Barack Obama came out the other day and finally said it. In so many words he said that white people in this country are afraid of black people. He is preparing for the Republican attack machine to use that FEAR (boo.) against white Americans.
It seems to matter not one bit that Obama was raised by his mother and her parent’s, and raised–presumably– with their ethos. It doesn’t matter because his skin is dark doncha’ know? Whites must therefore must be very afraid of him.
Nor does It matter, generally speaking, that the laws favor white criminality (drug laws, white collar crime, say what?); doesnt matter that so far as institutional structure goes, whites are at an advantage; doesnt matter that law enforcement agencies are more inclined to pump 50 rounds of bullets into a black man reaching for his wallet than a white man waving a gun at them. White people are still afraid of black people.
My question is why.
I think blacks are inclined to subconsciously hold on to the hurts from the past, such as slavery, Jim Crow laws and lynching– which was a generally acceptable past time for many southern whites. Some whites too have some things they subconsciously hold on to. After slavery ended, whites were told to expect freed slaves to seek retribution against their former slave masters in the form of mass black uprisings. Those uprisings never materialized. And I think that some whites are still holding their collective breath in some weird expectation of it happening.
(Rev. Wright’s statements were not dissected on the validity of his opinions: are Americans in places where we don’t belong, causing damage to other cultures? Are Americans killing innocent people? if there is such a thing as karma, should Americans seek to ask foregiveness of those we have wronged? All valid points that we are obligated to be aware of because policies in this country are done in our name. Instead the not so subtle media message was, “be afraid of the rantings of the “angry black man” ’cause he’s gonna make them blacks mad and they’re gonna come after us whites.”).
Everyone should just exhale, already. If the race riot hasn’t happened yet, it won’t. Even the most recent riot– the last one was in 1992–evidenced blacks lashing out in frustration and destroying their own community rather than going after “the white man.” In fact, as with white communities, black on black crime is more prevalent.
Still there is an insidious and persistent murmuring that a race riot will take place one day in America. This rumor is spread and kept alive by those who love to hate. Or perhaps they can’t let go of past fears. Or they won’t accept the notion that blacks just want to obtain and enjoy the same level of freedoms and rights as others enjoy in this country. Or they just like to stir shit up.
Thankfully, most of us are not victims of crime. We read about it in the papers or hear it second, third or fourth hand. We embrace their experience, our fears are heightened. We paint with a broad brush and an entire community is branded by the actions of a few. Like the incident that happened recently in Michigan. Something happens, is spread around and made to seem bigger and more widespread than it actually is.
We need to think rationally. We need to ask ourselves what do we get from a culture that routinely paints portraits of happy white families and absurd black families, planting that picture into our psyche. What do we get from a culture that won’t allow a variety of opinions on “news” and talk shows? Then we need to ask ourselves if that’s what we really want. Do we really want to view the world through a prism?
Even though I initially supported John Edwards’ candidacy, I could see that culturally, Barack Obama is an unique individual. Inside of him is a little something we can all relate to. I hope we all find that tiny piece of us in him. The survival our very nation might depend on it.
What’s your view?
By the way, historically speaking, white mobs are documented as having burned down more towns owned by blacks than the reverse. In fact, I was unable to find any such place where mobs of blacks destroyed any white town. I’m not saying it hasn’t happened only that I could not find it. I’m sure if it’s happened, you’ll let me know.
Back later with links.
Edited: to add links.