Freethinking isn’t free
This blog post will cause MUCH controversy and honestly I would not have it any other way! I must keep my promise of a follow-up to “Color Coded”. Quite frankly, I’m exhausted even talking about it, but many people solicit my opinions on this. So, I won’t sugarcoat my opinions nor placate anyone’s feelings. Last fall in DC with some associates, I discussed this topic at-length. “Is America a racist country?” Like then, I couldn’t objectively say one way or the other. Warning: To the perpetually butthurt right-wingers and rabid Marxists alike, this will not be an ode nor a smear campaign against my country of citizenship. To those blindly patriotic right-wingers, I say this:
If you truly loved your country, wouldn’t you critique it instead of hiding behind the cloak of blind patriotism which requires no nuance, gray area or afterthought? Just flags and American dream dogma you’re so entrenched in! So much so, that you’ll defend the state before your fellow citizen when they’re killed by cops or have their rights violated. Every single time! The scorching irony of simultaneously advocating for small government and trigger-happy policemen is irresistible.
To the rabid Marxists I say this. Clearly, you have gotten no results from your repeated attempts to upheave the criminal justice system, and I’m unsure whether you really desire to. After all, dead Black people are a lucrative stream of income for fundraising. Meanwhile, their widow(er)s and families never see a penny. If you truly want change, rethink your formula. Or maybe you just want “change” – $$.
How did the grievance from Part One pan out?
The lawyer who arbitrated over the case ultimately upheld my grievance partially. I received a refund from the organization for the sum I paid to ship my belongings to me but I didn’t have enough evidence to back up my other claims. Which begs the question… How the hell do you tangibly prove racism? Secret recordings? (If your state has one-party consent). Spy cams? Telepathy? That type of behavior is usually kept on a tight leash because it’s just not considered publicly acceptable anymore and we can only go off subtleties and cowardice.
Countless times I discussed this question in different circles and people get upset that I can’t unequivocally deny that America isn’t racist. In the same breath, I can’t unequivocally say it is. What is the metric for such a question? Better yet, what is the objective metric to explore this hypothesis? Which factors are we investigating? Indeed, race still matters. If it didn’t, why does it play a role in every major area of people activity? Economics. Education. Entertainment. Labor. Law. Politics. Religion. Sex. War. Health.
If it did not, then why do statisticians use it as a variable in data SO much? You bet your bottom dollar that if you go to your local high school right now and open a McGraw-Hill or Pearson social studies textbook, you’ll see the different races listed underneath a pie chart or bar graph. Pie charts and bar graphs about home ownership rates, homelessness, stats about who lives below the poverty line etc. You name it. Race is 102% the key demographic, with a 2% margin of error!
Racism – personally speaking…
Being Black has been beneficial for me too. In college, I received a scholarship to study abroad because of the White House Initiative on HBCUs. If I were not Black this would not have happened. I was also invited to the White House by a sitting President twice. Not many people can say that and I understand the gravity of these blessings. Black privilege baby!
The consensus when I’m abroad is yes, it is a racist country. A consensus that I genuinely don’t know whether to defend or agree with. But then I put on my thinking cap and remember America never defended me so why should I defend her? Would it be disingenuous to do so, all while denying and ignoring my own racist experiences? But at the same time would it also be disingenuous to cosign their feelings and overrepresent the issue?
Is “equality” actually equality?
The idea that the indefatigable racism in the US can be defeated is laughably unrealistic. These issues have existed long before we did and will after we are gone. I’ve seen firsthand that far too many people live in ivory towers and care more about people’s violent reactions to racism than the actual racism! Even going beyond slurs or stereotypes like thug or welfare queen and seeping into one’s actions. By the way, the miseducation that demanding concessions from the government you pay taxes to is somehow shameful, is ludicrous!
On the other side of the extreme of the racist types is people who overcompensate to Black people. Disclaimer: I realize other people may experience racism but can only give my firsthand account as a Black man. The patronizing undertone and overzealous approach people oftentimes have to right the wrongs of the past is odious and implies that we are inherently not equals. That you should cater to me like some pitiful pet that needs rescuing. This cartoon below illustrates the difference between equality and equity.
Three people are trying to watch the baseball game behind their backyard. However, they are of different heights and so they need different amounts of footstools to accommodate them. In the right photo, you can see that the tallest person never really needed the extra footstool and gave it to the smaller child so he can see the baseball diamond. “Social justice” (whatever your idea of it is) must start where the aggrieved actually are. Not a one-size fits all solution.
Is it fair to allow the actions of a few speak for the entirety of a whole country? Would it be hypocrisy at its finest to treat others the dismal way I was treated, based on predispositions and sweeping assumptions? Without any regard to personal deviations or exceptions? Should I “stick it to the man” and commit myself to enacting vengeance? In reality, if I did, it would make me no better than them. One thing I learned is that when you’ve been scorned by someone, individuals who belong to their people-group can become the proxy by which you enact revenge.
This is a dangerous thing if it goes unchecked. I wrestle with whether to judge people by their immutable characteristics or by their character like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. preached. But the process of learning and unlearning what we’ve been taught is so necessary! Similarly, vis-à-vis my experiences I learned deliverance from people. I learned that people have no heaven or hell to place me in and I should not worry about the haters. Only God has that job, and that’s the only one I’m concerned about accepting me. Haters gonna hate…