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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

RACISM IN EVERYDAY LIFE

     franz marc, blue horses



I have enjoyed the privilege of whiteness in America all my life. I take it so for granted that I never question it. I have empathized with black people for being outside the inner circle of whiteness. It's not just America. It's Mexico, Brazil, India. Everyplace where people are of various colors, whiteness is the one people of all shades look to as certainly the most arrogant of peoples. It's the same arrogance as the common belief that runs through all humanity that we are superior to the "dumb" animals that can't talk. All and any of them. By now, science and psychics have found the animal kingdom tremendously interesting, but we're still superior. Like superior is important. Superior is only about arrogance. Like blond and blue-eyed is superior to blond and brown-eyed inside the levels of racism among white people. White can't be half-Cuban, half-Chinese, half-Mexican. White is pig pinkness without pig-mentation. The mentation of a pig? Does that mean white dreams of being colored? No. Maybe some do.



When I was first learning about Indians of the wild west through the early years of b&w tv, I can recall regretting I'd been born white. I'd so much rather have been an Indian. Of course, I didn't know about concentration camps called reservations or the genocide interrupted by liberals back East. They spoke truth to me as well as church did. "White man speaks with forked tongue." Did I ever know that one to be true. I saw everyone in my adult world lied to me about anything and everything. Preachers, teachers, parents, relatives, people at church. It's custom in the white world for adults to lie to children. Children know it. I suppose there are kids that don't know it. There has to be kids whose parents don't lie to them. Of my friends who have raised their kids not lying to them, the kids have grown into intelligent, rational adults able to take an interest in something. Kids I've seen grow up who had hitting and berating at home on a regular basis have difficult times in their adult lives, one after the other, unable to see them self created, no one else to blame. That was the first place I tapped into Indians. They saw what I saw. They understood the white people I lived among very well.



One of the first things I noticed when I began to know some black people, they didn't talk like that. They told a thing like they saw it. They didn't seem, anyway from the outside, to have any denial among them. They couldn't afford to. They couldn't afford it where money is concerned or where race was concerned. Denial was reserved for the privileged. It looks like the higher you go on the money ladder, the more you embrace denial. Down in the laboring class they can't afford denial. This was one of the initial aspects of mountain people I embraced right away. I've not found denial among mountain people. Of course, exceptions come to mind, but they are exceptions, and it's new since tv. It's the culture of poverty among white people in the mountains. White people new in the mountains from the suburban middle class recoil in horror from my disrespect for denial. With mountain people, that's just how we talk. I used to think there might be a bridge between the suburban white middle class moving in and taking over the mountains like a social tsunami, and the mountain people. Television is making the mountain people more like the white middle class day by day, which is neither here nor there where judgment is concerned. It's the evolution of culture in ongoing motion. It follows its own logic like the ever-changing cloud.



It is awesome to look at the privileges of whiteness. Black people see it every day. People with Indian pigmentation, like Mexicans, are regarded with the same arrogance as reserved for black people. Racism exists because it is agreed upon by most of the people. I'm not talking about polls. Everybody all over the world agrees to the specific and complex rules of racism inside their own race, as well as other races. Even when we don't practice racism or think in racist terms, we know our place and are secretly, often even to ourselves, proud of it, no matter how smug we are about perceived racism. In this time in human history we're become aware of racism as not particularly desirable as a way to live in civilization. That's brand new. Racism was God's law until maybe a century ago. Attempts to undo racism everywhere on earth have a very difficult time with much regression. South Africa made great changes from the top down, but not much on the ground has changed. It's the same in the American South. Changes from the top down, laws made and selectively enforced, but on the ground it's the same.



It's a small minority of white people that even question our right to the privilege of being born more or less royal. It's automatically assumed to be our right. We're white. Collateral damage is not taken seriously in countries where the people are not white, like in the middle east today, probably Africa tomorrow. Canada is safe. We don't invade white countries, same as we don't invade countries with nukes. I'm suspicioning that Iran is working toward a nuke as fast as they can go as a barbed wire fence to inhibit invasion. They know what we deny, that they may be Persians, but to the American military they're sand-niggers just like the rest of the Middle-East. Collateral damage, no sweat. They know how racism works. They know that to white people they're the same as something without a soul, heathen at best. Like black men who want liberation for themselves don't want to include liberation for women, white people want it all for themselves and all the people of other races know it. While they've got it they're not going to give it up.



We white people don't even think about it. It's not an issue in our world. It's not an issue to call ourselves white in relation to a lily white Cuban, who is automatically colored by being Cuban. It is the very definition of the word absurd for me to look down on anyone Cuban for any reason but being shorter than me. Or anybody of any race. It's so complex that to think about, it's the same as watching clouds. Like the clouds have their flows that are a cloud's very nature, we in humanity have our own flows that run though all of us collectively, archetypes perhaps, racism one of them. It's denial to say racism is not a major issue in all of humanity. Maybe we'd understand history better if we could rise up from behind the shelter of denial and look squarely at racism without judgment in our collective past all over the world. I get impatient with people who judge the present Southerner for the racism of the Southern past. Like everyone I know who lives in the South says, I wasn't here then. 



Racism is not always as predictable as how the South is judged from outside the South. I'm not one to want to turn anyone I know who is openly racist away from it. That's not my business. My business is taking care of my own thoughts and actions. I have no problem treating someone of another race with the same respect I regard someone of my own race. In like manner, I don't have a problem knowing people and having friends who totally disagree with me politically, on matters of racism, what have you. I've had this gift all my life. I can't look down on someone from the ivory tower of my privileged race. Races to me are the same as different colored clothes. We often change races and nationalities from one lifetime to the next. It's no more than one cat has spots, another cat has stripes, the other is plain. They're cats. This one is such and such breed, that one another breed. They're cats. We're humans. We just do plain, without stripes or spots, a steady grade from piglet pink to roasted coffee bean brown.



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