White people and racism... no, it's not what you think
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Join Date: Sep 2001
I'm way late to this thread but I just want to piggyback on what geeky said. The black kids who beat up white kids is a different form of racism/bigotry whatever you want to call it, because the actions of those black kids are retaliatory. At least in their minds, they are punishing a wrong they see in the world on the nearest representative of the white race they can find. This is a major theme in "The Bluest Eye" and is an issue that sociologist have studied and written about for years. And as an anecdote, I know plenty of white kids and white adult males who get beat up in black neighborhoods unfortunately. It ain't that rare.
To evee, I totally feel for you in that situation and if you want to call what happened to you racist or a hate crime, I don't really take issue with it. It happened to you and I wasn't there, so I don't think I have the right to qualify your experience. In the bigger picture, I think what sometimes happens in history and in the media with "racism" is the same thing that happened here. Your experience is an anomaly among many stories of racism, yet it garners the most attention, the most controversy and the most in-depth discussion. All of this goes back to why systematic racism is the key in how your experiences differ from black peoples.
To put what geeky said another way, people pick on me for being thin often. In fact, today a woman referred to my weight as "ah, you're just potato weight." (I still don't quite understand what it means.) When these taunts happen, I feel angry and disappointed, but there are all kinds of safety nets in place in our culture to insure that my perception of thinness as an ideal is preserved. There are billboards, magazines, TV commercials, models, etc - all these promote 'thin as right' and when I speak to people like me (who are promoted as the people that count) about feeling down, they reassure me. This is the same thing that happens when a white person is discriminated against by a black person. That white person can walk, sometimes 5 feet away, and be carried out of the problem zone into their comfort zone. There is no comfort zone for a hated minority. When you are at the bottom, you know that you are at the bottom.
I still sympathize with anyone that is being discriminated against, but the key to ending discrimination is not to preach, "everybody treat everybody the same." You have to lift from the bottom. There will always be people who can identify with this group or that group, but if you can get people to identify with the lowest, the very root of their issues, they will more naturally accept people on higher levels of the social hierarchy. I would also point out, that if minorities weren't discriminated against in so many ways, they wouldn't be as angry and wouldn't feel threatened about protecting their territory and they wouldn't be beating white people in some misguided sense of justice.
The saying goes that "sometimes the needs of the one outweighs the needs of the many." Identify the bottom and recognize their issues and other things will fall into place. This is what I've read in social commentary anyway.