By Charles Badger
4. If you think it’s racist to “inject” race into this and we should just be “colorblind,” yet you:
a) support “stop and frisk” (NOT-colorblind)
b) support “show me your papers” (NOT-colorblind); and,
c) support profiling Arab males at airports (NOT-colorblind, either)
…then what you really want is colorblind rules when it’s to the disadvantage of people of color but colorful policies when it’s to the benefit of white people…ergo: you might be a hypocrite.
7. If you understand (correctly) that Elizabeth Warren’s claim to Native American status in Massachusetts was laughable, yet don’t see that Zimmerman having a Latina mother doesn’t make his claim to being “Hispanic” any less laughable–because your race isn’t your family tree, it’s the treatment you’re accorded by others–then you might be a hypocrite.
8. Moreover, if you think Zimmerman being Hispanic is at all relevant to determining whether he racially profiled Trayvon Martin–as if, somehow being Hispanic means you can’t be racist–yet you believe black people are more racist than white people (a recent Rasmussen poll shows 22-percent of Americans think this) and you believe affirmative action is “reverse racism” by white people against white people, then you might be a very amusing hypocrite.
(Moreover, if you think Zimmerman “having black friends” and black relatives means he can’t be racist, you should acquaint yourself with the names Strom Thurmond and Thomas Jefferson.)
19. If you say, but “what about the 90%+ of black men killed by other black men?,” after all, shouldn’t black people be more concerned about “black-on-black crime?”; without realizing that says nothing about race and violence since 86% of white people are killed by another white person—because crime, is in significant part, a function of proximity and opportunity.
By Kyle “Guante” Tran Myhre
Getting wildly, irrationally defensive even though it’s not about you:
My column from last week basically just says “if you’re white and upset about the verdict, here are some things you can do to confront racism in your own life.” That’s it.
But then come the comments: “It’s racist to say that white people are racist!” “Why do we have to make such a big deal out of this?” “I’m white and I paid to go to college so there’s no such thing as white privilege!” “Why do we have to be singled out?“ The people talking about racism are the real racists!” “We’re not all like that!” “I’m so offended!”
White people: “talking about racism” does not equal “attacking you personally.” We desperately need to stop being so insecure every time anyone brings up anything remotely related to race and racism. You don’t have to agree, but to immediately jump into “eyes-closed-and-screaming” mode speaks volumes about you and the kind of world in which you’d prefer to live.
Refusing to acknowledge the role that race plays in our lives:
“It wasn’t about race.” That was the most consistent theme in the responses. Time and time again, when there is a racial incident in this country, people of color point to the giant racist elephant rampaging through the room and white people say “oh that’s probably just the wind.”
Is it possible that Zimmerman would have approached a white kid the same way he approached Trayvon Martin? Sure… it’s possible. But the lived experience of millions upon millions of people says that it’s also extremely naïve to believe that.
When people of color talk about racism, they’re not just making things up. There’s no Black Santa who delivers big bags of money to anyone who claims to have been discriminated against. Racial profiling, harassment and discrimination are daily realities for millions of people. To just dismiss that as “whining” or “playing the race card” is unbelievably arrogant.
“Refusing to talk about racism” doesn’t end racism. “Ending racism” ends racism. If your house is on fire, you don’t just ignore the flames away. Maybe a better metaphor is if your neighbors’ house is on fire, you don’t tell them to “stop making such a big deal out of it.” You don’t look the other direction and say “but are you sure it’s on fire?” You help, or you get out of the way.
Focusing on the details and ignoring the big picture:
“Zimmerman was half-Peruvian!” “911 dispatchers don’t have the authority to give orders!” “Trayvon was big and really strong and got in trouble at school!” “Zimmerman had an African-American girlfriend once!” “Since Travyon was right-handed, and standing at x angle, and the moon was at y point in the sky, there’s no way he could have…”
I think the biggest misconception about the outrage around the Zimmerman trial is that people are mad about the verdict. To be fair, many are. But many more are mad because Travyon Martin happens every day in this country. It may not always end with a dramatic gun death, but young black and brown men are demonized, profiled, harassed, imprisoned and killed every day for being young black and brown men (and women too, let’s be honest).
The marches and rallies that have been happening recently aren’t just about Trayvon Martin. They’re about the culture that demonizes black and brown youth, assuming that they’re dangerous, threatening, and up-to-no-good. They’re about the lack of accountability and consequences in police brutality cases. They’re about disproportionate minority confinement. They’re about the selective application of the “Stand Your Ground” law. They’re about the gross over-representation of people of color in the criminal justice system. They’re about who is given the benefit of the doubt and who isn’t, time and time again. They’re about the continued de-valuing of black and brown life in this country.
Argue about the specific details of this specific case all you want, but nothing in the above paragraph is up for debate. That’s the big picture that we—especially those of us who identify as white—have to see, if we ever hope to transition from “having a conversation about racism” to “doing something about racism.”