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Tuesday, December 05, 2006
Hereditary Racism
I've been paying attention to a startling phenomenon that's got me questioning what we're teaching our young people. I was in the library and I heard some young black females talking about a white girl and how they dislike her based solely on her whiteness. They got to talking about white people and went on a racist tirade of their own. They were saying that white people have no soul and they're essentially horrible people and we need to be segregated once again. These girls couldn't have been much older than 13, so the hatred being spewed from their mouths sent me reeling.

Seeing an opportunity for dialogue and education, I asked them to sit down. I honestly didn't expect them to, given the attitude present in so many kids lately. I asked them why they hate white people so much and why they let the word HATE come out of their mouths so freely in regards to an entire subset of people. I don't know what kind of response I expected, but what I got definitely wasn't it. Basically what they told me was that their parents and the adults around them always talk about all non-black races that way. I asked them for an elementary exegesis of slavery and the civil rights movement and all I got was, "Well Martin Luther King made it so we can vote and the slaves got screwed over by the white man" and a look of satisfaction with the response. The lack of clear understanding of the plight of black people made me want to sit down and lecture them. Rather than doing that, however, I excused myself so I could walk and think for a while and come to a few conclusions.

It bothers me to know that we can teach hate but we can't teach the history of that hate. To a point, the effects of slavery have affected the psyche of collective black society, but to walk around saying that you hate someone and you don't really know why doesn't do anything to push a race foward. I say the same thing of non-white people who are bred with hate, but don't know enough about their own history to be able to substantiate or properly justify their feelings.

And it goes farther than just spewing hate. Just after Michael Richards' race-fueled tirade, lots of black people were up in arms about the usage of the N-word. I saw a lot of people making a big stink about a word that they themselves didn't understand. It's hard to understand the power of a word when you don't know the history of it. When you think you know something because "that's what I heard" or "someone told me that" but you don't bother to attempt to breach your shallow understanding level by picking up a book, you're selling yourself short.

So many of our people walk around with jacked up inferiority complexes and burdoned souls due to a racism they know nothing about. They've been told all their lives that white people try to make us feel bad about ourselves and that they're trying to erradicate us, and they actually believe it. Rather than sit down and ask questions, read something, or try to better understand they base their judgements and opinions on what someone else has said. I can understand if you've been the victim of direct racism why your attitudes may be different than those of someone who hasn't. That's not second hand racism. But if you're sitting there lamenting about how "The Man" has prevented you from going to school, getting a better job, etc because you're a black man I may have some bones to pick. Yes, institutionalized racism exists today, and is practiced in varying degrees the world over. To claim that you've been a victim of it, without understanding what it truly means in my eyes doesn't make sense.

It pains me to see parents saying things like "Oh it's them white people's fault we can't have Christmas cuz they fired me from my job, or them Asians are some shady mofos. Look at em in the nail shop lookin at us like we had stole something" to their children. As I've said many times before, children mimic their parents, and will mimic their racist attitudes as well. If you're going to raise your child to be militant, that's your choice, but at least educate them about what they're fighting. If you don't know what to aim at, then you swing at shadows.

I'm writing this because I have a feeling in my gut that there's about to be some type of race revolt. Maybe it won't be that serious, but with the wave of racist remarks, police killing unarmed people, etc., I feel the turbulence brewing in the race waters so to speak. I wonder now if our racist attitudes are really our own, or something that's just been passed down to us like a hand-me-down coat. Honestly, if while we were growing up, no one was allowed to tell us anything about race, and the only way we could learn about racism was to read about it or get information from another reliable source, would we still harbor the same prejudices that we do? Would little children still be drawn toward the white dolls because they think they're prettier? Would parents tell their kids to stay away from the scary black kids?

These are the things that make me go hmmmm.


Blogger Golden Silence said...

Oh, lord, oh, lord, oh, lord. Society is a mess. It pains me to hear that kind of stuff...especially from kids who "don't know any better"!

Kids see their parents as paragons, but kids need to be educated to realize that it's okay if you don't share the same opinions as they (parents) do. If kids were taught to have their own opinions, then this perpetual cycle of hatred can start to come to an end.

Blogger Tasha said...

Exactly my point. I wish kids were taught to have their own opinions, not just be rebellious for rebellion's sake. Some kids try too hard to be like their parents. I wish "Independent Thought" could be a mandatory class in school. Maybe there wouldn't be so much hatred and self-destruction.

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