Archive for the ‘race’ Category

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.

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The following is based on Chapter 6 of Frantz Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952): “The Black Man and Psychopathology”:

Why white people are so afraid of black men:

  1. Black men are seen as being way less moral.
  2. White men fear they will take white women from them.

Take the last one first:

White men think that black men have bigger penises. They think that once a white woman sleeps with a black man she will never want a white man again: if it is not for their size then it is because black men are so much better in bed.

None of this is based on fact. According to science the African penis and the European penis are the same size on average. There is no proof whatsoever that “Once you go black you never come back”. And prostitutes will tell you that black men and white men are pretty much the same in bed.

Fanon finds it a bit odd that any man should be thinking that much about other men’s penises and sex appeal, that they should be saying stuff like black men have an “aura of sensuality”, etc. He says it comes from repressed homosexuality.

But white women too are afraid of black men. Fanon saw it for himself when he fought in Europe in the Second World War: he was in three or four countries and every time white women would shrink back in fear if he asked them for a dance – even though he was hardly in a position to do them harm.

Black men are seen as little better than animals. Therefore they are feared for what their bodies can do, which means they are feared for their penises, which accordingly become large in the white imagination. Thus: “whoever says rape says black man”.

In Europe Jews were feared too but no one feared Jewish rapists. When violence was turned on them no one thought to castrate them. Because they were feared for their minds, not their bodies.

But the sex thing is not all of it. Blacks are also seen as morally dark, as sinful and evil – as if blacks were born with original sin but whites were born pure.

Even in Martinique where Fanon grew up and where nearly everyone was black, his mother would tell him to “stop acting like a nigger” if he did something wrong. And if his conscience was clear he would say he was “white as snow”.

This comes from the colour black being seen as evil, bad, dark and dirty and the colour white as pure, innocent and clean. Whites thought that way long before they ever took blacks as slaves, but it did help to support the idea of black people as morally bad and whites as morally pure.

Whites  also use blacks as scapegoats: it is easier for them to imagine blacks as the screwed-up ones instead of facing up to their own morally broken nature.

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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.

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The use of black rape statistics is a common white racist argument. It seeks to prove that black men have a dark and savage nature by showing that they rape women at vastly higher rates than white men. The beauty of the argument is that few whites question it because it plays on two stereotypes they have about black men: they are violent and they have stronger sex drives that they cannot control.

First, as black crime goes rape is rare. Here are the top ten crimes committed by blacks in America according to FBI numbers on arrests made in 2007:

  1. 485,054 Drug abuse violations
  2. 261,730 Larceny, theft
  3. 316,217 Assault (non-aggravated)
  4. 183,810 Disorderly conduct
  5. 109,985 Aggravated assault
  6. 97,472 Driving under the influence
  7. 68,052 Burglary
  8. 62,278 Drunkenness
  9. 57,745 Weapons; carrying, possessing, etc.
  10. 54,774 Robbery

Forcible rape was not even close to making this list: there were only 5,708 arrests.

Second, white men are a far bigger threat. Despite the racism of the police and the stereotypes about black rapists, the police still arrest twice as many white men for rape.

Going by the stereotypes, you would expect whiter countries to be safer. Wrong. Despite the millions of black men in America, women are way safer there than in Canada and Australia, where rape is more than twice as common.

So where are the statistics that show black men are such dangerous rapists? It comes from comparing not all rapes but just interracial rapes. Comments like this often appear on this blog:

Fact – blacks rape white women 2000 (yes 2000) times more than whites rape black women. In New York City, about 300 white women are raped by blacks every year BUT there has not been a black woman raped by a white male in anybody’s memory (going back over 20 yrs.) Consider: Al Sharpton had to go upstate New York to find a hoax and that was almost 20 years ago. (Source NYT 4/22/05)

That looks solid: the New York Times said so! Except that it did not: there is no such article.

I looked up the numbers for myself:

The FBI does not break out numbers for interracial rape but the Justice Department does for “rape and sexual assault” – based on a crime victim survey it does every year. But interracial rape is so rare that there are fewer than ten cases in its sample. So you cannot draw any firm statistical conclusions.

On television rape is a dark-alley crime, but in fact strangers commit only 2% of rapes. Half are done by current or former boyfriends, dates and husbands. Interracial rape is rare for the same reasons that interracial marriage is rare. So rare that there are not even solid government figures on it.

But better numbers would not help: after all, if you applied the same reasoning to numbers on marriage it would “prove” that black men are by nature also more likely to marry.

The argument is built not on sound reasoning and solid facts but on white fears that go back at least to Jim Crow times.

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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?

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Patroclus and Achilles from a Greek drinking cup, circa 500 BC

How white was Ancient Greece? There are at least three answers, two short and one long:

Answer #1: They were white, just look at them: There is plenty of artwork from at least 600 BC onwards that clearly shows that the Greeks looked white – just like the people in Greece now.

Answer #2: They were part black. Some say that Egypt sent settlers or that the Pelasgians, the people who were in Greece before the Indo-European Greeks arrived, were from Africa. According to one DNA testing company Greeks are 5% black.

Now the longer answer:

Answer #3: Calling them white is anachronistic: “white” is a Western invention used to excuse slavery and colonialism during the last several hundred years. The ancient Greeks certainly did not think of themselves as white: they divided the world not by race but by language: those who spoke Greek were Greeks, those who did not were barbarians.

More: “White” is based not just on looks – it is based on culture too. You see that with Arabs: in the Middle East they are  not seen as white by Americans, but if they come to America and take on White American ways, they are – like Steve Jobs and Ralph Nader.

In that sense, then, the Ancient Greeks were no more white or Western than the British are “Nigerian” or “Australian”. It is backwards thinking.

Thinking that leads to some strange and curious things:

  1. The West “begins with the Greeks”. Not because it does – despite the way some White Americans talk, civilization is not a white invention. Their civilization comes from Egypt and the Middle East by way of Greece and Rome. But they see it as starting with Greece because it was the first “white” country to be civilized. And it was first only because it was closest to Egypt.
  2. The Greeks seem to have amazing intelligence. Because Westerners are taught to turn a blind eye to the Egyptian roots of Greek civilization: the columns, the paper, the science and mathematics, etc, all came straight out of Egypt. Even before Alexandria became the centre of Greek learning, people like Plato, Pythagoras, Solon and Thales all studied in Egypt. “The glory that was Greece” was built not on some kind of amazing Greek grey matter but sailing times to Egypt.
  3. Ancient Greeks are seen as “universal”, not “ethnic” by Anglos, who play up what they have in common with the Ancient Greeks. They do not apply that kind of thinking to the Greeks of the past 1500 years, who they look down on as unimportant, even the Byzantine Empire.
  4. The Ancient Greeks were seen as white before Greek Americans were. Just as Jesus was seen as white before the Jews were. In the 1920s laws were passed to keep Greeks and other such undesirables from coming to America in large numbers – in part to keep them from destroying the country culturally and genetically.

Yes, this is another example of the white lens, of reading history while white.

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Is America still genocidal? According to the Teflon Theory of White History the answer is no: the last full-blown genocide was in the 1800s. That was too long ago, so it has absolutely no effect on the present. To prove your case you need to provide Recent Examples:

  • Because wiping out over a million people could not possibly affect White American ideas about race and human worth. Or be a sign of how screwed up they might still be;
  • Because enjoying the material fruits of said genocide could not possibly cause a serious case of Moral Blindness in which white people turn a blind eye to the very faults that led to genocide.

Genocide is a crime. And like with other crimes, those who have done it once are more likely to do it again. Sudan has carried out two genocides in my lifetime. Ethiopia and what used to be Yugoslavia are also repeat offenders.What about America?

Genocides unfold in eight stages:

  1. Classification: the division into “us and them”. Example: Asking an Asian American what country he is from.
  2. Symbolization: applying symbols to the them to mark them out as pariahs, as objects of hate. Examples: black skin, yellow stars, race or religion on ID cards.
  3. Dehumanization: seeing the pariahs as not truly human. Example: the word “nigger”.
  4. Organization: training and arming. Example: the Ku Klux Klan.
  5. Polarization: silencing the voices in the middle that still stand up for the pariahs. Example: calling whites who stand up for blacks “nigger lovers”.
  6. Preparation: separating the pariahs from everyone else. Examples: ghettos, prison camps.
  7. Extermination: mass killings. Example: the Holocaust.
  8. Denial: dispute the numbers, blame history, see it as “natural”, derail discussions about it, etc. Examples: The comments on this post?

The first step is “natural”, as Americans would put it, meaning it is common to all human societies. It is when it moves beyond Stage 1 that something is going seriously wrong.

White America has gone beyond Stage 1 not once but at least three times:

  • Stage 7: 1600s to 1800s: Native Americans
  • Stage 5: 1870s to 1950s: blacks
  • Stage 6: 1940s: Japanese Americans

Where different sorts of Americans are now:

  • Stage 0: whites
  • Stage 1: Asians, Mexicans, Muslims
  • Stage 2:
  • Stage 3: blacks
  • Stage 4:
  • Stage 5:
  • Stage 6:
  • Stage 7:
  • Stage 8: Native Americans ?

Jews I would put at 0.6, Muslims, at 1.8.

I am not sure if Native Americans are an 8: I put them there because in my experience whites are not comfortable talking about it and try to derail. If you cannot admit to a fault there is little chance of change. Like a drunk who thinks he is not a drunk.

But even apart from that, you still have blacks at 3. Deep down whites think of blacks as monkeys. That makes it easier to kill them or, what is most commonly the case, to stand by and do little when they die in large numbers, as during the heroin and crack epidemics and the high murder rates that followed.

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“You are the one keeping racism alive” means that talking about race helps to keep racism alive. That it would die a natural death if people just stopped talking about it. That I should stop talking about race and go back to writing about half-naked women or the Middle East or whatever it was I was writing about before race became a big subject on my blog. That I am causing more harm than good.

It is something white commenters often say on this blog. Yes, white. I cannot remember a black commenter or any person of colour ever saying that, not even the right-wing ones. That alone should make you wonder about where this thought is coming from.

And it goes beyond this blog:

  • Rush Limbaugh seems to think racism is kept alive by the “race industry”, by people like Al Sharpton.
  • Three-fourths of white parents do not talk to their children about race.

Some white beliefs that support this:

  1. Race is unimportant: race does not affect whites directly in a bad way. Unlike people of colour, they do not have to think about race unless they want to.
  2. Racism is dead: because it does not affect them, many whites think it has died away. It is just something in the history books: slavery, Jim Crow and all that.
  3. Noticing race is racist: many whites do not see the difference between being race conscious (knowing how race affects your life) and racism (looking down on people because of their race).
  4. If we do not talk about racism it will go away: an odd idea that no one thinks to apply to things like sexism, cancer, crime, dishonest government or any of the other ills of human life. What makes racism so different?

Blacks are one-eighth of America. They could not keep racism alive all by themselves even if they wanted to. They do not control the courts, the police, the newspapers, the schools and all the rest. But whites do.

Whites in America have five times more votes and 50 times more wealth. Like it or not, racism rises or falls with them. Racism goes on because they continue to be racist. It is that simple. There is no huge mystery about it. It does not fall out of the sky or come up through the cracks in the sidewalk. It comes from whites acting in racist ways – not from black people talking about whites acting in racist ways.

Some whites might say “you are keeping racism alive” because they hold to one or more the beliefs listed above, but the heart of the matter is that talking about race makes white people uncomfortable. Because deep down, whether they want to admit it or not, they know that they have an unfair position in society because of the colour of their skin. Instead of living right they would rather live a lie – like they have been doing to different degrees ever since slave days.

– Abagond, 2010.

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The following is based on Chapter 5 of Frantz Fanon’s book “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952): “The Lived Experience of the Black Man”:

Frantz Fanon wants to be a man. But in the white world in which he lives his skin colour becomes everything, more important than even his education and achievements. While his neighbour or his cousin might hate him for good reason, white people hate him without even getting to know him. They are irrational.

He is seen not as Dr Fanon but as a black man who is a doctor. Everyone is watching and waiting for him to make a mistake.

I was walled in: neither my refined manners nor my literary knowledge nor my understanding of the quantum theory could find favor.

White people do not see him, they see his body:

My body was returned to me spread-eagled, disjointed, redone, draped in mourning on this white winter’s day. The Negro is an animal, the Negro is bad, the Negro is wicked, the Negro is ugly.

Instead of being a person, a man, an individual, he is a black man, a Negro, an object, a thing that has value only in relation to whites.  Always a Negro, never a man.

Look how handsome that Negro is.
The handsome Negro says, “Fuck you”, madame.

Even though the Catholic Church and science admit that black people are every bit as human as white people – their hearts are on the same side! – and even though white people themselves admit that racism goes against all reason, they still do not want you to marry their daughter.

Seeing that reason does not work with white people, some make up their mind to shout their blackness, to secrete race. Cesaire and Senghor took this road with their philosophy of negritude: on the other side of the white world there lies a magical black culture. Blacks have rhythm, their sex is magical, “Emotion is Negro as reason is Greek” and so on. But this only feeds white stereotypes about blacks.

And then there is black history: blacks had empires, scholars, iron workers and all the rest. But that is a dead end too since currently whites have the most advanced civilization in the world. At best it allows them to see blacks as the childhood of the world.

Even Sartre, a supposed friend of blacks, saw negritude not as something in its own right but merely as a passing reaction to white supremacy.


A feeling of inferiority? No, a feeling of not existing. Sin is black as virtue is white. All those white men, fingering their guns, can’t be wrong. I am guilty. I don’t know what of, but I know I’m a wretch.

In the Hollywood film “Home of the Brave” (1949) a soldier hurt in the war says: “Get used to your color the way I got used to my stump. We are both casualties.”

Fanon: I refuse to accept this amputation.

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solutions to colourism

I have been working on a post on solutions to colourism with commenter Mynameismyname. As it turned out, Myname had by far the best ideas, so it has turned into a guest post by him:

1. Create a solid basis of ethnic pride. Have a precise and thorough knowledge of your ethnicity’s achievements as well as a history of where you come from.

Black History Month, Asian-Pacific American Island Month, Hispanic Heritage Month, etc. are just one month a year. That’s why it’s important to explore the history and achievements of your ethnicity (as well as others’) year round. Read books and watch films that document this history. Learn as much as you can because without knowledge of where you come from, you won’t be able to know where you’re going.

2. Stress the beauty of all people, regardless of shade, hair texture, race, etc.

We’re all beautiful in our own way. There is no real hierarchy of beauty nor should there be one since no one’s beauty is inherently better than another’s. It’s important to embrace and, at the very least, respect the vast variety of human appearance.

3. Be aware of your own prejudices and biases. Even if you don’t consciously display them they may still appear subconsciously. Try to evaluate the nucleus of these prejudices.

Living in a place like the Western world, where racial bigotry and racialized thinking is part of its foundation, it is hard not to absorb some kind of racial bias. Very few of us are immune, even if we don’t verbally express some of these thoughts. That’s why it’s important to get to the core of the prejudices that we possess. Try to figure out why you think the way you do. Only then can you move forward in trying to erase these ideas. If not, this pathology will not only fester but continue to get passed down.

4. Know that media images are not real. Most of the “beauty” you see portrayed on television is created.

The “beauty” you see in the media is not natural. It’s the hard, labored work of the best makeup technicians, hair specialists, image consultants, fashion stylists, plastic surgeons, photographers and airbrush software that money can buy. Knowing just how false “the standard of beauty” is can help a young girl, for example, know that “without the works” Beyonce or Eva Longoria are no more beautiful than she is.

5. Get to know yourself and focus on your good points. Try to develop a strong sense of self so that someone else’s negative attitudes and actions don’t make you doubt your self worth. While we all have our faults, try to focus on your strengths and try to make them even stronger.

Yes, none of us are perfect. But we all have our strengths. Try to accentuate them. Hone them and make them yours. If you know yourself and your selves, how can anyone else tear you down?

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The following is based on Chapter 4 of Frantz Fanon’s book “Black Skin, White Masks” (1952): “The So-Called Dependency Complex of the Colonized”:

Mannoni, a French psychoanalyst, wanted to understand the mind of the native and the white colonial based on his experience and study of Madagascar under French rule in the 1930s and 1940s. Himself  a white colonial, he wrote a book about it, “The Psychology of Colonization” (1950). Frantz Fanon, himself a native (not of Madagascar but of Martinique) spends this chapter tearing it to pieces.

French rule of Madagascar was cruel. They used Senegalese soldiers to strike fear into the hearts of natives. In 1947 the French put down an uprising, killing 80,000 natives. As if that were not enough, in the footnotes Fanon tells of the French practice of torture in Madagascar.

Fanon calls the use of black soldiers to force French rule on people of colour “the racial allocation of guilt”. He quotes Francis Jeanson:

And if, apparently, you manage not to soil your hands, it’s because others are doing the dirty work in your place. You have your henchmen, and all things considered, you are the real guilty party; for without you, without your blind indifference, such men could not undertake acts that condemn you as much as they dishonor them.

So with all that in mind, here is the picture that Mannoni paints:

  • Most natives are content to put whites above them and be dependent on them because it fulfils a deep need in their hearts, one that was there long before whites showed up. Mannoni calls this a dependency complex.
  • A few natives are unhappy because they suffer from an inferiority complex, which makes them want to be the equal of whites.
  • Not all peoples can be colonized: only those who experience the need.
  • European civilization and its agents of the highest calibre are not responsible for colonial racism. It comes from lower-level whites who blame their unhappy lives on the natives.
  • When black men with guns appear in children’s dreams at night it is not because of the terror of French rule: no, the guns stand for penises.

The only part that Fanon feels Mannoni got at least part right:

  • White colonials suffer from a Prospero complex. Just like the Prospero in Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, they want to lord it over the natives. The colonies draw those whites who cannot accept others as they are, who do not want to have to take other men seriously but instead want to lord it over them.


I start suffering from not being a white man insofar as the white man discriminates against me; turns me into a colonized subject; … tells me I am a parasite in the world … So I will try quite simply to make myself white; in other words, I will force the white man to acknowledge my humanity. But, Monsieur Mannoni will tell us, you can’t, because deep down inside you there is a dependency complex.

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“My family never owned slaves” is something you hear White Americans say. Although not racist in itself it has the effect of turning a blind eye towards racism.

The statement by itself is true for most whites: even back in slave days in 1860 fewer than 2% of whites owned slaves! Slaves cost way too much for most people and in half the country it was against the law. On top of that millions of whites came to America long after the slaves were freed, like most Italians and Jews.

The trouble with the statement is not its truth but how it is used: to cut white people off from history. When they say black people live in the past and need to give the slave thing a rest, they are making the very same argument: history does not matter, it somehow magically does not affect anyone alive now. If we are affected at all by history it is only through our families, nothing else.

That is wishful thinking. America’s slave past still profoundly affects its present. Most white people, it seems, refuse to see that: it makes them uncomfortable. By saying “My family never owned slaves” they are trying to buy themselves a pass from American history, both past and present. As if their family had been living on some Robinson Crusoe island all these years – and still does.

Your ancestors did not have to own slaves to benefit – either then or now. If anything the opposite seems to be true: most descendants of slave owners seem to be black, not white, like the descendants of Thomas Jefferson. Most blacks are part white and most of that white comes from slave owners.

A white American saying “My family never owned slaves” is like the daughter of a Mafia boss wearing her diamonds and pearls and saying she never murdered anyone or shook anyone down for money. As if the diamonds and pearls fell from the sky.

America grew rich on the red man’s land worked by black slaves. For a long time cotton was the main thing America sold to other countries. Profits from cotton (made mainly in the North and in Britain, not in the South) in turn helped to underwrite the growth of the country’s industry. The racism that grew out of slavery kept most blacks at the bottom as a supply of cheap labour. That benefited all whites through lower prices.

Even today whites continue to benefit from racism in the form of better education, higher incomes, longer lives and all the other unearned benefits of white privilege that have grown out of slave days.

Whites want to benefit from their ugly past – and their less ugly present – but they do not want to face up to it and set things right. Two attempts were made – the civil war and the civil rights movement – but both were incomplete. “My family never owned slaves” becomes an excuse not to do anything more.

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The black crime statistics argument points out that blacks commit crime at a way higher rate than whites and therefore blacks are more given to crime than whites – you know, because blacks are more violent, dangerous and immoral. It has been used to excuse white flight, bad policing and society the way it is – therefore helping to keep crime at much higher rates than in other rich Western countries.

For the argument to work one must assume the just world doctrine, the idea that America is more or less just and equal. Once you assume that, then you are pretty much forced to conclude there is something wrong with black people.

But for any meaningful comparison between black and white crime rates you need to take into account things like income, unemployment, the rate at which crimes are reported, etc. Further you need to assume that the police and the courts are not racist, which is rarely the case.

A good example is murder. In New York blacks are way more likely to murder someone than whites are. But does that mean blacks are more violent and savage than whites? Hardly.

I used to live in one of those parts of New York where blacks and Latinos were killing each other right and left. I never saw someone killed but I certainly heard the gunshots and knew two people who were shot dead, both black-on-black murders.

It had little to do with the supposedly violent or savage nature of black people and everything to do with the drug trade. In the process of getting drugs from South America to the good white people of North America blacks, as always, get stuck with the most dangerous and dirty work. Of course they are already breaking the law by selling drugs in the first place but blacks also have the highest rate of unemployment and so are more likely than others to turn to it. Not that that makes it right, of course, but we are talking about comparisons here.

But there is more: not only were most of the murders drug-related, the police did little about it: they seemed much more interested in protecting the lives of whites and Asians than those of blacks and Latinos. As with other city services, black ghettos are badly served by the police compared to other parts of the city.

So to just present the bare numbers,while it may seem clear-eyed, hard-headed and fair, is extremely misleading. Especially when presented to people who already have certain stereotypes about blacks. To assume from such numbers that there must be something wrong with blacks – as opposed to something profoundly wrong with how American society functions – is racist and, for white people, self-serving. It also has the effect of making crime a black thing, which means little is done about it other than to hire more police and build more prisons.

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Commenter Peanut on real reasons some black women prefer not to date some white men (based on her own experience):

  1. It is difficult for many white men to see black women as individuals, even when they prefer to date black women. Example: expecting all black women to be able to dance.
  2. Some white people tend to view the attractive, classy and intelligent black women they encounter as exceptions and exempt from being “regular black” by virtue of the fact that they do not conform to negative black female stereotypes.  Example: being called white girl in a black girl’s body, a chocolate-dipped white girl.
  3. Some white people forget that you are black and will say stuff without thinking in front of you. Too many examples to recount.
  4. Referring to black people who do not conform to mainstream (white society’s) expectations as “ghetto”.
  5. Attributing bad behaviour on the part of the individual as a black attribute. Or racializing behaviour that has nothing to do with race.
  6. Some white men think they are doing black women a favour by dating and or mating them. Since black women are perceived supposedly as being on the bottom of the beauty hierarchy.  This is especially true of older white men who married white, had white children, divorced and now approach young, young black women.
  7. Some white men who date black women think they are officially an authority or expert on black people overall by virtue of the fact that their girlfriend or wife is black.
  8. Some white men expect you to mindlessly agree with them about issues pertaining to politics and race, like affirmative action. When you disagree, however gently and politely, you are seen as combative or you hurt their feelings or alienate them.
  9. The Bodyguard Complex: Some white men feel as if it is their job to “save” the black woman from the “wretchedness” of the black community.
  10. White men who date black women as a way to rationalize away their own racism. Some white men think that because they date or end up with a black women that they are exempt from racist thoughts. Hence the classic phrase, “I’m not racist, I dated a black girl in high school.”

I do not condemn white men who have these thoughts. White American culture has a history of brainwashing both blacks and whites to believe certains notions and stereotypes. But there is always going to be that awkward moment where you realize how our two cultures have really been created in opposition to each other.

Overall, if you are a black women who prefers to date white men or other non-black men, go for it! As long as he respects you. If you are a black women who prefers black men, go for it, as long as he respects you. If you do not care, more power to you. That is my take on it.

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Blacks according to American film and television seems to go something like this:

  1. There are not many of them – maybe just 6% of America.
  2. Unlike whites, they do not represent the full range of humanity but just a narrow, screwed-up part of it.
  3. Blacks are so limited in their behaviour and interests that a dozen Hollywood stereotypes are enough to cover nearly all of them. The rest can be covered by the phrase, “You are not like other blacks”. Hip hop videos and BET prove that the stereotypes are true to life!
  4. Blacks are mostly poor, live in big cities, listen to hip hop, are disrespectful, have loose morals and speak bad English full of slang.
  5. Most black people are poor and most poor people are black.
  6. Most black men commit crimes and most crimes are committed by black men. Most therefore wind up in prison at some point. They account for most of the country’s gun violence. They will kill a complete stranger for no good reason.
  7. Most black women are “ghetto”. They are poor, ill-mannered, loud-mouthed, loose and are baby mamas, having children by different men they never marry.
  8. Blacks, both male and female, have a hard time controlling their anger.
  9. Few black women have any true beauty or grace. Most are either fat and ugly or, at best, sexy in a trashy way.
  10. Black-on-black love is rare.
  11. Black men prefer white and Latina women over black women.
  12. It is not uncommon for a black person to have a white parent or be mostly white by blood.
  13. Black success comes mainly through sports, entertainment and crime, not through education and hard work.
  14. There are not many middle-class blacks. Most of them are noble but boring – and have little or no love life.
  15. Missing black women are rare compared to missing white women.
  16. Racism is rare – just a matter of some skinheads. Most of the ills that blacks suffer from come from their own pathologies.
  17. Black political opinion is divided between those who are pretty much happy with the way things are (“black conservatives”) and those who always seem to find something to complain about for no good reason (the “race industry”). There are no independent black views of America that are seriously worth considering.
  18. The lives of black people are good for a few laughs, but not something that would be serious or interesting in its own right.
  19. Most Jamaicans are Rastafarians who speak with a fake Jamaican accent.
  20. Africa is a country full of unending tribal violence and cruel, unsmiling rulers who wear sunglasses. It is incapable of peace and civilization without the help of whites – who always seem to be well-meaning and have nothing to do with how screwed up things are.
  21. Black ghettos are full of unending gang violence and cruel, unsmiling drug lords who wear sunglasses. It is incapable of peace and civilization without the help of whites – who always seem to be well-meaning and have nothing to do with how screwed up things are.

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