Today's lesson, Racism. If you see something written here that you’ve said or done, use it as an opportunity. Take it as a wake up call and make the decision to grow, change and be conscious of your own privilege. Remember, I am not a speaker for the entirety of a people.
The active aggression narrative conveys intent. It implies that things are more dangerous, more violent, more malicious or simply more scary based on the addition of race. For example, “A Black guy cut in front of me” taps into an ingrained visual of the “Big angry Black man.” It implies a reaction. You’ll see this in many a retelling of stories but you’ll especially see it when there was some sort of reaction from the story teller. The addition of race, implies that things were scarier than they would be if it were anyone else. Your reaction to this “Black guy” cutting in front of you in line, no matter your reaction, was just and perfectly acceptable because look what you were faced with. You yelled at him? Wow! You are so brave. You hit him? My goodness, you survived something traumatizing Or perhaps what we’re seeing more likely to happen these days…You shot him? Well, he clearly had it coming. Sounds like he was a thug.
The active aggression narrative is associated with an action because that conveys intent. It places a visual of big, angry, mad…but you survived.
Over the next week, pay attention to when the use of race is used to describe someone. Don’t discuss it. Just pay attention. When is race brought into a story or conversation?
While those that criticize Americans for not being able to see past their own Americanized views are correct (In my opinion) in their summation. You’ve likely also noticed how other Americans suddenly decided that they want the conversation at hand to be about things outside of the USA.
This has become a common tactic of the bigot. Ever notice how when you prove them wrong, suddenly, they decide that you need to expand your argument to include the entire world? Ever notice that the very person who was ALSO speaking of American lives and traditions, suddenly wants to change the discussion to include people and places that they’ve never mentioned before?
Yes, this has become a common theme amongst the bigoted fools. Ironically, they also tend to leave their conversations at “What about Arabic people?” Yes, any group will do but here’s the catch, they don’t ever seem to have any backup to their argument. They’ll say “What about Japanese people?” but not actually KNOW anything about Japanese people.
For example, I recently watched someone try their hardest to explain something to a racist. When they started pulling out sources to back up everything they were saying, the racist then said, “Well that’s America. What about China?”
Now, don’t get me wrong, worldwide conversations are desperately lacking. That isn’t the issue here. The issue, is that people seem to think that if they say “Outside of America” that they win some prize. As I was saying before, this is coming from other Americans who also weren’t speaking of a world wide view. You see, what happened in the instance, is that the racist didn’t realize that the person they were talking to was a Chinese American. They knew only that the person was American and a Person of Color but not more than that. As you can imagine, I took great pleasure in watching as this same person started to school the racist on Chinese history as well.
Can you guess what happened next? I know you can. You’ve seen this too!
The racist said, they didn’t like the way they were being talked to and until this person started speaking kindly, they weren’t going to continue the conversation.
Up to this point, the racist had been neither kind nor world wide thinking. Yet, was under the impression that if they threw out a continent, random country or group of people outside of the US, they would get an automatic win. The problem here is two fold. First, it’s all about changing the rules when you know you’re losing the argument. We’ve discussed this before when talking about tone policing. Nothing new there. The second and in my personal opinion, more disgusting of the two issues is that the “Outside of America” place and/or people they choose, are simply pawns being played. They rarely, if ever, know anything about the group they throw out to “Win.” Yet, see no issue at all in using entire races and groups of people to “Make their point.”
Again, this is not to say that we shouldn’t be having more world inclusive conversations but that isn’t at all what was happing in this or many of the other recent conversations I’ve watched happen. While having world inclusive conversations is something we should strive for, throwing out groups of people simply to say, “What about this group outside of America” ESPECIALLY when you too are American, really does nothing but prove what a shit human being you are. People aren’t your pawns to play.
I saw this as an explanation for racist “Jokes.” This white person said that making racist “Jokes” about Black people was a coping mechanism because racism was such a horrible thing. This person even went so far as to start to explain the idea of “Coping.” I want to put this out there so we’re all clear on this…
A coping mechanism is for those that need to cope.
A Black person joking about racism is a coping mechanism. A white person telling anti-black racist jokes, is a racist.
I’m not going to say any more on this because I am going to choose to believe that everyone reading this is capable of critical thought. Seriously people, seriously. How is adding to the problem “coping” with the problem?
Racists will walk to the ends of the earth to take something from someone they think has something that they don’t. Notice, they want to take part in the coping but not so much the pain that inspires the coping mechanism in the first place.
The fatal flaw in human thinking is that many believe that some humans, the really bad ones, are different. The reason genocide has happened, is happening and will continue to happen is because in order for something “That bad” to happen, it must have been the doing of a monster.
It wasn’t you, your neighbor, your family members or anyone you’ve ever known. It was some vile creature who pulled themselves up from the primordial ooze. They are nothing like you.
The most terrifying video I’ve ever seen was of Adolf Hitler. It wasn’t terrifying because I was watching some cruel, heartless, soulless being. It was terrifying because he was flirting with his lady, Eva. He was being kind and sweet. This person, the man that all other evil beings are held up to for comparison, was lovely.
Lovely, to HER.
The most frightening thing isn’t that there could be other Hitlers out there. It’s that the Hitlers have alliances in the silence of “Good” people.
I worked with a woman once. Her Grandmother lived in Germany during the Holocaust. Only, she had a very different story. She talked about Hitler as if he were the greatest thing that ever happened to their country. She said that there was no crime after Hitler came along. She said many thing but the “No crime” part is what struck me unable to move. Jewish people were called rats. If you make the law, the law of killing the “Rats” is considered a kindness to both the rat and the “Good” upstanding citizens.
Who gets to decide who the “Rats” are? Why weren’t people standing in the streets screaming at the top of their lungs that this isn’t okay? Because the Jewish people were criminals, violent, murdering rapists. They were coming for your children, your money and your wife. They would be the downfall of society if they weren’t caged up and carted off. For the good of you, the good and decent people, of course. That’s what Hitler told you and Hitler seemed like he wanted what’s best for you, right? (Unless you were Jewish or of any other non-Aryan heritage, disabled or considered not “Perfect” in any way. But…since those people were bad, bad, bad, you shouldn’t care about what they have to say anyway….RIGHT?)
People often talk about how they would have said something if they’d been alive then. Tell me, when you see certain groups singled out and made to look like animals, do you speak up? Every genocide has a beginning. Every genocide started slow. Every genocide started as the “Good” guys vs the “Bad” guys.
Every genocide started, grew and became a murdering machine because someone powerful said “These” are the bad ones. It wasn’t the powerful ones who made it so easy to murder. It was those who agreed that “These” are the bad ones. Those who didn’t question. Those who saw what was happening, knew it was wrong and said nothing. After a while, saying something could lead to your own murder. Why does it keep getting that far?
NOW is the time to speak up and speak out.
One of the greatest crimes of history is that Adolf Hitler is the name you think of when someone mentions the Holocaust. Hitler could never have been Hitler if there weren’t so many people willing to believe his lies and let him lead.
Yes, Hitler was a monster. A monster fed and grown strong by the people. Many of whom, loved him.
1-Spiritual or Religious affiliation. By taking something from a culture that is a symbol of spiritual or religious belief and using it as fashion or “Decoration” you are not only belittling the culture and the importance of said item, you are also shrinking something culturally viable down to mere window dressing. A fad. Something to be taken up and then thrown away at will. No one’s culture should ever be treated so callously. It’s blatantly disrespectful but also, shows a sign of your belief in your own superiority over the group. Taking a precious symbol and reducing it to fashion is anything but showing respect for a culture. A culture of human beings should never be reduced to items in your closet.
2-Reinforcing negative stereotypes. People outside of a culture love to tell people within a culture what does and doesn’t hurt them. Non-Natives seem to live to tell Natives what causes harm to them as people, as a culture and as living human beings. Images like this, this, this and this are chalked up to girls just having fun or worse, girls who “Adore” the culture and want to support it. Except, there is no adoration in sexualizing an entire population. There is no respect, care or even humanity in these images as they directly related to this. One is not separate from the other. In fact, one is very much a justification for the other. By sexualizing a group of people, those people become…wait for it….wait for it…SEXUALIZED. These items that you call “Pretty” and “Fashion” and “Adoration of a culture,” are the very items, attached to your hyper sexual image, that allows such pain. To you, it’s “Fashion.” To the group that you are contributing vile and unforgivable stereotypes to, it is a matter of life and death. That’s not how “Respect for a culture” works. Unless, by “Respect” you mean, hate them so much that you go out of your way to cause as much pain as humanly possible.
3-We Make, You Profit. Those that steal from other cultures never seem to see a problem with it. They call it “Blending” and talk about how their thievery brings “Us” closer together. Nothing says “Togetherness” like taking something that isn’t yours, amirite? Many issues that stem from anger over cultural appropriation comes from those that get recognized for their work. One group does something as part of their culture. Someone from another group, usually a majority group, likes it, takes it and then makes a profit off of it. The recognition of someone doing something that another group was first ridiculed for, is common parlance of cultural appropriation. Those that see nothing wrong with cultural appropriation also see nothing wrong with one group doing the work and then another group profiting from it. It’s to bad the “Blending of cultures” that they are talking about never “Blend” the recognition OR the pay checks. Still, pro-cultural thievery people will talk about how “Good” it is to steal. Of course, they don’t see it as stealing. It’s blending. Ya know, how you work hard and pay for your house and then I walk in and take it without giving you a dime. Then, when you get upset that I just stole your house, I say…”I didn’t steal, I blended.” Yeah, it’s like that. The difference here is, with things like Headdresses, dance moves and bindis, they have a deep and long history with their respective cultures. Your house, has likely only been in your history for 30 years or less. Yet, “Blending” someone’s house would be a crime. “Blending” someone’s culture, is free form for the majority. As it has been for hundreds of years.