Last Friday, after there had been a lot of discussion about race directly or indirectly because of the decision in the Zimmerman case, President Obama made the attempt to explain to those who aren’t Black, why some black people may have reacted as they did. Often when we learn why people think and act as they do, even though we may not totally accept things, we at least can get some understanding of another point of view.
But within moments of his explanation, the president was attacked by those who seem to believe they are more expert on groups to which they do not belong than is anyone within that group.
Male pundits are experts on women, and so do not have to hear from the woman’s perspective on things related to women. Straight men are experts on what being gay is all about, more so, apparently than gay people are. Conservatives, like Rush Limbaugh, know more about what Liberals feel and think than Liberals. And now we have a bunch of white men claiming that they are more conversant on what it has been to be black in America than any Black person could ever know.
The president acknowledged why we must accept the decision of the jury, making no remark that might have found fault with it. He then went on to explain to those with questions what it was that had upset so many African-Americans since a lot of the very pundits who found fault with his doing so had been asking that question.
Rush Limbaugh had to have his say about racism; he has to have his say on everything. But, in the process he betrayed his Southern listeners, and inadvertently agreed that the Stars and Bars, rather than being an historical artifact that commemorated The “Northern War of Aggression” in which the Confederacy fought for States’ Rights, is, indeed, a racist symbol as the war was actually over slavery. one side to end it; the other to keep it.
When any group now protests the flying of the Stars and Bars over government buildings because of its hatefully racist meaning, Rush can be quoted in defense of that protest, and against the historically commemorative argument.
As Rush Explained:
“No other race has ever fought a war for the purpose of ending slavery, which we did. Nearly 600,000 people killed in the Civil War. It’s preposterous that Caucasians are blamed for slavery when they have done more to end it than any other race and within the bounds of the Constitution to boot. Yet white guilt about slavery is still one of the dominating factors in American politics”.
Not sure if Rush realizes that Whites fought on both sides of the Civil War, or if he thinks only the North were Caucasian. I know a lot of White Southerners who will not be thrilled to know that they really aren’t white.
I also know a lot of Southerners who still claim the Civil War was to preserve states’ rights and will not be too happy to hear that they have been lied to until Rush set them straight.
The other interesting thing is that while the rest of us are discussing race in the United States, where we have had Jim Crow Laws and lynchings, Rush attempts to deflect the discussion by bringing up foreign and historically distant lands and times.
“If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery it’s Caucasians. The White race has probably had fewer slaves and for a briefer period of time than any other in the history of the world”.
But some will ignore this misdirection as they themselves employ it even in the blog comments section when they choose not to deal with the actual issue, but use the comments as their way to introduce something irrelevant so as to keep a germane discussion for which they have no facts to properly discuss from taking place.
Then there is Rush’s cohort, Sean Hannity, who is an expert in re-framing a discussion to keep facts at bay.
In response to the president, who faced the racism that Black people face, especially 35 years ago that would make it the late 1970’s when in some places Jim Cow was still alive and well, Hannity jumped to the absurd and negative comment:
”the president’s saying Trayvon could’ve been me 35 years ago…Is that the president admitting that I guess because what, he was part of the Choom Gang and he smoked pot and he did a little blow — I’m not sure how to interpret because we know that Trayvon had been smoking pot that night".
Which seems to be a little racist as his instant assumption was that the prsident's Black experience just has to have been about gangs, pot, and cocaine.
But, I suppose it is easier to continue racist attitudes and actions if people can get others to assume racism just doesn’t exist, so anyone who sees it is the guilty one. After all, slavery was a good thing, and those who do not see that it was necessary to better the lives of Africans are merely looking for the negatives. Just as those who find fault with Blacks having to sit in the back of busses or in the balconies of movie theaters just don’t see that they were given the advantage as those two places are where all the fun takes place. White people had to sit up front where the bus driver’s scrutiny kept them from holding hands and making out like those in the back could so freely do.
It is amazing how those who have never faced the treatment that African-Americans did, and in some cases still do, have a complete understanding that surpasses all reason.
I know what White Privilege is. I can enter a store or a restaurant without a second look. I can cross the street without people pulling their children closer. I can stand in a group with other White People and not be looked at as a group plotting a future crime. I can enter an elevator and acknowledge the other people without them wondering what I am really up to. If I am pulled over by a police officer for speeding or for anything I am not be aware I did to get pulled over, I don’t have to worry about being thought of as a criminal; I don’t have to make sure my every action presents the right demeanor void of guilt.
And I certainly am not so devoid of self-esteem that I have to invent my own persecution as if my getting sympathy for my self-proclaimed martyrdom for being white is merited.
What used to be overt Jim Crowism has become more subtle, and none prove that so well as those like Rush and Sean who ignore, or worse, misrepresent reality as they pout as if they are not privileged, but do oh so acutely suffer.
By becoming more racially accepting and understanding, no one is going to take away your toys. You just have to let others have theirs.