Sunday, August 12, 2018

Why the Hell are White People Angry?

I  try to steer clear of racial generalizations because as writer Tom Cordle so aptly pointed out, 
“posting about race is a bit like pulling the pin on a hand grenade, and then finding it stuck to your hand.”
The idea that whites feel neglected and forgotten is ridiculous.  Clearly, were that the case, they would have voted every incumbent Republican out of office.  After all, they sat on their hands for eight years and blocked legislation that would have helped them; healthcare, infrastructure, broadband, education and every job bill introduced during the Obama administration.  So the idea that white people are economically frustrated and feel abandoned is nonsense.  Moreover, the economy didn’t suddenly experience a great resurgence, but in fact is on the same trajectory it has been on for the last nine years.

I wrote the following post in 2012...I could have written it yesterday. 

Ugly, racist outbursts have become as routine as a sunrise, but as Michele Bachmann made reference to yet another "tar baby", a political operative warned of "the President’s need for bullet-proof  teleprompters", and Ted Nugent promised to "die or go to jail if President Obama is reelected", I realized that I am weary.  I am weary of sock monkeys, declarations about food stamps and "blah" people.  

I am weary of petty Palin histrionics, fabricating Faux Fox News and lascivious Limbaugh lies. I am weary of the depiction of the Black president  as an ape, a banana-eating jungle monkey, an African witch doctor, Hitler and the devil.  I am weary of watermelons, fried chicken and blackface.  I am weary of dog whistles that are cleverly crafted to permit deniability and victimization; partisan (racist) political pundits, Monday morning Presidents and I am beyond weary of the white supremacy that drives it all.

On Up w/Chris Hayes, a young white woman declared that

“white people are afraid because there are stories about Blacks killing whites and then you’ve got the New Black Panthers….and the Justice Department isn’t doing anything about them….She meekly made reference to Black-on-Black crime."

Whites are afraid?! The very idea is laughable.  White people have been beating, burning, lynching, drowning, dehumanizing, criminalizing and shooting people of color since colonial times. And white people are scared of Black folk? Blacks have far more reason to be reticent in the presence of white people.  

Blacks are not the ones who mutilated, burned and  strung people in trees.  Blacks don’t burn crosses on peoples lawns, scrawl racists messages on people's property or bomb
their homes. White people do.  And there has never been concern about who the violence of whites harmed, nor an urgency to pursue and punish the perpetrators. 

This is the same country that subjected people of color to eugenics and sterilization; the same country that allowed a hundred thousand people to die from pellagra when they knew the cure. This is the same country that allows the police to beat, imprison and kill people of color with impunity. Even the hatred and violence of whites is privileged.  

Who else does this?

A highway sign
Someone's home

A man awoke to find his tires slashed and graffiti on his truck

In Snellville, Ga., a boy on the school bus told a 9-year-old: "I hope Obama gets assassinated." That night, someone trashed a front lawn, mangled the Obama lawn signs, and left two pizza boxes filled with human feces outside the front door.

A Florida man charged with attempted murder and hate crime for shooting an African American man in the head expressed disbelief over his arrest, telling officers that he "only shot a nigger."

Sadly, there are countless stories like this, yet the focus is always on Black crime, particularly Black-on-Black crime.  Black-on-Black crime.  The very term makes me seethe, but it has been so religiously propagandized that even Blacks use it themselves. President Obama and a host of other Black political figures are more than willing to parrot this racist stereotype that looks more to pathology than to the concrete fact that the vast majority of murders are intra-racial.   Most often, whites kill whites and Latinos kill Latinos, yet, neither white-on-white crime nor Latino-on-Latino crime exist. 

The criminalization of Blacks has been so complete that when asked why he was against diversity, a young white college student replied, “because they commit all the crime.”  I remember when Reagan’s Education Secretary, Bill Bennett said: “…..if you wanted to reduce crime, you could….. abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down.”

The summary below lists the racial breakdown of the arrests for violent offenses reported to the Criminal Justice Information Division of the FBI.  

Arrests, by Race, 2012
  • Of all adults arrested, 74.3 were white, 24.0 percent were Black
  • White individuals were arrested more often for violent crimes than individuals of any other race, accounting for 66.7 percent of those arrests.
  • The percentages of adults arrested for murder were 40.2 percent Black and 58.3 percent white.
  • Whites accounted for 66.7 percent of arrests for violent crimes, Blacks accounted for 31.7 percent. 
  • Whites accounted for 71.2 percent of arrest for property crimes, Blacks 27.0 percent
  • Of arrests for drug abuse violations, 74.5 percent were white, 24.3 percent were Black.
  • Whites accounted for 70.6 percent of arrests for aggravated assaults, Blacks accounted for 27.7 percent
Invariably, someone will go to great extent to remind me that Blacks are only 14% of the population; of course this entirely misses the point. If someone shoots me, I don’t give a tinker’s damn about demographics and neither would anyone else.

Recent reports point out that "whites and Blacks use drugs at the same rate...14%". In raw numbers that means there are roughly 27 million white drug users to 6 million Blacks who use drugs. If there is a war on drugs, where are all the white drug prisoners?

Still, whites define Blacks by their every deed and misdeed. Why don’t they define themselves in that way?  Instead whites measure themselves by their greatest ideals and everyone else by their least. Whites make the most incendiary, violent and racist remarks about the President in particular and Blacks in general, but a mere appearance of a Blacks in "rightful" protestation and whites dispatch the National Guard.  

Fox News and the likes of Rush Limbaugh concentrate more on “what they believe Blacks will do” than on the question of why they should ….do something. Many expressed concern that Blacks would riot. But an examination of the riots that have taken place in this country throughout history speaks more to an affirmation that rioting Blacks are finally embracing “the American way” than anything else. 

Since 2005, the Southern Poverty Law Center has tracked hate crimes.  It isn’t Blacks who are waging a campaign of hate and intimidation.  It never has been.  It isn’t Blacks who give voice to racist rhetoric day after day; nor is it Blacks who advocate violence cloaked in shameless lies about false unity and patriotism. 

Whites unfurl their insulting redneck confederate flag in the name of heritage; a heritage of human bondage, treason and war; a war that killed 600,000 Americans.  Yet, it is an accepted symbol of pride and patriotism.  But if Black people display the slightest symbol of solidarity, a raised fist, a chant or a demonstration, whites are intimidated to mindlessness.  Blacks say “Black Lives Matter” and whites retort that “white lives matter” , because everything has to be about them.

How absurd is it that whites can recognize the shame and degradation symbolized by the swastika and fail so miserably to accept the demoralization of the Confederate flag; a banner that represents an American holocaust? 

The delegitimizing and criminalizing narratives about President Obama and Blacks reflect not only a politic of contempt, denunciation, and fear-mongering, but furthers the idea of some whites that no one has a right to live within these borders but them…”this is our country”… “let’s take our country back”.  Consider the sheer stupidity in telling Blacks, to “go back to Africa”.  Just try to imagine Blacks yelling, “Go back to Poland.”

Writers pen racist screeds like John Derbyshire’s Avoid Concentrations Of Blacks,' 'Stay Out Of' Their Neighborhoods”; a talk with his children.  Among other things, Derbyshire disparages the intelligence of Blacks. I wonder why he didn’t tell his children about anti-literacy laws and Brown vs Board of Education.  Why didn’t he tell them what it took for Blacks to go to school at all, let alone with white children?  Tell the story, but tell the whole story.

According to The Southern Poverty Law Center, the New Black Panther Party is a racist and anti-Semitic organization whose leaders have encouraged violence against whites, Jews and law enforcement officers. Even the original Black Panther Party of the 1960s and 1970s, a militant, but non-racist organization have rejected the New Black Panthers as a “Black racist hate group”.

I certainly don’t condone such hatred, but while the SPLC lists 5 active Black separatists  groups, they list over a thousand white ones. Whites have not called for the Justice Department to investigate a single one of them. The Ku Klux Klan terrorized the Black community for decades and whites were silent.  In fact, they were even sanctioned by the United States Supreme Court!

What whites are missing is that the outrage about police shootings is not a Black/white issue,  it’s an anti-Black issue. It’s a police issue.  There is something sad and sick about the need to justify the killing of an unarmed young man.  Particularly when one considers that police went into a movie theatre, in pursuit of a man whom they knew was armed to the teeth, wearing body armor and had shot 70 people. They arrested him without incident, but they had to kill a 12 year-old Black boy playing with a toy gun in the park.

The picture of the paper target is faceless, but the hoodie, the Skittles leave little doubt that it is meant to be Trayvon Martin. Who does this kind of thing?  White people.  Yet, they are pissed!

I originally posted this in 2012, at the height of Donald Trump’s birther movement and when the Tea Party was steeping in political glory.  So as I listen to today’s rhetoric, I’m trying to understand where people thought all the nastiness during the Obama years would lead.  I keep trying to see what has changed.  Nothing.  It’s the same old racist nation it has always been. Anyone who’s been paying attention should expect racial effrontery from the Republican Party. For decades, the G.O.P. has been a safe haven for bigotry and racially divisive tactics and strategies.

So the great “race conversation” will never take place because in order for it to have any real meaning it requires historical accountability, honesty, and humility; a face to face encounter and acknowledgement of the violent underbelly of America.

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