White America, if you want to know who’s responsible for racism, look in the mirror — Dahleen Glanton, Chicago Tribune columnist
When I look in the mirror, Ms. Glanton, I see a person, unique and unwilling to be classified by anyone’s catalogue.
I see a person who has made his own contributions to the common good. I don’t have to explain it or justify it to you or anyone else.
You act as if you know what’s in my mind, or the minds of millions of other white people. You don’t. Just as I don’t read your mind or the mind of every African America. If I did, I would be correctly called a “fool”.
I’ll give you this: The “look in the mirror” was the headline writer’s understanding of what you wrote. But your message is the same: Ending racism is a one-way street.
Here I’ll agree with you about past history of slavery, Jim Crow and hidden racism. There’s plenty of blame to be spread around. And there is plenty of praise to give to white people for fighting, some giving their lives, to end racial injustice.
But here I’ll not agree with you. When you say “If someone were to ask why you [white people ]did nothing….” That’s bullshit and you know it.
Or this: “When black people talk about racism, don’t automatically accuse them of ‘playing the race card.’ That’s merely an attempt to stifle meaningful discussions about race and maintain the status quo.” Yes, I’d like to get rid of that cliche too. So what is to be done when someone such as Al Sharpton “plays the race card?” Not call him out on it?
Racists are counting on you to continue doing nothing. They are certain that before long, you will return to your blissful state of denial, where racism is somebody else’s problem. And you will not disappoint them.
Yes, white people are content to be the handmaidens of racists, you know it to be true because, well, you just know it. That we look away when racism’s ugly results are on display. Or that we tsk-tsk scenes of injustice and then rush back to our own racist cocoons.
Screeds such as yours are counterproductive, to say the least. They do little to help us understand each other. They fuel resentment of white and Asian people who experience the injustice of racial preferences. They put off people who otherwise be your allies.
Just watch: By the very fact that I disagree with you, I will be labeled insensitive. Bigoted. Racist. And because I support some conservative solution to America’s economic and cultural problems, I will most assuredly be labeled blind and hateful.
The attitudes and actions of white people are just as variable and idiosyncratic as those of black people. Some white people I’d like to have a beer with, others I wouldn’t.
And there are some black people I wouldn’t want to have a beer with, but that doesn’t make me a racist.
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