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View Diary: BARRIERS & BRIDGES: On Being Called a Racist (280 comments)

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  •  I would tip you, but I can't since being black and (24+ / 0-)

    having made comments concerning racial disadvantage in various posts, I had my TU privileges taken away... That said, great post.

    I have recently come to realize that when white people hear the term "racist" or "racism" they think KKK style racial hatred and James Byrd, Rodney King type vicious violent bias.

    On the contrary, I do believe that when many of us black folk talk about racism we are referring to the many fold little slights that happen to us day to day - those millions of paper cuts that in the end bleed us to death -  being followed around in the store (by the often black or brown security guard whose job depends on making sure to protect the store from black menaces);  the getting passed over for promotion - when we can even get the job in the first place, the lower rates of call backs for job interviews even when we have a college degree compared to the higher rates for white male felons without a degree, the being shut down in public forums, the endless traffic stops and subsequent undue punishment...

    In other words we are usually referring to any number of slights from the very very very rare occurrence of racial hatred to the very real consequences of the opposite of white privilege, which is black disadvantage...

    I'm super frustrated with Obama and Dems - by god, I am tearing out my hair!

    by karanja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 08:24:40 AM PDT

    •  Fine points.... (14+ / 0-)

      And I'll repeat part of this to highlight.

      I have recently come to realize that when white people hear the term "racist" or "racism" they think KKK style racial hatred and James Byrd, Rodney King type vicious violent bias.

      On the contrary, I do believe that when many of us black folk talk about racism we are referring to the many fold little slights that happen to us day to day - those millions of paper cuts that in the end bleed us to death

      I hope you get your privileges (rec and rating) back very soon. Why someone who writes so clearly and honestly has been punished baffles me.

      "It is only for the sake of those without hope that hope is given to us." Walter Benjamin. More sane debate on the Moose

      by Brit on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 08:32:31 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  "Black disadvantage" (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brit, Sarea, COwoman, gramofsam1, SoCalSal

      I wonder how much better the conversations and debates might go if we talked about things under this frame, instead of "white privilege".

      Justified anger does not grant you unrestricted license.

      by GoGoGoEverton on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:07:21 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I think a lot of (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Anak, SoCalSal, Onomastic, evergreen2

      white people also think that certain situations exempt them from being considered racist in other situations, even though they are racist in some situations.

      For example, the diarist mentions that a family member adopted a non-white child as an 'exemption' of some sort.

      Well, I knew a woman who adopted non-white children who thought she was then exempt from being considered a racist.  Direct quote: "I can't be a racist.  I've adopted..." whatever race it was that she adopted.

      At work, she was a total b** toward both of the AA coworkers of ours.  The animosity toward them was inexplicable.  One AA was an outspoken male, the other was a reserved female, so the animosity does not seem to have been personality based.

      More recently, at my former employer, my boss was extremetly hostile toward an AA program director and an AA in property development; however, she was not hostile toward her AA low-level subordinate.  Again, her hostility was simply inexplicable.  I believe that she is deeply racist [she is also hostile toward Muslims].

      The difference seems to be related to the power the white person has over the non-white person.  The white person appears to be okay with non-whites that are under his/her thumb, but are hostile toward nonwhites of equal or superior standing.  I think people like this are racist toward non-whites that they have no power over.  

      I'm white.

      The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

      by dfarrah on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:07:34 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Great observation (22+ / 0-)

      It rings especially true in my case.  I was one of those unthinkingly privileged who thought of racism in the overt way, until about 20 years ago when I saw a special on 20/20 where they had a white man and a black man dress identically, have an equally middle class appearance, and gave them both identical resumes.  Their experiences of looking for an apartment, looking for a job, buying a car, and buying new shoes were placed side by side on camera, and they were filmed very close in time with the same apartment manager, sales clerks, etc. Needless to say, the black man was treated very differently, and often openly disrespectfully, but in a way that could not be pinned on racism except by comparing it to the experience of the white man.

      I was shocked out of my complacency then and there.  I had known intellectually that this kind of "soft" racism was happening, probably under my nose, but I literally could not see it until I was hit over the head with it.  With the program I got to witness it in very clear-cut terms.  All I could think of was the relentless nature of this black man's experience, which was every black person's experience in this country, how overwhelming and exhausting and hopeless it must seem.  I wish everyone could see that program just to get the tiniest sense of what it must be like to have to cope with this extra, unjust burden every single day, of every week, of every month, of every year, for a lifetime, and for generations.  

      Which side are you on?

      by wiseacre on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:17:26 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  indeed - those million papercuts that cause us (12+ / 0-)

        to bleed to death... I find that my anger has risen and indeed my resentments and fear and all sorts of negative emotion - and even then, I still count myself lucky for not having grown up here to have experienced this from birth.

        My heart bleeds for my nieces and nehphews who have never known another world, and for the tens of millions of Africans of the diaspora who have had generations of this!

        I'm super frustrated with Obama and Dems - by god, I am tearing out my hair!

        by karanja on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 09:25:19 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  this is the real "white privilege" right here and (9+ / 0-)

        because it happens so subtly a lot of us just never realize it exists.....

        I've always been poor, lived most of my life under the poverty line yet in reality I did have advantages in employment and life in general...It really showed when I had a small landscaping company and I would get jobs other crews, Mexican crews, had bid on even not being low bidder, through the simple advantage of language and color....They would rather pay more and hire my crew than deal with a Mexican....sad.......

        It is possible for a white person to lose that privilege though...Just grow long hair and a beard, wear some ratty clothes and all of a sudden your every move is under scrutiny....I can't walk out of wally world without getting asked for a receipt while around me clean cut members of all races are ignored.......

        But this I can change, skin color can't be.........

        Vaya con Dios Don Alejo
        I want to die a slave to principles. Not to men.
        Emiliano Zapata

        by buddabelly on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 12:36:37 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Sent to Top Comments. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brit, poco, Dragon5616, JanF, evergreen2

        FDR: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.
        RNC: The only thing we have is fear.

        by smileycreek on Mon Sep 19, 2011 at 01:26:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

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