Saturday, November 1, 2008

I'm tired of this. Part 1

It’s my fault. After all, I signed up for it.

I’m not tired of obvious racists. They usually don’t try very hard to hide, you tend to know who they are, and we generally pay them no mind.

I’m tired of everyone else.
O.K. not everyone, let me explain.

No one wants to admit they are wrong, not even to themselves.

Black and white people know very little about each other.

That about sums it up.

Polls have shown, and my experience confirms, that black and white people’s views on race differ dramatically. White people think race isn’t an issue, while black people do. When I say differ dramatically, it could be summed up as; few whites think race still matters, while nearly ALL black people do.

Someone has to be wrong, don’t they?

Maybe I could re-word it a little.

White people don’t think they are personally discriminating against black people and assume other whites are like them.

Black people have their race pointed out daily, if not constantly, and observe how it paints every initial interaction with others, as well their communities, so how could it not matter?

If this is the case than I could make an argument that they are both right. It’s a communication issue plain and simple.
So why don’t we just communicate?

Here’s a suggestion for white people. Ask your close black friend if they think race is still an issue in America, and when they say “yes”, ask them why. Wouldn’t that be a simpler and more accurate tactic than simply reading the polls in the paper or seeing them on TV, and thinking, “black people are all crazy”?

O wait, you probably don’t have a black friend close enough to you to ask that question do you?

Before you get all defensive, feeling picked on and oppressed by political correctness, it cuts both ways.

To black people I ask, “do you hang out with any white people on the weekend”? I know you work with them, go to school with them, see them in every TV show, see them in every political office, every occupation, every commercial, writing for every paper, etc. etc. but does that mean you really know any of them?
Ask your white friend why white people don’t think race matters. If you don’t have anyone to ask that question than you don’t really know white people.

That’s what I’m tired of.

Neither side knows the other, there doesn’t seem to be a general effort to fix that, and it’s getting worse.

I know both and firmly believe that neither is crazy, or… hold your breath… neither are bad. It isn’t rocket science; we just need to get to know each other a little better. So why don’t we?


Amber said...

The important things are tiring struggles, aren't they? But if you get so tired you quit, then there's simply no hope. (Mothering often feels that way, but at least the results are so tangible that quitting is near impossible.)

SOILA. said...

ITA that we just need to know/ learn each other better.

What I am sick of is the fact that people from both races act like people of the opposite race are aliens from a different planet. I just dont get it. Who instilled in people that if someone doesnt have the same physical characteristics as you then they must be some completely different species? I think once people get past the fact that other than the physical we are fundamentally the same then it'd be easier to befriend and get to know each other.

Corbie said...

I read this the other day and have been thinking on it since then. The reason being, in the day or two leading up to this post of yours, I received an email titled 'Proud To Be A White American'. It was offensive and full of hate-mongering and racial slurs. And it was sent to me, wife of a Latino man, mother to his children. I just don't get people. So many people are ignorant and doing nothing to bridge the divide. Nice work on the post - I agree fully.

lyric said...

I appreciate your posts. They really have brought things to my attention that I haven't thought about before.
This past week I was at a gargantuanly huge quilting event. 90% ladies older than me, probably 90% white. Every time I sat down to eat, since I was on my own, I sat down at a table with free space - and purposely looked for tables with women of other races. I'd smile and ask if I might share the table, tuck into my food, and if there was a gap in the conversation I'd join and we'd talk about all sorts of wonderful things about the artwork we liked. There were almost always more than one group at the table, of different races, but until I asked questions of both groups the two didn't interact. They always interacted amicably when I got a conversation going.

Guess it just takes more of us TRYING. It's going to be a generational thing before things really start getting better. But then - it's already better than it was in our parents generation.

Marcel's grandfather wanted to disown his son when he chose to marry a latino. He came to love her and even said that was the biggest mistake he'd ever made as she was the best out of all of his relations.

There's hope!
I'm optimistic!

Joshua said...

I think the election yesterday shows that, as far as national politics and voting is concerned, race doesn't matter. Obama did better than McCain in every voter category, including white men and women, other than people over 65. Only 2% said that race was a factor and almost 60% of those people voted for Obama (consistent with your comment that Black people think race still matters).

My hope is that someday we can focus on the real problems in this country such as poverty, crime, drugs, and lack of adequate eduction without arbitrarily linking them to a particular racial group. I think the time has come, and nobody is denying that it was hard fought, where all racial groups have successful and disadvantaged people. Why not focus on making everyone better.

uglyblackjohn said...

The town next to mine is Vidor. Vidor, Texas was spotlighted on CNN as the most racist town in America.
The thing is - I have many friends from Vidor. They asked me to go fishing one midnight and I joked "Heck no, I've seen Deliverence!". We all went drinking instead. The Blacks tried to hate on me but eff them. Some Blacks and some whites started hanging out together from these experiences.
Anyone can become an agent for change.

Siditty said...


I was born where you live, and I am scared to death of Vidor,TX to this day. I can't go there, I won't go there, and you are better than me, even though in college I dated a guy from Vidor, TX for a brief period of time, and yes he was white, I told him I would be scared to meet his family, and he admitted he would be scared for me to meet some his family too outside of his mother and father.

It was 1993 when the federal government tried to integrate their public housing, not 1963, 1993. Those people left after several KKK protests.

Heck this CNN story was done in 2006.

Corbie said...

Just watched Siditty's video link. It is amazing that people like that woman in the diner exist, let alone will publically declare their disgusting views.

OneBrownSnowPea said...

Interesting Topic. Honestly, I've tried to become friends with white people, but I feel like some don't take black people's humanity into consideration. I'm like yes I'm an individual. Black people are not homogeneous automatons. Or sometimes they act like your invisible and don't even acknowledge your presence. Sad to say I just tend to stay away.

And this isn't always from white people; alot of Asians, Hispanics, and African-Americans can be biased and have preconceived notions as well too.