones with the most voices (and votes) to make positive changes happen.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. thanks Juli..for your thoughts, your determination and your compassion. The world is a better place for having you in it, IMO.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you!!! (HUGS!!!!!!!!)

        Liked by 1 person

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