by John Hawkins | December 20, 2014 5:12 am
Since we’ve entered the Obama era, we’ve learned that the same America that elected a black President twice is supposedly a seething caldron of secret racism. Don’t like Obama? You must be racist. Don’t like Democrats? Definitely racist! So you’re opposed to Obamacare? Obviously racist. Sick of the IRS? Racist, racist, RACIST! Are you Republican? A Tea Partier? Just a plain old white guy? You’re a super racisty racist!!! We’re now even regularly hearing speculation that people are unknowingly racist, subconsciously racist or just racist by virtue of the fact that they somehow benefit from “white privilege.”
Here’s an alternative idea: 99% of the cries of racism today are made for political reasons by people who habitually cry racism every time they have a problem or alternatively, just by hypersensitive, coddled losers who are desperate to blame anyone but themselves for their own failures.
Just as an example, nobody wants to hear the poor put-upon First Lady of the United States complaining that she was discriminated against because someone asked for her help getting something off the shelf at Target. Similarly, someone asked her husband to go get some coffee because he was wearing a tuxedo and the person mistook him for a waiter? Boo freaking hoo. A lot of people get mistaken for store employees at some point in their life. I’ve been mistaken for a Wal-Mart employee – and despite the fact that I wasn’t wearing a blue smock with “How may I help you?” on it, it never occurred to me to blame it on racism. “That’s because you’re white!” No, it’s because I’m not an asshat who chalks up every minor inconvenience in my life to race.
Along similar lines, no one wants to hear a man worth almost 300 million dollars, like Floyd Mayweather, claiming he’d be worth a lot more if he were white. This is a guy who has made hundreds of millions of dollars punching people in the face for a living while he beats women in his off time and he’s complaining that he got a raw deal? What’s wrong with noting how ridiculous that sounds?
The same goes for Oprah Winfrey, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Chris Rock, Jamie Foxx and dozens of other rich, spoiled, pampered brats who’ve been handed success on a silver platter. Apparently, they all think we should treat them like Rosa Parks because of some minor inconveniences in their life that may have tangentially involved race on the way to superstardom.
Of course, they’re all minor leaguers compared to professional race-baiters like Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Toure, Eric Dyson, Melissa Harris-Perry, Eugene Robinson, Roland Martin, Ta-Nehisi Coates and the other boring mediocrities who have nothing to offer other than being shameless enough to call anything and everything racism for fun and profit. These people are despicable and they should have to go get real jobs instead of being given media platforms to smear innocent people for profit.
Then there are the hypersensitive among us, like Brittney Cooper.
On Friday, I was on the train to New York to do a teach-in on Ferguson at NYU. Beats headphones on, lost in thought, peering out the window, I suddenly saw a white hand shoving my work carry-on toward me. Startled, I looked up to see the hand belonged to a white guy, who was haphazardly handling my open bag, with my laptop perched just inside to make space for himself on the seat next to me.
That he wanted the seat on the now full train was not the problem. That he assumed the prerogative to place his hands on my bag, grab it, shove it at me, all while my computer was unsecured and peaking out, infuriated me. I said to him, “Never put your hands on my property.”
His reply: “Well, you should listen when I talk to you.” That line there, the command that when he, whoever he was, spoke, I should automatically listen encapsulates the breadth of the battle against racism we have to fight in this country.
Maybe the problem isn’t that he’s a racist; maybe it’s that Brittney Cooper is a selfish person who felt fully entitled to take up two seats on a crowded train and she didn’t like it when someone else called her on it.
Then there are the students at Oberlin who don’t think they should be able to receive less than a “C” in any class because they were out protesting Ferguson instead of studying. Gee, that sounds almost like they’re trying to assert some kind of BLACK PRIVILEGE, doesn’t it? But, that can’t be it because such a thing doesn’t exist. Apparently only “white privilege” does, which is why there are no white people who are on welfare, homeless, who get shot by cops or who are generally just failing at life in some other way and….oh wait, there are lots of white people like that. We just don’t treat their skin color as an acceptable excuse for their failures.
Anyway, the point isn’t that racism doesn’t exist because it certainly does. We could all bring up behavior that everyone from the most sensitive liberal to the most pragmatic conservative would agree is racism. The point also isn’t that “black Americans” have some kind of problem because people should be treated as individuals, not part of some nameless, faceless group. There are lots of black Americans who have no problem calling out real racism, but who don’t act as if every disagreement between a white man and a black man is a repeat of Selma, 1965.
The real point is that too many Americans have been enabling this bad behavior and that needs to stop.
Stop caring if you get called “racist” or not because quite frankly, the word doesn’t mean anything anymore. Hearing “racist” may mean that you’re a Republican, that you hold a political position someone disagrees with, that you’re white, that you’re having any kind of disagreement with a black person or that someone wants the conversation to stop for whatever reason. It’s like the “boy who cried wolf.” How many times do you come running without seeing a wolf before you go? “This is stupid, we shouldn’t do it anymore?” At what point do people stop freaking out when they’re branded as racist for no reason? The 10th? The 100th? The 1000th?
Furthermore, it’s time to stop treating Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the NAACP as spokesmen for black Americans because they’re not. They’re some of the biggest enemies conservative black Americans have and they’re all primarily interested in filling their pockets rather than helping anyone. Don’t meet with them. Don’t seek their approval. Don’t pretend like they’re disinterested observers, as opposed to race hustlers. In short, they’re not the kings of all black Americans; so don’t treat them that way.
Additionally, stop acting as if someone’s illogical “feeling” about whether something is racist or not is valid. For example, the whole idea that a cop shot Mike Brown because he was black, as opposed to because he was a thug who robbed a convenience store, attacked a cop and then charged him is just dumb and allowing it to go unchallenged has real repercussions. Stop rolling your eyes in private when people say these things and start rolling them in public.
We have to do that because realistically, since racism has already been forced to the farthest fringes of our society, we can’t expect the future to be significantly less racist than it is today. Maybe we can make some minor improvements at the margins, but what you’re looking at today is probably as good as it gets – and what do we have? People who think a guy moving their stuff on the bus is the equivalent of not being allowed to drink at a white water fountain. This is not a problem that will ever be fixed with “more sensitivity.” It’s a problem that will be fixed with more honesty and more reality. You don’t have to be rude or “fight fire with fire.” You don’t have to reel off black crime statistics for the last 30 years. We just have to stop letting the most hypersensitive among us decide what’s acceptable and what isn’t in American society. It doesn’t matter what color we are, we’re all just people and it’s time we start acting like it.
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