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The following is based mainly on Robert Jensen’s article “What White People Fear” (2010). Jensen, a professor of journalism at the University of Texas at Austin, is one of the most notable white anti-racists alive  in America.

Despite the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s, which overturned racist laws in America and brought an end to its apartheid, whites and blacks are still clearly unequal on things as simple as home ownership, education and even infant mortality. Change has been slow over the past 40 years, so slow that at present rates it will take tens if not hundreds of years for whites and blacks to become equal.

Why is change so slow? After writing and speaking about racism for more than ten years Jensen concludes that it is fear: whites on both the right and the left are afraid of living in a world without racism.

On the right whites are afraid of losing white privilege, what some call “our way of life”. It would mean giving up wealth and power. Even poor whites, who see very little of said wealth and power, agree. Yes, they are that brainwashed by the rich, who have long used race to divide the poor against each other.

On the left it is a bit different. They talk the talk – equality blah blah diversity blah blah multiculturalism blah blah – but do not walk the walk. They say the right things but have done precious little to change anything.

In the end whites on both the left and the right believe the same thing: “I’m white and I’m special.”

At the heart of their fears is a “fragile sense of white self-importance”. Their history runs with blood: they did not get to where they are through fair play but through naked violence. Whites do not want to face up to it but at some level they all know it is true.

Whites have opened up some of their institutions to people of colour in the name of diversity, but only to the degree that whites feel comfortable and only on their terms. So it is no accident that power and control still lies largely in white hands. Diversity becomes window dressing, not a change in the power relationship between whites and others.

Jensen himself knows first-hand that it is hard for whites to give up control to those who are not white, to those who do not share a white-centric worldview.

Hard but worth it:

I have a choice: I can be white — that is, I can refuse to challenge white supremacy or centrality — or I can be a human being. I can rest comfortably in the privileges that come with being white, or I can struggle to be fully human. But I can’t do both. Though the work is difficult, the choice for those of us who are white should be easy.

See also:

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Remarks:

Ms Badu walks through Dallas where President Kennedy was shot.

Lyrics:

so, presently I’m standing
here right now
you’re so demanding
tell me what you want from me
concluding
concentrating on my music, lover and my babies
makes me wanna ask the lady for a ticket outta town…

so can I get a window seat
don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
a look around
and a safe touch down
can I get a window seat
don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a chance to fly
a chance to cry
and a long bye bye..

but I need you to want me
I need you to miss me
I need your attention, yes
I need you next me
I need someone to clap for me
I need your direction
somebody say come back
come back baby come back
I want you to need me
come back come back baby come back
come back come back baby come back
come back come back baby come back

so, in my mind I’m tusslin’
back and forth ‘tween here and hustlin’
I don’t wanna time travel no mo
I wanna be here
I’m thinking
on this porch I’m rockin’
back and forth light lightning hopkins
if anybody speak to scotty
tell him beam me up..

so can I get a window seat
don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
a look around
and a safe touch down
can I get a window seat
don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a chance to fly
a chance to cry
and a long bye bye..

but I need you to miss me
I need somebody come get me
I need your attention
I need your energy
I need someone to clap me
I need your direction

somebody say come back
come back baby come back
come back come back baby come back
come back come back baby come back
come back come back baby come back

but can I get a window seat
don’t want nobody next to me
I just want a ticket outta town
a look around
and a safe touch down…

I just wanna chance to fly
a chance to cry
and a long bye bye…

They play it safe, are quick to assassinate what they do not understand. They move in packs ingesting more and more fear with every act of hate on one another. They feel most comfortable in groups, less guilt to swallow. They are us. This is what we have become. Afraid to respect the individual. A single person within a circumstance can move one to change. To love ourself. To evolve.

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Some white people tell me I see racism in everything. I used to think it was just a way to dismiss what I was saying. But even whites who are otherwise serious about the subject of racism say it, so it is not merely just a way to get me to shut up.

First of all, I do not see racism in everything. While I do think that racism in America, both white racism and internalized racism, is far from dead, I doubt it accounts for everything. For example, I think fatherlessness and having children out of wedlock have little to do with racism – both were far lower among blacks in the 1950s when racism was worse. And both have knock-on effects on the rates of crime and poverty on top of the effects of racism.

But I do not talk much here about supposed black pathologies because they get more than enough attention elsewhere. And because I know full well whites use them to get themselves off the hook: See, blacks create their own mess – it has nothing to do with us!

Yet compared to most white people I do seem to see racism in everything. Because they see racism in almost nothing. Because they have narrowed the meaning of the word to just a kind of personal hatred. Because it does not affect them in a bad way. Because they do not want to face up to the racism their lives have been built on.

In reading about this on other blogs, it seems that what persuades them that they are right and I am wrong is that most people agree with them, not me. But “most people”, in this case, are white people!

Why in the world would white people be a better judge of racism in American society than black people? That would be like saying men are a better judge of sexism or straight people are a better judge of homophobia. It would be like asking monks about sex or the rich about poverty.

Does that mean that blacks are right about everything they say about racism? Hardly. But it does mean they have a far better understanding of racism than most whites do. They have to – they are affected by it way more.

I am certainly not right about everything I say. I accept that maybe I see racism in too many things – or too few things (some say I am too soft on whites). I have gone back and forth on this issue myself.

But if you do not believe me the worst thing you could do would be to turn to white people or television. What on earth do they they know? But there are tons and tons of books and blogs written by living, breathing black people and other people of colour. Read those, the more the better, putting yourself into their shoes, and see for yourself how much of this stuff I am making up.

See also:

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Remarks:

I have never been a big Janelle Monae fan, but I like this song.

Lyrics:

Whoaaa
Another day
I take your pain away

Some people talk about ya
Like they know all about ya
When you get down they doubt ya
And when you dip it on the scene
Yeah they talkin’ bout it
Cause they can’t dip on the scene
Whatcha talk about it
T-t-t-talkin’ bout it
When you get elevated,
They love it or they hate it
You dance up on them haters
Keep getting funky on the scene
Why they jumpin’ round ya
They trying to take all your dreams
But you can’t allow it

Cause baby whether you’re high or low
Whether you’re high or low
You gotta tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
T-t-t-tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)

Baby, baby, baby

Whether you’re high or low
(High or low)
Baby whether you’re high or low
(High or low)
You got to tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
Now let me see you do the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
And I’m still tippin’ on it

See I’m not walkin’ on it
Or tryin to run around it
This ain’t no acrobatics
You either follow or you lead, yeah

I’m talkin’ bout you,
I’ll keep on blaming the machine, yeah
I’m talkin’ bout it,
T-t-t-talkin’ bout it
I can’t complain about it
I gotta keep my balance

And just keep dancin on it
We gettin funky on the scene

Yeah you know about it,
Like a star on the screen
Watch me tip all on it

Then baby whether I’m high or low
(High or low)
Baby whether you’re high or low
(High or low)
You gotta tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
Yeah, tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)

Baby, baby, baby

Whether you’re high or low
(High or low)
Baby whether you’re high or low
(High or low)
Tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
Baby let me see you tight rope
(Tip, tip on it)
And I’m still tippin’ on it

Big Boi
You gotta keep your balance
Or you fall into the gap
It’s a challenge but I manage
Cause I’m cautious with the strap
No damage to your cameras damn I thought that
Can I passy
Why you don’t want no friction
Like the back of a matchbook
That I pass as I will forward you
And your MacBook
Clothes shows will shut you down
Before we go-go backwards
Act up, and whether we high or low
We gonna get back-up
Like the dow jones and nasdaq
Sorta like a thong in an ass crack,
Come on

I tip on alligators and little rattle snakers
But I’m another flavor
Something like a terminator
Ain’t no equivocating
I fight for what I believe
Why you talkin’ bout it
S-s-she’s talkin’ bout it
Some callin me a sinner
Some callin me a winner
I’m callin you to dinner
And you know exactly what I mean,

Yeah I’m talkin bout you
You can rock or you can leave
Watch me tip without you

N-N-Now whether I’m high or low
(High or low)
Whether I’m high or low
(High or low)
I’m gonna tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
MMMMMM
(Tip, tip on it)

Baby, baby, baby
Whether I’m high or low
Goblogtainment
(High or low)
High or low
(High or low)
I got to tip on the tightrope
(Tip, tip on it)
Now baby tip on the tightrope

You can’t get too high
(You can’t get too high)
I said you can’t get too low
(We can’t get too low)
Cause you get too high
(You can’t get too high)
No you’ll surely be low
(No, you’ll surely be low)
1, 2, 3, Ho!

Yeah, yeah
Now shut up, yeah
Yeah, Now put some voodoo on it
Ladies and Gentlemen the funky is on section in the tribalist
Yeah, OH
We call that classy brass

Ohhhhhhh
OH!

Do you mind?
If I play the ukulele
Just like a little lady
Do you mind?
If I play the ukulele
Just like a little lady
As I play the ukulele
If I play my ukulele
Just like a little lady

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Remarks:

Pras’s take on the old U2 song with Sharli McQueen singing.

Lyrics:

[Sharli McQueen]
What I wanna do
Uhh, uhh, one two one two c’mon
One two one two c’mon
Yo, c’mon, yo
Movin around the world and daydream of days that money brings
Chasin material assumin that it’s happiness inside
You think that you could buy a better life, no matter the price
But you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
Haven’t found what you’re lookin for

[Pras Michel]
Yo it’s official now, I’m your, freedom fighter
If you feelin what I’m feelin people, put up your lighters yeah
Get in my cypher yeah, get in the grind
And I won’t stop rockin through the world seen the shine
Because I been many places, seen many faces
Shook many hands and mixed with many races
From nowhere to Bombay, did it my way
Got my style from the ghetto, took it straight to Broadway
Spit these bars cause in the hood I’m the instrument
Been around the world I stepped on seven continents (that’s right y’all)
20 millions later, I settled the score
They got money for war but can’t feed the poor

[Sharli McQueen]
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
One two one two one two c’mon
I’m stayin love you, but you don’t notice me (c’mon)
Diamonds and fancy cars, female celebrities all the time
You give away the things you say was mine, chasin the shine
But you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
Yo, haven’t found what you’re lookin for

[Pras Michel]
We gotta, make a move, by any means necessary
From January and January to January
Look out my window it’s a robbery
People still put they ones in the lottery
Big fish always try to eat the small fish
They do anything just to get their last wish
War in the East, there’s war in the West
War down South I stay war ‘pon the rest
As it’s been said, let it be done
And there’s nothing new underneath the sun
So we preserve what’s destined to come
And share our thoughts and blessings with our daughters and sons

[Sharli McQueen]
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
And you stillllll, haven’t found, what you’re lookin forrrrrrrr
Haven’t found what you’re lookin for

[Pras]
Guerilla baby!

[Sharli McQueen]
Haven’t found, oh no no no

[Pras]
Ah, yeah, alright
What, what, guerillas

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Black and White Americans read this blog very differently

How to read this blog like many White Americans seem to:

  1. “Whites”: Imagine the word “all” before each use of the word “whites”. This is a special rule of White American English that does not appear in any grammar book.
  2. “Evil”: If “whites” and “evil” appear in the same sentence, imagine the word “uniquely” before the word “evil”. Or even “pure”. Or both.
  3. “Racist”: If the words “whites” and “racist” are in the same sentence, then do not even trouble yourself with reading the rest of the post – just jump down to the comments and start acting offended. Try it! Remember, only white  nationalists and those who use the n-word can possibly be racist. All other whites are Well Meaning, Basically Good and Would Know If They Were Racist. Blacks would have no idea because they cannot read minds.
  4. General statements about whites: these are racist and therefore false. Because whites are individuals, because to see colour in the first place is racist, because to make general statements about a race is stereotyping, a part of racism.
  5. White is right: so Abagond must be wrong. Even if you cannot say why.
  6. Abagond hates whites: This follows from #5 because what other reason could there be for him to say bad stuff about whites?
  7. This is a Bash Whitey blog: which follows from #6. Abagond hates whites so much that he wants to make them to look bad or feel bad. Clearly that is his whole reason for blogging.
  8. Stereotype his position.Here are some of the choices:
    • Playing the race card
    • Whining
    • Advanced Whining
    • Whites are pure evil (white devils)
    • Living in the past

    If he sounds kind of like he saying one of these then he is.  After all, Black America is capable of maybe six different opinions at once. If that.

  9. He is an Ungrateful Darkie: He does not seem to know that Progress Has Been Made and that blacks in America have it so much better than in Africa. Point this out to him!
  10. When he tells about a personal experience:
    1. If you or any white person you know has had the same experience then say, “It happens to whites too!” Even if you have to stretch it.
    2. Otherwise he must be making it up just to make whites look bad. What else could it be?
  11. If he says something bad about whites, get upset. Take it personally. Clearly he does not know how to talk to white people, so there is no reason to take him seriously.
  12. Your feelings are more important than anything in the post, even the stuff he talks about that affects 40 million Americans – if not the whole country. Or much of the English-speaking world. But what is that compared to your feelings?
  13. The most important rule of all: Never ever try to understand what he is saying from his point of view. Why would you? What is the point? White is right, remember?

See also:

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The following is taken from a wonderful post by Ankhesen Mie about the tea baggers, edited down to 500 words by me:

Protesters go spitting and hurling racial slurs and surprise, surprise, we’re told not to pay attention. It’s an “isolated incident”. It doesn’t “mean” anything.

Yeah… and we’ve never heard that one before. As blogger Field Negro writes:

Poor James Clayburn, I saw my man on CNN this evening and he still looked scared. He told Wolf Blitzer that he was having flashbacks to those civil rights days. He said that he looked in the eyes of the tea baggers and saw the same hatred he saw back then. Yeah, that kind of hate just doesn’t happen overnight with the passing of a bill, Jim. No sir, that hate has been there all along. It’s just been hiding under the surface and waiting to come out.

In the meantime, I’m having flashbacks of my own.  Flashbacks to teary, screamy temper tantrums in 2008 – you all remember 2008, don’t you? Remember all the “isolated incidents and comments” back then? All that racist bullshit that wasn’t “really racist” and so we weren’t supposed to really talk about it or even show it on TV in-depth? You recall that “tiny, insignificant minority” of white folks we were supposed to simply laugh at and pretend didn’t really exist? Did you really think those people just vanished off the face of the earth?

And white people, I’m just… you know… I’m… *shakes head*… I’m actually quite proud of some of you.

If I go to Google right now and type in “tea party racist”, I will see a lot of white folks calling the Tea Party out. And they’re not talking that “politically incorrect” or “highly inappropriate” shit – they’re calling it racist and not trying to excuse or defend it in any way. And kids, that’s how you deal with racism. You call it out; you name it accurately and you expose it. You denounce it unequivocally and then you fight back.

These are not children, folks; ignoring their bad behavior won’t make it go away.

So from hereon out, white folks, I don’t want to hear any more, “Well, yeah… but you have to understand…” nonsense. Those are not fighting words. Those are roll-over-and-surrender words. So are “isolated incidents”. And “we’re not all like that” – we’re not talking about all of you. We’re talking about your racists, and we’re talking about all of them. So if you’re thinking strictly KKK, Stormfront, and neo-Nazis, you need to quit bullshittin’ and start accepting the unpleasant reality of things.

The Tea Party has revealed one of the ugliest faces of Average White America for all the world to see.

It has confirmed the often derailed testaments of POC about racism in America. It has confirmed every acrimonious observation from other nations about the so-called “Ugly American”. It has aired Average White America’s dirty laundry, flung wide its closet doors and unleashed all its skeletons.

Read the whole post here.

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