Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Anatomy of Racism (Part 4 of 4)

While every racist is a fool, not every fool is racist.

We must learn to differentiate between actual acts of racism and otherwise acts of ignorance. They are not the same. Otherwise, cries for justice like this can be successfully undermined by racists as race baiting.
If you back track some 60 years into American history, it would be fair to say that most white folks were at the very least, racially prejudiced, if not outright racist. As the decades rolled by, their ignorance waned as all their collective consciousnesses were raised. As a result, the average white adult today does not think the same way. But because the hurt has penetrated several generations of American minorities, it has created a hypersensitive society that has forgotten what racism actually is, thereby spawning an endless generation of boys crying wolf.


The white folks of the 21st century are not the same white folks you read about in the 1950's. In fact, you will probably find more white folks adopting black children today than you will find black couples adopting white orphans. 60 years ago, that was virtually unheard of. Most white people today have been through such a thorough social conditioning that they are probably more sensitive to issues affecting black folks than black folks themselves—or they don't care.

That's why loosely tossing around the word "racist" (especially when in reference to a white person), is libellous for all the same reasons Negroes can get away with saying "n-gger" and white people cannot. It's an unfair double standard, as it presumes that only white people can be racist, when black folks have proven themselves to be equally so. As I said in the previous post, institutionalized racism makes actual racism hard to detect. Thus the obvious question is:

When is it Racism?

Consider the following video. A lot of folks (particularly white folks) say that it is most certainly racist. I find the video to be rather stupid, but not racist. I find it stupid because of the young women's obnoxious behaviour, foul language and downright asininity. Then again, I find that's something fairly common among many young teens. So have a look at the video for yourself:

So some of you must be wondering why I don't think this is racist. Well, it's quite simple really: Despite the young girls' poor presentation, several things are made clear. The first is that if they really were racist, they would have attacked all black people. They have not. They made a very clear distinction between those who make poor choices and then subsequently abuse the welfare system and those who choose to work hard for what they have accomplished.

The second reason is that most people who view this video as racist also think that saying anything negative about people of African descent that is loosely based on fact is automatically racist. That's nonsense for all the same reasons you can't call someone of German descent a Nazi simply because of their nationality. Although the girls were clearly making up statistics to forward their points, there is a subset of black folks who wantonly abuse the welfare system.

However that point is irrelevant.

Where the girls could be labelled racist is where they suggest that the percentage of black folks doing so are in the majority of those benefiting from the welfare system. Even though they acknowledge that white people also benefit from the welfare system, their biggest mistake is to assume that the system is being abused by more black than white people.

The mere fact that the welfare system is being used by more whites automatically suggests that the vast majority of its abusers are also most likely white. While it isn't in itself a racist claim to suggest that blacks abuse it more, it alludes more to racial prejudice than it does to racism. Again, to be clear, a categorical attack on all black people would make the rant racist. The young women were just too obnoxious to present their points intelligently and coherently.

With that said, their constant use of a racial epithet to describe this subset of black folks does nothing to legitimize their argument. Then again, these are white kids who had grown up in a neighbourhood with a lot of black folk. They likely hear them call each other "n-gger" everyday of the week. While this doesn't justify their use of the word, it would explain this propensity.

Furthermore, they are clearly intellectually challenged. This is especially evident where she meant to use the term "diction" (speaking) instead of "legibility" (writing) and so everything they said (irrespective of any truth therein or lack thereof) is completely lost in a fog of what appears to be yet another racist rant on the eminent joys of white privilege when it's not.

The fact that they are white also does nothing for the credibility of their message. We all know that white people can't criticize black people (even if it is a subset of black people) without being characterized as a racist. The common straw man argument here is that because black people went through slavery, they therefore have carte blanche to say anything they want about themselves (even if it's something bad), so long as white people don't get to repeat it.

Wait, what?

Yes. Black people are well aware of their own shortcomings. They are so painfully aware of it, that every once in a while, if you should check the currently trending topics worldwide on Twitter, there is a very good chance that you will find that at least one is borne of a meme unique to the black community that highlights one of its many unflattering traits—like these:

Just Dope
Just Dope
Follow on Twitter
#HoodAwardCategories biggest rims on cheapest car

Frank Ocean nephew
Frank Ocean nephew
Follow on Twitter
#HoodAwardCategories: Most Maury Appearances

legit time traveler
legit time traveler
Follow on Twitter
#HoodAwardCategories most likely to drop out freshman year

Trav Is Comedy
Trav Is Comedy
Follow on Twitter
#HoodAwardCategories Best Robbery Duo

This is a regular occurrence on Twitter. It happens everyday. Now what the two white girls in the video above were doing was no different from what these faithful tweeters were. The only difference between the two sets of people is that one was white (the girls) while the others were black (the tweeters). That means to accuse the girls of racism is not only hypocritical, but constitutes race baiting to fire up the black community, using it as a tool in a political agenda. It takes advantage of the ignorance of black folk who don't really understand what racism is.

This brings up an important question:

Is it OK to criticize black people?

Let's ask ourselves a really tough question: Having gone through slavery and the civil rights upheaval, are black folks willing to accept any criticism about themselves from a person of any other race, even if that criticism turns out to be true? My observation is that most black folks would be filled with far too much risible indignation at being criticised by a white person at all to be able to distinguish between criticism that is racist and that which is actually true. The emotional indignation stems from the bitterness of a long history marred by racial oppression.

But does a past of racial oppression exempt the descendants of their racist white ancestors from being objectively critical of the descendants of people who were once slaves? Some would argue in favour of that claim, suggesting that slavery ruined black people socially and thus any such criticism is hypocritical. Their argument is that if white men ruined black men, they therefore cannot criticize the results of their own undoing. That seems to make sense.

...until you think about it.

The black community is still being oppressed by the white majority — just not in the same way they were 50 years ago. Today's racism is a lot more subtle and intricately interwoven into the annals of society. That's precisely why George Zimmerman could have claimed "self defence" in the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin and not get arrested, while a black person in his position would've been arrested and executed forthwith. With that said, even though Geraldo Rivera apologized for his comments, it only served to appease the indignation of the black populace.

Even so, Rivera's comments are not racist — they were just poorly timed. One doesn't come on air and say that the hoodie got Trayvon killed when the black community is in the middle of reliving the generational nightmare of the civil rights era because another unarmed black youth was killed by someone of another race due to racial profiling. Rivera's comments were also flawed by the obvious fact that clothes cannot determine the culpability of the wearer. We all know that. It's just that I wouldn't have been caught wearing a hoodie outside anyway.

...especially not in a white suburb in the American south. 

I am in no way validating Geraldo Rivera. I just know that most people are intellectually lazy and so rely on stereotypes to aid their reasoning. That means most people are pretty stupid by default. In this scenario, some black people would rather deal with the stupidity up front, defending their right to wear whatever. Personally, I have no patience for the stupidity of the masses. It is just as foolish as trying to ice skate uphill, in the middle of a oncoming avalanche.

Wisdom quickly teaches us that when stupidity vastly outnumbers intelligence, standing your ground may ultimately mean sacrificing your life. Trayvon paid that ultimate price and started a revolution in America. However, he is neither the first, nor the last black youth to be wrongfully killed, jailed or executed. So why is Trayvon's case special? His was really the culmination of a perfect storm. Had any of the circumstances surrounding his death been different, the furore over his killing wouldn't have blown up and nobody would have cared what Geraldo said.

However, with experience, a black person can usually detect (within margins of error) when racism is manifested. However, if black folks are honest, they tend to be wrong about who is racist just as often as white folks are wrong about who is criminal. It's the same psychological function at work here. It's just that it's really being exhibited from opposite sides of the fence.

A black person who inaccurately calls a white person who is critical of their behaviour a racist is technically committing the same crime as a white person who suspects that a black man breaking into his own house is a burglar. A white person who thinks all black people are criminals, because so many are, is committing the same crime as a black person who thinks all white people are racist because they've met so many who are. What does this say about us?

Your biological phenotype doesn't indemnify you of the crime of stereotypical presupposition and prejudice, irrespective of your social history. Therefore it is perfectly legal for a white person to be critical of a black person without having any racist intentions. But then again, what are the odds of a white person criticising a black person without their having any racist agenda? Is it possible for a white person to be motivated to be critical of a black person for a good reason? Of course! But could any black American take such criticism with objectivity?

Probably not.

As I said in the outset of this post, most black folks will secretly never forgive white folks for slavery and their constant internal fight within themselves against their (likely latent) racist propensities. In fact, if you are white and reading this, I'm pretty sure you've had a situation where you needed to be critical about someone who is black, not out of any malicious intent, but out of genuine concern, but gave up on the idea because of the risk of being perceived as a racist. Working with emotional insecurity is a lot like carrying water from a river in a basket.

Then again, some of you white folk have been critical of black people without any malicious intent (perhaps even in jest) only to realize that your criticism with well intended humour, makes you come off as a jerk (at best) and a racist (at worst). Some white folks have even negatively referred to black folks passively in casual conversation with no particular racist intention in mind, only to realize that your Freudian slip is tantamount to pernicious imbecility. Incidents like this do not help black folks to get over slavery. They do not help to stem racism.

White people, you're not helping.

The long, sordid history of white/black relations has unfortunately pigeon holed black and white folks into a scenario (particularly in white majority societies) where the damage to such relationships is so irreparable, that the only way black and white folks can get along is to ignore the 800 lb gorilla in the room. This pretentious, perhaps even anachronistic behaviour in the 21st century is responsible for all the great gains we've made as an interracial society.

This is why when a black man was finally elected president of the United States, there was a palpable sense of joy among black folks, and a less conspicuous, risible sense of indignation among a smaller percentage of the conservative white crowd. However, the fact that such a percentage exists still damns all white people (even the majority who have genuinely good intentions) to the same scrap heap that produces the hyper sensitivity to racial issues that we call "affirmative action" and "political correctness". This is what has diluted the word "racist".

The end result is that the hypersensitivity among white folks creates more false positives within the black community, thereby increasing their sensitivity beyond what is obviously racist to what looks like acts of racism, which really aren't. This consequently creates a vicious cycle of race baiting and denial between whites and other minorities. Because the water has been muddied by both sides of the fence, it now becomes necessary to define who a racist really is.

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E-mail: accordingtoxen[at]gmail[dot]com


  1. Hey Xen,
    I've been reading your blog for a while now and I must say, your ideas are inspiring as they are soul-crushing. Thank you for opening me up to the different shades of the Grayscale we live in. Now, I have a few questions about this article that you may be able to clear up.

    First, are you positing that MOST people of all ethnicity, and certain intelligence levels, will never be able to truly work together outside of the pending doom of global annihilation?

    Second, are you also suggesting here that no matter how White people, racist and non-racist alike, go about treating Black people, they will always proverbially be "damned if they do and damned if they don't"?

  2. Hello Andrew,

    Thank you for your kind comments. To answer your questions:

    "First, are you positing that MOST people of all ethnicity, and certain intelligence levels, will never be able to truly work together outside of the pending doom of global annihilation?"

    Humanity has a propensity for only uniting when their collective survival is at stake. We can take this from our history:

    1. World War II - Allied forces comprised of people from all walks of life, race, class, cultures and religions who before the war would never have worked together.

    2. The United Nations - Formed from an aggregation of nation states (and pseudo states) who despite their differences have decided to work together to prevent another global warfare from occurring again.

    3. The United States - Was originally 50 distinct countries with their own unique laws. It was formed by Europeans fleeing religious persecution, who later banded together as one nation to consolidate their power after being threatened by the British Empire.

    4. The European Union - Was formed in the mid 20th Century to unify Europe after its long, bloody, thousand year history of sectarian, religious, and territorial war.

    5. The African Union - A direct by product of European conquest and division of Africa.

    ...I could go on, but I think you see my point. While I will not dismiss the possibility that humans can unite around a more positive cause (such as the conquest of new worlds), the bureaucratic mess that would evolve out of such a positive reinforcement would not exist where the threat of extinction presents itself.

    Whenever we are faced with incidents of war, violence and doom, all bets are off. All of our petty conflicts will only be seen as an impedance to our ability to preserve our existence because we instinctively value existence over all else. It is only then that the character of the man will become more important than the flavour of the man.

    "Second, are you also suggesting here that no matter how White people, racist and non-racist alike, go about treating Black people, they will always proverbially be "damned if they do and damned if they don't"?"

    Sadly, human nature is powered by the least desirable vector property. By that I mean, no matter how fresh a glass of wine is, it immediately becomes worthless if a single fly is found in it.

    Apropos, no matter how great white people treat black people today, some black people have been so badly ruined by the few racist white people they had the misfortune to have met yesterday, they will ultimately ruin all white people for all the black people they know tomorrow, thereby reinforcing any latent (or inculcating new) racist propensities among white people who weren't originally racist.

    It's a vicious and unfortunate cycle where black people's past is ruining their future. Thankfully, this does not affect ALL black people. The ignorance of reverse racism is dying a slow death - but it is a very, very slow death.


      Xen I know this is sort of off-topic, but there was a game blogger guy that ranked male attractiveness by specific races. I would like to know your opinion and take on this of course. Would you really agree with the list and how its set up?