• The Idea of Whiteness.

    Here's a little something I posted some time back at Field Negro, concerning the different factors and challenges that blacks in the United States that whites simply do not have to think about, and how flippant some whites can be when blacks attempt to articulate these factors:

    I've been thinking about the whole idea of what it means to be a white person in these United States, and I think I've stumbled across what irks me so much about the whole idea of...ahem...."whiteness".

    Whites can afford to walk around with this air of cluelessness and obliviousness throughout nearly any area of their lives, and when such things hurt them, the penalty for such is relatively light for them, in most cases. They aren't burdened with this omnipresent self-consciousness about themselves or their actions, nor do they have to think, rethink and double-check their actions to make sure they aren't on the wrong side of some authority. A black person has to be conscious of their self and their actions, in order to safely navigate themselves around unspoken pitfalls and traps that could deny them opportunities, end their livelihoods and/or their lives.

    Another thing that irks me is how whites readily trend towards their historic mental training of seeing blacks and other non-whites as "things", and not people. "Gee, those things are lazy. Why not move them off to the fields over there and make them actually work, for once?" When you see a fellow human being as "non-human" or "not one of us", it's piss-easy to do things to them that you normally wouldn't do to another human being (unless you harbor sociopathic tendencies, but that's a whole nother kettle of fish).

    Nor do whites have to constantly worry about becoming a target of color-aroused individuals, groups or organizations that continue to operate from a script filled with stereotypes and justifications for mistreating, abusing and otherwise subjugating blacks and other groups that don't look or behave as white American culture expects them to behave.

    Now someone can counter with endless stories of blacks victimizing whites for kicks or economic gain. But it's hard to sympathize with these folks when the stories are produced solely for cancelling out whatever grievances blacks have with whites over the way they were treated historically and how they're still being treated now.

    And someone else can counter with how the above is just justification for blacks to whine, moan and complain about how things were in the past, and not realizing that things are much better for them -- or at least would be better for them if they'd simply stop whining so freaking much.

    But when you're attempting to relate to someone how the inexplicable color-aroused hatred still exists today, only to be told you're a whiner and a complainer who should just shut up and be thankful you're still not where you were 60, 100 or 160 years ago, you can't help but become vexed and just plain angry, thinking that "this motherfucker simply DOES, NOT, GET, IT".

    Americans, by far and large, are a people who tend to forgive and forget, preferring to hold on to good experiences while sweeping the bad ones under the carpet, never to be spoken of or remembered. It takes a lot of national trauma to mark those bad experiences in their brains deep enough for them to at least acknowledge that those experiences happened. Learning from them, on the other hand, is another story.

    Forgetting about the past mistreatment and adverse experiences of blacks, while expecting them to forget along with you, and then having the gall to complain when they refuse to simply forget shows a deep lack of empathy for anyone but you and yours, and a flippant dismissal of the concerns of others that angers blacks to no end.

    Perhaps that's the true meaning of "whiteness" in this context: the ability to walk a mile in someone else's shoes, only instead you walk a dozen feet or so and then slip back into your own, comfortable shoes while remarking how they should be thankful they aren't walking barefoot.