Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Pulling The Race Card

There are many that still contend today that we have moved to a post racial world.  We all bleed the same red blood and therefore whatever differences that occur in power distribution have everything to do with a lack of individual will rather than systemic racism.  Doesn't it just want to make you want to sit around a fire singing Michael Row The Boat Ashore?  Do you feel warm and loved?

image Today when you point out that something is racist, or that a white person is failing to acknowledge privilege, invariably you will be told that you are "pulling the race card".  It seems that for some calling out inequality is the equivalent of pulling an Ace of spades out of a deck of cards; the ultimate trump  card, meant to arouse white liberal guilt and thereby twist the situation to our benefit.

In a word, bullshit.  My life and racism cannot be reduced in this way.  Such language is inflammatory and bigoted.  It is no different than accusing a woman of "crying rape" or telling gay people that they have a "lifestyle" instead of a life.  Racism is real and it has a negative effect on my life's chances, as well as creating me and in fact all people of colour as "other".

The heart of this issue is that whiteness does not want to be called on its unacknowledged privilege.  It wants to continue  its hegemony thus ensuring the rest of us are securely marginalized in its benefit. To challenge whiteness in any way is to risk being called a militant hater. 

When the Reverend Wright spoke about his feelings about whiteness immediately the media denigrated him without considering the historical accuracy of his statements.  The same liberals that love to quote Dr.King (pre 1963)  are the same ones that expect us to believe the utopian lie of equality and sit in silence while they push the fauxgressive agenda. 

Pulling the "race card" has become part of our common language.  Casually reporters ask if someone is "pulling the race card".  Is this really a racial issue? Since we are not a racially blind society then the answer is yes..and it is always yes.  We view everything through a lens of difference rather than one of commonality.  If there is an opportunity to benefit from that difference then it will be even further enlarged to benefit whiteness.

Racism is not something that people of colour play, it is something that we experience.  It is something that we live with and it is hurtful and damaging.  No one has the right to question the legitimacy of the experience by asking if someone is "playing the race card".  In fact the question exists for the sole purpose of allowing whiteness to question the seriousness of racism.  Simply by asking if a person is "playing the race card" it infers a lack of legitimacy to the complaint.

Racism happens systemically but is experienced personally; therefore even if two POC disagree about whether an incident is racist or not, all that matters is the opinion of the person that was impacted by the action.  No one can judge the feelings of another and therefore no one has the right to decide unilaterally that something is not racist when another person of colour has declared it to be so.  There should be no standard "reasonable person" when it comes to racism.

The next time you hear the words "race card" fall from someone's lips, think about what it is that that they are really asking.  Why is a secondary declaration necessary after a POC has already declared that they are a victim of racism?  Why must we belabour the point as though the feelings of the victim are inconsequential.  We would not tolerate such questioning of another victim and therefore we should not allow it when it comes to racism.




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