Sunday, October 12, 2008

The Post Racial, Multi Cultural World: Get Your Avoid My Privilege Card Here


So clearly this is a racist image.  According to Springfield, Missouri's, this sign is located south of West Plains on U.S. 63. 


According to ALLVOICES this sign is located in North Carolina.

Well these are only visual representations of hate, why not hear it directly from the people promoting it.   Via Menstrual Poetry comes a video of McCain supporters in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.  Her commentary on the video is a good read.

This is just a small collection of some the hate speech that has been protected under the guise of free speech in the last few days.  We are all expected to show shock and awe at the virulence of these actions. Only whiteness would have the audacity to be shocked by this behaviour.

Let's see..hmm.. Every inch of North America is Aboriginal land which was stolen at the point of a gun, starvation, and the intentional introduction of disease.  Africans, or who we now refer to as African Americans were brought here in slave ships.  Even before arriving in North America so many died on the middle passage that it cannot be described as anything other than a genocide.  From 1607 to 1865 blacks suffered in the institution of slavery. They were beaten, raped and murdered.  They were forced to stand by helpless as their children were sold away from them at the whim of a white slave master.

image When finally white people decided to bring slavery to an end they simply instituted an informal brand of slavery with Jim Crow laws.  The KKK ran amok on the countryside ensuring that blacks lived in fear for their lives. This was the time when a family afternoon was having a picnic while watching black men get lynched.

Oh but that is all in the past isn't it? No one living now owned slaves.  Just like no one now benefits from making sure that blacks don't receive good educations and no one benefits from creating a prison industrial complex in which blacks are over represented that supports the economy of small towns while it exploits prison labour.  No one benefits from the continued destruction of the black family by the high rate of removal of black children from their mothers.  This must explain why in areas where corporal punishment is still practiced in schools black children are most often on the receiving end of the belt or rod.  If their own parents cannot handle them the school system must take extreme measures to deal with "uncontrollable behaviour", it certainly is not because of a legacy of the floggings that occurred during slavery.

A white man announces that he is going to kill two black men and society applauds, while no one bothers to question who or what created the conditions that turned these men into thieves in the first place.   But we have got to have a society of law and order, and so when police just happen to taser a black person person to death we need to recognize that it is all for the greater good. When they accidentally kill an innocent person, run one over, or pull one over for either driving a car that just looks to nice, or happens to be located in an upscale neighbourhood we should all take a sigh of relief that police are so proactive.  If you  watch television or movies, you should recognize that the black person is always the criminal, or is deserving in someway of social discipline.

image Oooops I better watch my tone, someone might think that I am angry.  Now where did I leave that honey jar I am supposed to use to catch flies with?  Only white liberals could have the audacity to express shock and awe at the racial attacks used by McCain and his good ole boy, white sheet wearing fraternity of supporters.  Really, racism still exists?? Yeah, no shit Sherlock, and every single black person can tell you a story of how it has negatively impacted their lives. Wake the FUCK UP, this isn't new, it isn't even original. 

From the very beginning of western society the major goal was to privilege whiteness.  Have you witnessed a coup of the government?   Did the aboriginals suddenly get their land back?  Did I sleep through the social revolution? Since none of the aforementioned occurred, how could anyone possibly express shock that racism is still an issue Newsflash, until white people start owning their privilege and questioning their right to rule racism will continue to be a disgusting virus running rampant in society.  Stop playing lip service to equality and claiming that you are shocked.  If you are "surprised" by what is occurring right now, it is only evidence of the degree  to which you have tuned out the systemic inequalities that blacks live with everyday; being intentionally obtuse is a sign of privilege.

It must be nice to be able to turn your back on the ugliness in the world because you were born white.  You can be angry and not "appear" threatening. You can say racial commentary and then apologize, cause hey you didn't really mean it. You can even justify threatening physical violence because you have a black friend. Right about here I was planning on doing a list of white privileges but you know what google unpacking the invisible knapsack your own damn self.  I'm tired of doing all of the work.  Whiteness exists with such extreme arrogance that not only does it expect complete servitude, it expects POC to pretend that we are not being used. 

OOOOPS did it again didn't I.  I had better remember to ask the unhusband to pick up honey when he goes grocery shopping again.  I simply cannot be naturally sweet enough when it comes to racism.  I think it is because unlike white people who get to intellectualize about it, every day of my life I have to negotiate it.  Every day of my life I have to worry about what effect it is having on my children who are biracial but look black.  It is the sickness that keeps me up at night and it is a fear that I have to live with, in a way that those who have never had to deal with it will never understand. The least that you could do is just acknowledge racism for the soul crushing thing that it is.  The least you that could do is stop pretending that it is getting better, or that it is non existent, because it is an insult to my very existence and a denial of my humanity.

OH BTW, voting for Obama doesn't make you a liberal anti-racist, there is no get out of jail free card for owning privilege.  Sorry to burst your bubble about the post racial, multicultural world. 


jjbrock said...

I like the way you express your self. Great work! Why we are talking about the hate that's out there. John McCain may need to consider just because his actions aren't intended to stir hate, they may in fact do so.

He may have been surprised to hear the words spoken by some of his supporters yesterday when some said they feared Obama was an Arab and a terrorist, but he should be aware at this point.

John Lewis is calling it the way he sees it. McCain has first hand evidence of some of the irrational fear and hatred out there. He himself may not be the cause of it, but he stokes it and in the mind of his supporters, he validates it when he uses the William Ayers attack.

The word terrorist is inflammatory. In matters of race, a wink and a nod can mean a gun and a bomb to those most extreme in their bigotry. If you're not part of the solution, then you can become part of the problem.

McCain and Palin have entered a very dark zone in their campaign, they are instigating hatred and destain for obama based on his character and person which encompass his heritage and culture.

We do not need a potential president and vice going down this road and encouraging people who may be partial to such thoughts and hatred to raise them. the campaign is giving these folks a platform to spew hatred and segregate the people in this country, and return to a society of divide and hatred compared to encouraging community and togetherness.

White Trash Academic said...

Great post Renee. I was thinking the other day what would have happened were the situation reversed and at an Obama function, the audience was shouting "kill him." I bet the MSM would have covered it more!

And, I cringe everytime I hear someone use the term "post racial." I often wonder what it must be like to live in that world...blissfully ignorant.

But then, I get angry because living in that world is a choice and I feel that if you are not actively striving to correct social injustices (and working to understand your own white privilege)then you are waste of space.

That rugged individualism, Ayn Rand kool-aid drinking, racist denying, white privilege ignoring BS just does not fly with me. But you say it much more eloquently :) I try to challenge my students on this all the time and most days I leave discouraged.

Side note: I was thinking about the argument between Elizabeth and Sherry on The View about Obama's ties to Ayers and how when Sherry got animated, Elizabeth told her to calm down (several times) and that this was not personal. Funny because when Joy got angry, she did not say this. I immediately thought what a great example of gotta calm the black woman down and put her in her place.

lee said...

these racial outburst by the people do not surprise me.It seems that the people were going to church-the most segregated hour. the more i see videos focusing on the ignorance of white people the more I fear for Obama. Black hate is deeply embedded in these religious people.

Ebony Intuition said...

Love the much as society tries to trick everyone into thinking that racism and hate for black people is gone, the elections are only proving that the hatred never left. It just went MIA for a bit and is back at full force.

Janet said...

Great article. It is a real shame that Barack Obama has to be denigrated in such a manner. We all want the same things out of life and the color of one's skin doesn't dictate that. John Lewis said what many were too afraid to utter. Sarah Palin, especially, started this by literally calling Barack Obama a terrorist. But, what's insulting is that her husband was a member of a separatist party until 2002 and she even spoke at the convention this year. So, what gives? It is a travesty that there are still elements in our society who clearly yearn for the days of civil unrest in this country.

Renee said... point is that it never went MIA. Racism has always been a very distinct part in society. In the states there are still cemeteries that are segregated so how people could even suggest for one minute that racism had been obliterated was a sign of their privilege.

Ebony Intuition said...

Let me correct what I said, White people and non blacks try to make it seem that racism has gone MIA. But both you and I know that it never did. Which is why this is a great post.

Allan Wallace said...

"The least that you could do is just acknowledge racism for the soul crushing thing that it is."

That is truth. That Racism still exists is very sad. That slavery still exists in this world is horrible.

Slavery is as old as the world, racism is at least as old, every nationality that was not isolated has a history of both. Our ancestors all wandered in tribes, clans, and gangs - we are not so different as many suppose.

My ancestors in Scotland fought off raids of slavers and looters. If we had slaves there - it wasn't mentioned it in my family's histories - of course.

But bitterness and accusation and calling names in righteous indignation solves nothing - and makes many matters worse. Sadly your article is as negative as the presidential campaign - on both party's sides. Neither wants to solve problems, neither will if elected. They just spend time building anger to support their power.

I expect more from someone as erudite as yourself than what we hear from two quisling senators feathering their own nests with scalps of sanity.

There is a route away from history. As we leave the bureaucratic age, we can individually influence our collective future.

Technology offers opportunities based on performance - what matters most is hard work, ethics, knowledge, and a willingness to build a reputation built on those factors.

There is an escape from the racism that is directed toward and from all races, but it is not easy; and it will not be won by name calling, oneupmanship, and playing with anger.

We not only need to provide ladders - we need to be sure they are leaned against the proper wall.

Build a new foundation since the old one is corrupt.

Use technology to redefine relationships. This new era will last a very long time, but it is approaching quickly. We have no time to dwell on sins of today - much less those of the past. We must grow past old hatreds and the reflections of heat contained in those hatreds. to develop a new awareness; and new collaborations based on reputation.

We can create an era of individual and team achievement unbound by age, location, nationality, or other arbitrary social rules. But not if we cling to the failed models that are crumbling around us.

This is important:

The future does not now care what tribe our ancestors wandered in. It will only care if we refuse to mature as the human race.

We can drag a mutually horrible past with us like chains on a slave, or we can break from the past and embrace a liberty that is yet to be won.

cchiovitti said...

I came across a great website the other day - "Hillbillies for Obama". It was great! (not a joke either, they've got great signs and got Mr. Obama's attention and a handshake at a rally the attended) - great supporters!

On the flip side I read a blog post that said basically "Obama-Biden" was a secret message to "Osama BIn Laden". How lame. said...

Fantastic post!

Some one I care about once said "you can catch more flies w/ honey, but why the hell do you want to catch flies, anyway?"

Keep doing what you are doing, please.

pizzadiavola said...

No one living now owned slaves.

Thanks for pointing out that bondage--financial, institutional, societal--still exists, to pernicious effect, even if it's not called slavery.

pizzadiavola said...

White people and non blacks try to make it seem that racism has gone MIA.

Yeah, Ebony Intuition, because there's no such thing as racism against POC that aren't black. Is that what you're saying?

Renee said...

But bitterness and accusation and calling names in righteous indignation solves nothing - and makes many matters worse. Sadly your article is as negative as the presidential campaign - on both party's sides. Neither wants to solve problems, neither will if elected. They just spend time building anger to support their power.

Right, so your answer is that I should simply ignore racism when I see it because calling it out is a display of anger. Nice attempt at social discipline using the ABW code (angry black woman)
Ignoring the existence of something does not make it go away.

Ojibway Migisi Bineshii said...

Awesome, awesome and awesome!

Renee - again your writing, words and the power behind your words is amazing!

Notice how in this video there is only one woman who says something. They are dominated under the male chauvinistic patriarchy.

@EbonyIntuition - Can you clarify what you are saying about this: "Let me correct what I said, White people and non blacks try to make it seem that racism has gone MIA. But both you and I know that it never did. Which is why this is a great post." It seems like you are saying that POC who are not black have not experienced racism. As a Native American Ojibway woman I have experienced this many times in my life. Also you never hear what is going on in the lives on the First Nations people of this country. On every level society hides us and pushes us away from even being seen. We are not seen and no one wants to look at what was done on this land to our lives and people.

Lisa Harney said...

Drew Hayden Taylor said something once that I really identify with as a trans woman, but it applies across so many oppressions:

The first five or six years of Native theatre was angry, which makes a lot of sense. When an oppressed people get their voice back, they will write about the oppression. Tompson Highway likes using the saying, "before the healing can take place, the poison must be exposed." So in my opinion, having been there, that's what was happening during those early years. That poison was being exposed. The oppression was coming out in all these writings. It was all very dark, very angry, very accusatory.

Racism in the US is something which is constantly filled with more poison. Just having a voice isn't enough, because when you work through the bitterness from what's happened before, there's new stuff - like everything happening with Obama.

Allan, when people are maligned daily just for who they are, it is well beyond the pale to expect them to be positive, or to claim this shows they don't want to solve anything. White people don't have any business telling people of color how to deal with racism - that's a racist act by itself, because not only are white people laying the burden of racism on POC shoulders, but then they tell POC how to carry that burden and under what circumstances they might be allowed to set it down.

People of color cannot afford to ignore racism. White people can because racism not only doesn't hurt us, but it actually benefits us, and benefits us more if we pretend it doesn't exist (thus letting all white people off the hook for practicing racism).

People of color don't have that luxury. Forgetting about racism, ignoring it, pretending it doesn't exist is dangerous.

As a white person, you're not in a position to tell people of color what their priorities are supposed to be.

steadycat said...

Thanks to Womanist Musings for the article. This is my first time visiting your blog and I agree with what you have said/written.

@Allan - It most be beautiful to live in a Utopian world? I would like to live there too - once it exists. I am an ex-electronics engineer. I trained every electronics engineer that was employed after I was. I was good enough to train people - but never good enough to have a salary higher than the entry level white people that I'd trained. There were only two blacks in our department and our salaries were the lowest. I barely got a raise each year. Yet, I was the expertise needed to train the white recruits. It was justified because my yearly reports would make it seem as if I could barely do anything on my own. How convenient. Again, it must be beautiful living in a utopian world based on technological honesty. Are the 'powers' going to be the same racist/sexist people running our technology today? :-)

flewellyn said...

But bitterness and accusation and calling names in righteous indignation solves nothing - and makes many matters worse. Sadly your article is as negative as the presidential campaign - on both party's sides. Neither wants to solve problems, neither will if elected. They just spend time building anger to support their power.

Boy howdy, do I get sick of this equivocation bullshit.

Clutch your pearls some more about the horrible spectre of anger, won't you, Allan? Because anger is just so horrible and wrong and frightening, especially in a black woman, that it must be quashed and shamed back into hiding. It helps if you can do some finger-wagging about how Renee is "making matters worse" by upsetting the poor fragile white people with her anger, too. This not only lets you reassert your white privilege, but claim the moral high ground while so doing! It's a twofer!

No, truth be told, anger like Renee's is justified, and healthy, and necessary. Righteous anger at true injustice is the only thing that has ever worked to change things for the better. And if you're going to equate the vile hatred spewing from the conservative whites who fear losing their unearned privilege, with the righteous wrath of one of the oppressed speaking out against her oppression and that of those like her, you will become complicit in the perpetuation of this oppression.

Pan said...

If you look at history, as in Early history, then it is considered that our species originated from Africa, we are all African's (hooray), common descendants who spread out before the continents divided. If you look at recent history, all Americans originate from Europe (cool), then the rest of the world and the Native American Indians were the original and respected caretakers of this land. Surprisingly, it's not the Natives who discriminate, given all the atrocities and crime against them, but, the minority of white simple Americans, who claim to be great (lol).

Greatness is strength, strength is natural diversity of common components of the same species, and strength of character is accepting your diversity and embracing it with love for the greatness it represents in you. Love is both selfish and selfless, selfish love is about your own needs as a human component of the species, Selfless love is about empathy with others whose pain you share by natural association. Racism is underdeveloped awareness, ignorance of beauty in diversity, a common aspect and natural development of human diversity.

What is the beauty of night? And what is the beauty of day? The beauty of day if you are blessed with sight is the ability to distinguish, to appreciate the beauty of difference in all its many wonderful arrays of color, shapes, forms and even without sight we can appreciate shape, form, texture in some cases a deeper sense in the meaning of touch without sight. The beauty of the night, the human battle field anywhere in the world, the identity of your enemy is gone, all forms are black, shadows and forms in the nights sacrificed in blood, which is all so black liquid in the dark of night, whilst during the day the bodies are identifiable as the beauty in diversity of skin color except all the blood is now red, mixed and the flow of human energy as diminished into dust.

I often wonder if we all were white, or all black, green or orange what would we find to hate and when we expend so much energy on hatred, what is the objective of the negative energy in the flow of existence. If hatred is a dimension of your being, consider love, love can be expressed in the most basic human relation as reproduction, the production of common children with needs. So if the dimension of your hatred is so virtuous whose blood on the battlefield are you willing to spend, since in your ignorant hatred it will be the multicolored army that defends the public interest and not your ignorance!

Those lucky enough to survive the ignorance of hatred, return changed men and women, carrying some of that negative energy through life, back in to the communities where over time the hatred becomes a common aspect in the nature of common social communities, rich and poor, who practice the hatred you preached so many lives away with, but, the color of blood is always red and in the beauty of night, we are all shadows diminished by the loss and beauty of day.

Rachel said...

Thank you, Renee. I'm not shocked by the behavior of people at that rally-- just pissed.

Anonymous said...

But bitterness and accusation and calling names in righteous indignation solves nothing

Actually that's not true. This post, and those it links to, made me realise a racist framing of my own I'd been using about the election - and the "vinegary" tone (as opposed to honey) was part of how it did so.

Sometimes bitterness is a sign that the person speaking has a lot to be bitter about.

(SunlessNick, also ProfilelessNick)

Delux V said...

@ Allan We can drag a mutually horrible past with us like chains on a slave, or we can break from the past and embrace a liberty that is yet to be won.

The very fact that you could roll into Renee's blog babbling that smarmy, condescending and clueless tripe means that there is no "we" in this, merely you looking from a position of privilege on high and telling the uppity Black woman to stop being so angry. Why dont you do yourself a favor and learn more about the community building and institutions that Black Americans have been building and maintaining for centuries? I mean if it is so vital to you to know whether or not we are doing something besides being so angry that it upsets well meaning whitefolks?

@Flewellyn, that was an awesome breakdown!

Otherwise, Excellent post, Renee!

Westerly said...

I'm so glad I read this post. (I followed the link through ABW.) It's excellent, on point and I agree with every word.

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