Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Who needs a Black friend?

The answers to most of the questions I receive on this website have the same general themes: (1) Have you thought about it from the others perspective? (2) Do unto others (i.e. how would you like if it were done to you) and (3) What do you think (because people usually stop thinking when they can defer to an “expert”). Additionally, the questions are mostly repetitive and/or can be found in my book. Among other reasons, this is why in all these years I’ve resisted writing a follow-up book. “All these years” is significant because the book still sells pretty well.

Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #32,078 in Books  #15 in Books > Reference > Education > Questions & Answers  #22 in Books > Nonfiction > Social Sciences > Sociology > Race Relations > America

And while that’s great for supplemental income, mine is the type of book you’d like to see fade into obscurity for lack of need/interest.

I mean it’s simple (and sometimes funny) to point out our differences. And I could easily cobble together enough new material from this very unchanged post-racial Obama era. But I won’t because as far as I can tell, drawing awareness to and documenting differences (in treatment or behavior) hasn’t caused any major positive shifts. Yes, I know change happens slowly and progress has been made; but we are way behind where we should be race relations wise. Just as knowing better does not mean doing better; neither does acknowledging our differences lead to wide range acceptance or appreciation. And in my opinion, racial tolerance is low sight to set. So, I am leaving it to the comedians, race baiters/mongers and the defenders/racial apologists. Until I can find a meaningful way to address what I see as a not so complex race relation problem, I am exiting ala Dave Chappelle (minus the fame, money and opportunity) and there will be no follow-up.

This is not a concession or acceptance of the status quo. I DON’T believe our problems have been solved or will work themselves out. I DO believe our current adversarial paradigm is due for a major overhaul. And we can do better starting with me. In the future look for something from me that strongly advocates a change in oneself as a first step. Sure, I’ll continue to answer your questions (I am your Black friend afterall) but please consider the themes in the first paragraph before you ask – then buy my book. Thank you.


Why do WE hate US

Your Black friend answers many questions but today has one of her own.

Has “the Man” successfully turned us against ourselves? I mean we have to blame somebody right? The deck is indeed stacked but each generation that preceded us intended that we progress/benefit from their trials. And given all the bloodshed, pain and anguish suffered so that WE might have an opportunity – this is the outcome?

What I see manifested is outwardly directed rage and self-loathing – I don’t know how else to describe it. Black on Black crime, burning and looting our own communities (this I will NEVER understand), an obesity epidemic, HIV/AIDS rates to rival Africa, disdain for education, the popularity of “entertainment” that disparages our rich cultural heritage…shall I continue? And please don’t tell me things aren’t ALL bad – they are bad enough. So bad that we cannot afford to ignore the truth. But first we must be honest with ourselves.

Intra-racism (within the race) is rampant and a leading cause of our dysfunction. Many of us are turned against each other ala Willie Lynch: dark v. light, old v. young, women v. men and add to that the class issue. Yes I understand some of you feel above the fray because you have more money/education – I got mine now go get yours. But as you well know we are ALL painted with the same broad brush. The war against “those” Blacks includes you and your family (even if you don’t claim them) and is coming to your town. Even as you seek to distance yourself you will not be spared the stigma if nothing else. Ask Obama.

Since we’re afraid to even speak of the ills in our community how can we hope to fix them? They’re obvious to any and everyone who is paying attention and/or profiting from our self-destruction. And if someone (in-house) dares to speak the truth (Bill Cosby), no matter if you like how he said it, they get cut off at the knees. And God forbid a non-Black person raise the issue.

We are choking on denial and the stench of our dirty laundry all the while accusing, blaming, crabbing and waiting for THEM to right the wrongs. It ain’t gonna happen. America is all about WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) and until the majority of people realize a humanitarian approach benefits everybody, WE should not expect help where none is forthcoming.  Yes it may be the right thing to do but charity begins at home. I begin my part by not deceiving myself and pretending things will naturally sort themselves out. They will not. I still believe WE (not some non-invested pastor, politician or media commentator etc.) can turn the tide.

WE are the ones we have been waiting for.

Recommended reading: Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome by Joy Degruy Leary 

Racism is Dead

What is Racism? The Census Negro category, Senator Harry Reid’s comments about Obama and Glenn Beck’s most recent statement that African-American is not a race – are NOT racism. So what is it? It boggles the mind really, and not because we can’t find a definition (or it doesn’t exist); but because it all depends on whom you ask. Even my selected definition may not jibe with what you believe. Maybe you mean prejudiced or a bigoted. There is a difference you know. But in the end does it matter?  You call me a racist (it happens) and now what? You might as well have called me a Gubardink for as much meaning as it has. I have no way of knowing what that means to YOU.

In the midst of a heated conversation where a charge of racism might be made, the only thing I know is that you intend to offend. For me it’s the same as calling me a nigger. I know you mean harm but I can’t do anything with it since it has nothing to do with me personally. It’s a non sequitur. The worst part is “racist” tagging is a conversation ender. It’s intended to put you in your place because really all you can do is deny (which makes you seem guilty) or ignore – which shuts down the conversation. Just like race baiting (i.e. playing the race card), calling a wise person a racist has become passé. It’s a shame because there ARE instances where use of the word is appropriate when defining a pattern of behavior or actions. However, all this random usage makes it nearly impossible to call it when it’s real. It’s a classic case of the boy who cried Racism and it has backfired – big time.

And what if I call YOU a racist and you stopped to ask what I mean? Not assuming my intention but literally asking what I meant to imply? Not EVERYTHING is racist / racism. People tell me my book title is racist. Huh? Maybe like text language this willy-nilly use of the word represents a general breakdown in communication skills; when all else fails cry racism. I don’t know. What I do know is that people have to be bold enough to stop their accuser in their tracks. Get some clarification. If not how can we ever hope to advance past rudimentary name calling to intelligent dialogue and productive relations? A cynical part of me thinks the overall goal is to NOT advance the conversation; things are just fine the way they are. I don’t think there’s a conspiracy per se, just a lazy way of thinking and relating to each other. And that is something we truly need to “get over”. 

The Book