The Real Issue with Wright

We desperately need for black people and white people in this country to communicate. I don’t see that happening with this. When Wright first hit the media, we started to get some talking going. And then people entrenched and the dialog stopped. We got lectures going both ways. And things started getting missed.

One of the things that has been getting missed may have shown itself to me. I’ve referred to it, but I’ve only seen one afro-centric blogger even make reference to it. And it is something that, and I’m speaking from the heart here, black people — sends white people into a white hot rage. This accusation will not stand. And it is what I think really has white people pissed the F off about Wright.

We will not abide being accused of genocide. That is what Wright’s “the government created AIDS” line is. It is an accusation that white people have attempted — in our lifetimes — to exterminate black people as a race.

White people get rightly pissed off at this concept. We have reason to. We’ve committed acts of attempted genocide before, and that is exactly what Carmen pointed to. That is why we won’t abide it. Yes, smallpox ridden blankets were given to Indians. Yes, Cortez introduced all sorts of diseases to the native Mexicans. That is why we are touchy about it. We’ve put it behind us as best we have and are striving to the be the sorts of people who have no connection to it. To make the accusation makes it seem like we will never be beyond it, and begs the question of why we even try.

The Germans are touchy about anything to do with the Nazis, and doubly so in regards to anything to do with Gypsies or Jews. That is how it should be. That wound should be raw. By the same token, you should not poke at the wound frivolously. And that is exactly what Wright is doing with his offhand, “oh, and by the way, Amerikkka created AIDS to kill black people” remarks. When you accuse White people of trying to exterminate Black people, all converstation is over. You are no longer a credible person. Three things go through that white person’s mind:

  1. I would never try to kill all black people.
  2. This person just accused me of being part of trying to kill all black people.
  3. This N’s crazy.

That’s all there is to it. It is no more rational or logical than the accusation that set if off, but that is just how it is.

You can’t credibly, at the same time, hold the beliefs that: black America has problems because white people think badly of black people and; the way to help black people is by pissing white people off about black people. The two are mutually exclusive. White people believe everything. We believe in the American dream. We believe that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. We believe that hard work and a good attitude is all that you need to succeed in America. When black people shit on those beliefs, it puts us on the defensive.

So, you have two ways to look at it. 1) White people are ignorant of the plight of black people, and need to be informed, but, you have to be careful and not trip the genocide (or personal racism) circuit breakers, or 2) Honkeys are genetically evil.

You can be careful. I know that because white people all over America are careful every day. We are careful not to use phrases that we freely use to describe other white people (like ape, monkey or boy) to describe black people, and we get by. If you can get by the whole “white people are tying to come up with some super virus that will kill all black people but leave white people alone like some James Bond villain” thing, then we will be a lot closer to reconciliation.

12 Comments

  1. Jazzy says:

    “We believe that people should be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. We believe that hard work and a good attitude is all that you need to succeed in America.”

    I agree with almost everything you stated EXCEPT the above statement. I believe an honest discourse between black and white people will be hurtful and painful, but will begin to heal the chasm that has so long divided this nation.

    As far as you’re above statement, I have SEEN far too many times when a person of black skin is judged on that and that alone versus the content of their character and heart. If this was truly the case there would be no stereotypes of coons, jigga boos, Aunt Jemimas, the big black brute, over-sex black females, etc. I think you get my point.

    In my honest opinion the second sentence in your statement is only true if you either white or of another ethnicity besides black. For example, I am the only one with a Master’s degree at my current job, I receive excellent reviews every year, I get along with about 95% of my co-workers, (the other 5% I simply ignore), I am the ONLY black face at my job, and have yet to receive any promotion that I apply for, it begins to make you wonder. Then again maybe I should just continue to work twice as hard as everyone else for FREE.

  2. Phelps says:

    Don’t get me wrong; I’m not saying that we never fail to live up to these beliefs. Good Christians sin. Sometimes people cheat on diets. That doesn’t mean that they aren’t really Christians or that they don’t want to lose weight.

    I know that it doesn’t always work out that way — but we keep telling ourselves that it is that way in the hope that it will be that way in the future.

    If you are going to deal with most white people on this issue, you should remember that it all goes through that lens — how we think it should be vs. how it really is. (I wouldn’t recommend dealing with the people who still don’t believe these things. The good news is, they are mostly unemployed rednecks who have little to no influence outside the local smoke shack and feed lot.)

  3. Phelps says:

    And there are other things that can get you held back other than your skin color. Is there someone to replace you? That is what has always held me back — if I got promoted, my job would be unfilled.

  4. Jazzy says:

    This statement is innately why I feel race relations will remain as they are here in America. Black people view issues from a cultural standpoint not from how we think it should be (as you do) but how we know it to be. The only way to move along race relations would be to teach people in their formative years about cultural competency and cultural awareness something this nation is sorely lacking in and will probably never approve.

  5. Jazzy says:

    As far as no one being able to fill my position that really should not be a concern of mine or yours but the person who’s job it is to find the replacement. Don’t let people feed you that line of bull.

  6. Phelps says:

    Isn’t this the issue of reality vs. the way it should be? No manager is going to create a problem for themselves by promoting someone. It is easier to just follow the status quo, and managers rarely take the hard path over the easy one. Mentor your replacement, make it easy to be replaced, and you can move up.

  7. Jazzy says:

    Let me know how that works out for you.

  8. Phelps, the crazy thing is I feel like you are WELL INTENTIONED, but you act as if every one or all anglos have good intentions. It’s just not the case. And many of the ones who don’t are in power. You look at everything through Red White and Blue colored glasses, and unfortunately, America has made mistakes that still sting.

    I wish I didn’t know what it was like to be followed around a store because the clerk thinks I’m stealing. I wish I didn’t know how it felt being called nigger. I wish hadn’t ever fielded a call from a co-worker crying because she had the same experience. I wish I didn’t have someone tell me “take your ass back to Prairie View (black school)” while I was in college. I wish hadn’t got a call from a white guy the other day with the wrong number making random talk and eventually calling me a “colored boy.”

    Many (not all) African-Americans have had similar or worse experiences. It’s an experience that affects all of our opinions, and it’s constantly a factor in trying to get those PERSONAL experiences to allow you to make fair judgement. What it does more than anything is allow your heart to more easily forgive. A trait that majority America and conservatives don’t have nearly enough of.

  9. Phelps says:

    There’s nothing crazy about thinking that I am well intentioned. I am. The crazy thing is in thinking that I am the exception. I’m not. The racists are.

    I wish that I didn’t know what it was like to be stared at for being a white guy hanging out with a bunch of black guys. I wish I didn’t know what it was like to have my teacher call me a white devil when I was 8. I wish I didn’t know what it was like to be the only white person in a room when someone says, “we would all be a lot better off if white people didn’t exist.” I wish that I didn’t have women telling me, “you wouldn’t say that to a white bitch” when I had told a white woman the same thing a half an hour earlier. I wish that I had never realized why certain black people stop laughing and talking when I walk into the room.

    Many (not all) white people have had similar experiences. I, like many others, have chosen to not let these experiences dictate my identity. Whiteness does not define or confine me. Slights based on it are better ignored when possible and forgiven when not. I can’t exact revenge on someone today and expect him to be my friend tomorrow. That seems to be a reality a majority of black people and liberals don’t seem to realize.

  10. Phelps says:

    It’s just not the case. And many of the ones who don’t are in power.

    And this I specifically disagree with. I’ve never known a real racist to be in a position of power higher than beat cop. I’m sure they exist out in the deep backwoods, but I’ve never hit it in the corporate world or urban politics, and certainly not national politics.

    I’ve seen a few (emphasis on few) Archie Bunker style bigots in positions of power who hold ridiculous stereotypes but no bad intentions. I don’t think of them as real racists — maybe you do. In the same way, there are a lot of black people who hold ridiculous stereotypes of white people, but few true racists in the Farrakhan vein. I see more harm in soft bigotry from the left than from some farmer in Oklahoma worried about whether or not black people are after his watermelon patch.

  11. […] been thinking a lot about this interview, especially in relation to the comments that I’ve been getting in other threads. This is the sort if thing that I have intuited a long time ago: Half of the difference between […]

  12. Sick of Racism says:

    “In the same way, there are a lot of black people who hold ridiculous stereotypes of white people”

    Yeah. But how many of these people have any power over White society? How many bigoted Black politicians can they run to who will enact policies against White people? Who in the nearly all-White Congress, the mostly-White White House and the nearly all-White Supreme Court can they run to?

    Racism is an issue of superiority complexes and power. Not just personal prejudices.

    “I see more harm in soft bigotry from the left than from some farmer in Oklahoma worried about whether or not black people are after his watermelon patch.”

    “Soft bigotry from the left”? Such as what? And who are these ‘leftist bigots’ in power? Who is enacting their policies?

    Meanwhile, angry racist White voters have all the like-minded politicians in the world they can and do run to every election year.