Thursday, March 4, 2010

Warning: Approach with Caution.

As I write this post, I want to state that the issues I am about to bring up are extremely controversial, and if you do not have an open-mind, I suggest you do not read it because honestly, it will upset the close-minded. (And I use the term "close-minded" although I contemplated using the term "feeble-minded" because I am trying to address this situation from an unbias position, although it will be difficult. Also, I do not want to stoop to any level that is below both my intelligence and integrity as an educated young person in a society that claims freedom of speech, a freedom that has come to be defined by negative speech rather than positive speech. {Doesn't saying "I love you" have just as much/if not more power than saying "I hate you"?})

I cannot focus on my homework. I cannot think about anything else right now except I am feeling. And honestly, I do not even know how to begin this post. I could just come right out and yell and scream and curse and degrade a person who I do not even know and, due to certain statements and actions, do not wish to know. Or, I could try and rationalize what this is all about; I could try to understand where all of this hatred comes from; I could try to deduce what all of this says about the United States in its present state.

...I think that is what I am going to do, and so, I am going to post this website for you to glance over before you continue reading this post. (Please take the time to at least read the first paragraph; it is essential to understanding my "anger", for lack of a better word. Maybe "thoughts" is the word I should use instead...)!/notes/deen-muhammad/black-students-white-schools-the-killing-fields/370058935476

My friend (who shall remain anonymous) received this link only a few moments ago from an individual (who we both know) with the message, "Just wanted to give you some insight." (This individual will also remain anonymous, although I will state that my friend is Caucasian/White and the individual is African American/Black.) Now, I consider myself an extremely open-minded, rational individual when it comes to the discussion of social issues in our world. However, both the website and the comment really, really...really bothered me.

I would like to begin by saying that my friend is one of the most genuine people I have ever met. My friend is kind, generous, loving, caring, extremely bright and would never do anything to purposefully insult, embarrass, degrade or hurt another human being. So for this individual to send my friend such a link suggesting that she lacks "insight" is something I find extremely insulting (as does my friend). Furthermore, the individual's distribution of such a link to my friend suggests in some backhanded way that the individual is taking out her frustration with the Caucasian community on my friend in an attempt to point the figure at "her and her racist kind".

This, however, was not the first incident in which my friend has been singled out by this individual. While my friend does not see herself as Caucasian and the individual as Black, but rather sees the person behind the skin, the individual consistently points out that the main difference between my friend and the individual is one of race: one is White and the other is Black, and due to this intrinsic difference, the individual wakes up every morning feeling "different", while my friend leads a life of "White privilege." (Note: Everything in quotes is something that was said by the individual.)

Now, I understand that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion on race and racism in the United States. I, like the individual, am also well-versed in concepts such as racism, White privilege, discrimination, equality, etc. However, I feel as though such issues and such attacks should not be made on a person unless it is a) provoked, b) between two people who have developed a relationship in which such issues can be discussed with a mutual respect for conflicting opinions or c) the situation calls for such a discussion. I do not understand why this conversation occurred between my friend and this individual the first day of their meeting or why the individual felt it necessary to send my friend this link tonight at random.

I guess what I am trying to say is this. We all know our country's history with racism, and we all know that racism remains a very prevalent and glaring issue within our country still. However, racism is not a racially exclusive term. Racism affects every race, whether Black, Latino, Asian and (arguably) Caucasian. Furthermore, discrimination is not politically, economically or socially exclusive. Discrimination affects every ethnicity, whether Jamaican, Italian, Irish, Puerto Rican, Indonesian, Chinese, etc., every social class (even the wealthy), and every person who makes his or her politic status known. In this way, I think that personal victimization is something we should wholeheartedly take into consideration as something we shouldn't do.

Is it fair to say that the Blacks faced a worse racism or persecution than the Jews did during the Holocaust? Is it fair to say that racial issues in the United States are more "racial" than racial conflict was in Uganda or is in South Africa? Is it fair to take our own personal stories of discrimination, persecution, abuse, degradation and pain and say to a neighbor who has also dealt with pain, "No, you don't understand. What I went through was worse, and because of that, you have to feel bad for me and recognize that I am stronger and better than you"? Is it fair to downplay others' tragedies in order to make oneself feel bigger, stronger, or more confident? I feel like the answer to all of these is no. It is absolutely not fair.

I want to apologize for posting on such a heavy issue. And I also want to reiterate that this is all just my opinion, and you in no way, shape or form need to agree with me. In fact, I encourage criticism and different points of view. I am just so tired of the finger-pointing, the name-calling, the choosing-sides. Aren't we adults? Don't we have educations, whether academic, social or otherwise? Don't we want to unite as a country to fix ourselves? So then why do we do this? Why do we say, "No. It's YOUR fault." Well, guess what? If we finally come to understanding of "whose fault it is", is the situation going to be fixed? If we place the blame on the white people for the racism in our country, is racism going to go away over night? If we place the blame on the republicans or President Obama for our current political and economic situation, is everyone going to have a job in the morning? Will everyone be able to afford healthcare? The answer is no. And we all know it is no.

So when do we all start holding ourselves accountable? When do we look in the mirrors and say, "This is just as much my fault as it is my neighbors." And at what point do we realize that facebook notes, blog posts, newspaper articles and any other examples of freedom of speech that speak against Caucasians and their "racist ways" is racism in and of itself? I lost a friend at 5 years old to racism. I went to her house, and she told me we couldn't be friends because I was white. Is that not racism?
If it isn't, then I really don't know what is.

P.S. I know certain individuals do not think that such websites should attract attention and spark conversation because they are a waste of time as they are products of "ignorance", but I just want to say this. Ignoring sites and statements and articles like these and NOT talking about the underlying issues is one of the main reasons why racism still exists in our country today. Ignoring it doesn't make it go away: it gives it power.


  1. I cannot read the facebook post because it states "it's temporarily unavailable, or expired, or I'm not allowed to access it. So, now what?

  2. It's entitled

    and the first paragraph reads:
    If you are a Black student at a white school, then you will face and be confronted with institutional racism (white supremacy) from kindergarten through grade school. I want to be clear. Any school accredited by Caucasians; financed in whole, or part by Caucasians; including HBCUs; intently, purposely, perpetuates institutional racism (white supremacy).

    I say that to you not to discourage.
    I say that to you, so that you will have clarity.
    I say that to you, so that you can get your mind right for the fight in front of you.

    The following articles, books, video links, cartoon panels are very simplistic attempts to reinforce the fact that Caucasians collectively have not changed, and do not intend to change. That is why institutional racism (white supremacy) perpetuates for their posterity, as a legacy. Caucasians collectively do not intend to end racism (white supremacy). Be clear.

    Then it goes on to list headings suchs as "White Teachers Accused of Mocking Black History" "Racial Tensions Boil at UCSD" It shows a picture of O.J. Simpson, etc.