On The Face Of It


There is still way too much hate in the world. Too many people, including friends and family members of mine, are at least semi-open (and not seldom enough completely open) in their belief that their race is inherently superior to others. Oh many try to sugar coat it, or hide it in coded language, but it is obvious to anyone paying even a little attention. That said, for the most part that particular kind of racism, the obvious bigotry and willful supremacist attitudes that we like to think of the hallmark of racism is on the decline. I am happy to say most of the people I know do not just believe the races are equal in capability but are actually offended by overt racism. Hurray for all of us.

I am sorry if this comes of as cynical and cruel. I truly am glad that attitudes have improved, but too few are willing to really challenge the systems that hold PoC in virtual bondage. It is all well and good to say you do not hate or fear (at least openly) black faces, however when you do not back that up by fighting to undermine your unearned privilege it all rings hollow. Take for instance this:


Seriously, it is great that you can see a brown face as beautiful. It is great that you do not want this girl to be hated for her mixed heritage. You should feel that way though, or be capable of it. You know you are not convincing any of the willful racists out there. They are going to see this child as aberrant. Fortunately they are on the decline, but this sort of thing does not help. We have decades of this sort of messaging,  those that will hear, will, and posting this seems more about patting ourselves on the back than anything else. Never mind about that though, I will not beat this one up too much, it is a kind and loving sentiment. In reality it is this next pic that really gets to me:


I see this and I just want to scream “no shit! Where do you think they learn it?” Because I have to tell you, it is not, as some liberals want to believe, from their parents. Oh, yes, bigoted parents are more likely to raise bigoted kids, but that really the systems are kept in place by far more subtle crap than that. All white kids learn racism when they see faces like theirs represented overwhelmingly in TV and movies. They learn racism when they can get away with a violation for possession but their black peers are sent to jail or worse. They learn racism when in hard economic times they can count on finding some kind, any kind, of employment. Then they turn around and reinforce the shit out of it when these things are brought up and their response is “but I’m not like that.”

Honestly, all of these memes feel like happy-hippy bullshit to me. I almost never see them posted by PoC. It is always a white person, often liberal, but also more than a few conservatives. They post these like saying it enough will make it true, that it will absolve them in their own culpability in the institutions that will make the black child’s life a hundred times more difficult than the white child. I know I am not the first, by far, to point this out but saying you are color blind means you are saying you are blind to the challenges your PoC friends and neighbors have had to face. Rather than saying you do not see the color of their skin, say you see it, you acknowledge what it has meant for them and get up and fight like hell to change that. Otherwise you are just rubbing one off and making yourself feel good.


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