This is the post you’ve been waiting for.
I have bad news. We are all racists.
I know, I know. You don’t want to be a racist (I don’t either). You think it is despicable to demean the humanity of another person, or to think of an entire group of people as inferior. Or perhaps you are a member of a group that has been victimized by another group, and you carry hate inside you, even though you don’t want to.
Inner conversation: Why are you even blogging about this? You’re not an expert on racism. You haven’t read one book about racism. You’re a WASP, for gawshsakes. You should at least read that YWCA blog before you post this. You’re “OUTTA YOUR ELEMENT!“
The Scout and I are part-way through the audio version of Inheriting the Trade (do watch the video clip from The Early Show). The author, Thomas Norman DeWolfe, grapples with learning that he’s related to one of the largest slave-trading families in history.
Get ready for a sweeping generalization: One can make a pretty strong case that our country is the prosperous place it is due to two things: 1) abundant natural resources; 2) slavery.
Remember Aaron Proctor? That dude had a foul mouth. He also had a great sense of humor. He was definitely an equal opportunity offender. I let AP know when I thought he was funny, and I tried to let him know when I thought he was offensive (though to do that well would have been a full-time job). He once said something about Armenians on his blog, something racist and offensive. I let him know I didn’t like it.
Since I grew up in this culture as a member of the dominant group, I think it is my responsibility to examine my thinking and see where racism might be lurking. It’s a difficult self-examination. Talking about racism with others is also very necessary even though it too is difficult. Pointing fingers at others is not the starting place.
Go over to Project Implicit and take the black-white race test (Race IAT). What are your results? The results scale: little or no preference, slight, moderate, or strong preference. I took the test once, and according to it I have a slight automatic preference for European American compared to African American. Michael Shermer says when he took the test, it showed strong preference for European American—you can read about it here: Kramer’s Conundrum.
Taking Care of Blogger Business:
1. I have been a contributer to Pasadena’s Political Underbelly but have not posted there recently. Even though I am a contributor, I don’t have the ability to delete or edit posts written by others. This post (note sound of “wicked power-mad laugh”) makes that quite clear.
2. There has been an incredibly wacky, sometimes funny, sometimes hateful comment thread on Sharkey vs Snarky: Blog Smackdown. I hope it is clear that I made one, and only one, comment on this post. I resisted the temptation to post anonymously as Satan (didn’t want to offend Jesus). Sigh. If you want to know the truth, I find the whole thing rather depressing—time, energy and soul-sapping.
The Scout has a hard time understanding my affinity for blogging and reading blogs. He is wondering right now why I’ve spent four hours on this post. I tell him blogging can be a powerful tool for community-building. I think most of us still believe that, even though political passions run deep (whoa, is that an understatement).
People can be mean and say mean things. I say let ’em. I have very thin skin, but that’s my problem. We all get to choose which blogs we read. Thanks to my own life experience, I have developed the ability to recognize mental illness when I see it (well, some of the time anyway).
Point of blogging etiquette: It’s a no-no to re-post pictures taken from others’ blogs without appropriate photo credit.
Photos on this blog post courtesy of The Scout.
Extra credit reading: