Friday, December 19, 2008

It's Christmas Can't you hide your ignorance?

This is going to be a cryptic post in order to hide the identity of the persons involved.  One of my best friends just called in a state of shock.  He is the only black man at a management level in his department.  He gives one hundred and ten percent to his employer and fellow associates.  Quite honestly, if you have him as an employee you have a very valuable resource. 

At Christmas most feel it is time to show their appreciation to others for the hard work that they do each day.  It came as no surprise when he received a token gift. He was pleased with it until he realized one thing.

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This little Christmas treat came in two shades.  All of the other workers, White, Filipino, and Chinese received the lighter toned Santa, while my black friend received the dark  Santa.  Many thought that this was a hilarious joke.  Yes, why not remind someone of the painfully obvious, he is black and a minority, ha ha ha how fucking hilarious.  Do people think he does not know he is black  every time he looks at his own body?

I am infuriated on his behalf.  He is a good man, and deserves better than this.  Despite all his hard work, intelligence, and gentle soul, what people still associate with him is the blackness of his skin.  Is it any wonder they call Canada the great white north?

This gift is all the more ironic given our conversation earlier today, when I explained why I listened so closely when white people spoke before I would consider them for friendship.  You see it is quite common to hear expressions of racism directed at other minority groups.  Some feel that if they are not speaking about blacks that I should not find offence, but what it says to me is that they have they ability to deny their privilege. It further causes me to question what are they saying about blacks when I am not standing right next to them? A racist against one minority is a racist against all.

I am not as well liked as my friend.  This probably stems from the fact that I am far more vocal about what I will not tolerate.  I have been told that I am overly sensitive and miserable.  I make people uncomfortable.  There was a time when I was hurt by this, until I realized that their discomfort stemmed from the the fact that they were not free to display their ignorance, racism, and hostility in my presence.   I have been lectured about choosing my battles.  To that I respond, every time a human being is being devalued it is my problem. 

I may be an angry black woman, but it is not without cause.   I am offended by the privilege and racism that gets passed off as a harmless joke; while its sole purpose is to create someone as less than and reaffirm a hierarchy of beings. The denial of the daily racist acts which people of colour must live with infuriates me.  This shit is not funny. 

I am further exasperated with the whole "I am appalled and shocked that this is happening" as though it is news that racism is something we deal with every day. Save your shock and awe for the first landing on Mars.  What the hell did you think racism looked like, a bed of fucking roses on a summer day?  It is your own blindness that you are astounded with. 

Black people have been calling this kind of shit for heaven and a day and what do we get but resentment and denial?  It's not really that bad anymore, look there is a black president.  Well great for Barack, but he is not the only black man on the planet and just look at the racist attacks he had to put up with to become president.  Oh I forgot you didn't know racism was that bad.

Well for those that were dreaming of a white Christmas I suppose the answer is not to pray for snow, but to ensure that they do their very best into turning what should be a peaceful holiday into a celebration of privilege.  Racism is the gift that keeps giving.  Each act compounds upon the acts of the past to render the person of colour as not only less than, but marginalized and forgotten.  The double bonus of allowing these racist acts to go unchallenged means that the next generation is set up to enjoy the privilege that their parents had.  What a legacy, who wouldn't want to bequeath that to the future? Peace on earth and good will to men indeed.


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