Wow. This conversation makes you seem completely delusional as you appear to live in some sort of…
Brenda D Wilkerson
112

I think you need to spend some time outside the groupthink bubble that you seem to be dwelling in, as most of the views you’ve expressed are just popular illusions and misconceptions that are far removed from realities reflected both by evidence and by actual people’s experience of daily life. I am not a religious conservative (or even any sort of conservative) or member of some white-rights organization or anything like that, have views that are a grab-bag and span the gamut and am not a member of or believer in any one political party. I thought George W. Bush was awful, and think Obama is a whole lot better though still (VERY!) far from great. I’m writing this just so you understand that you’re not talking here to someone who has the “usual” views you might associate with the right. But I do pride myself on making an effort to think independently and read widely, including reading things that I know I’ll likely disagree with because I think I can still benefit from understanding a different viewpoint and might even find some things in it that will re-shape my own thinking. Having said all that, let me move on to what you actually wrote.

You wrote:

“This group of folks, the whites who felt attacked by the media and found their savior in Donald Trump, who is obviously playing to their hatred, I’m at a loss as to what the press was doing to them. I’m wondering if they couldn’t simply use that old-fashioned device called the remote, or their fingers to flip the page away from whatever words they thought were bothering them. That would certainly be the easier part, easier than what their fellow browner citizens have to face, watching yet another policeman/renegade get away with actual lawless behavior, violence; the type of violence and murder that would never have been allowed if the cast of characters’ races had been reversed.”

Are you seriously suggesting that all of Donald Trump’s voters and prospective voters, who are a substantial proportion of the country, are just people who are full of hatred? From where I sit, many of them are, in fact, people who are victims of hatred, the single most demonized, ridiculed group in our society today. You’re asking these people who are seeing hatred of poor whites being broadcast from every major media source and social media site to just change the channel, as it were, and walk it off. Is that the same advice you’d have for black victims of racism? You talk about those “browner citizens” who have been “watching yet another policeman/renegade get away with actual lawless behavior.” If they’re watching, why don’t they just turn away and stop watching, the same way you’re advising these poor white people to turn away and focus on something else? The extra-ridiculous aspect of your suggestion is that it’s been repeatedly shown that when you actually factor in the rate of black interactions with police due to higher rates of black criminality (rather than just comparing the overall percentage of blacks in the population with the percentage of blacks killed by police), you see that there is, in fact, no epidemic of killings of blacks by police, and that whites, in reality, are killed by police at a slightly higher rate than blacks. (That evidence is discussed here.) The alleged epidemic of anti-black violence is a result of the very kind of media bias that I’ve been pointing at, but you don’t see it because you happen to agree with most of the dogma the media is indoctrinating you in, so you’re blind to the problem.

Your view of what racism is also leaves much to be desired:

“Your interpretations of ‘white racism’ deny what racism really is. To be racist is to have power such as the power to use a red pen and draw a line around an entire neighborhood and create conditions that have led to financial poverty as majority banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions have done for decades; or to be able to artificially control the racial makeup of entire categories of workers (like policemen, latest of note in Boston where they skipped more qualified non-white candidates and hired white candidates at the bottom of their own ranked list, or tech workers, etc., and the list is enormous). That’s power. That’s racism.”

This is a popular view that the media has been aggressively propagating in recent years, but it’s not the actual definition of racism. Racism is not a power structure but a belief system. Look in any dictionary, and you’ll find something like this under the definition of “racism”: “the belief that all members of each race possess characteristics or abilities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.” If you’re interested in more on this, I’ve written a detailed article explaining the origins of the term “racism” and what it meant and what it still means and why the current, trendy attempt to suggest it also requires power is incoherent and reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of how words (and power structures) work. When you go on to say that “white privilege is real,” you show very clearly why you need to change the definition of racism … because if you use the actual definition of racism, then your belief that being white automatically gives you something you call “white privilege” is, of course, the very essence of racism. It’s just the flipside of racist notions like “black criminality” or “low black IQ” or dozens of other similarly racist ideas that attribute a trait to a group rather than examining the more nuanced and complex social forces at work. Most human beings, unfortunately, don’t do well with nuance and complexity. They want simplistic labels they can use and throw around. It’s easier to go around crowing about “white privilege” than it is to think about why most American whites are, themselves, not in the best economic shape right now or to examine the manner in which actions by both certain whites and certain blacks have, together, contributed to keeping blacks at the bottom of the socioeconomic ladder in America, despite the fact that virtually every other group that started out at the bottom and faced discrimination in the past (Irish, Italians, Catholics, Jews, Eastern Europeans, Japanese, Chinese, etc.) largely managed to erase most such discrimination not by casting blame, but rather, simply by working its way up into the middle class and beyond. I’m in no way suggesting that blacks are entirely to blame for the disproportionate poverty in which they live, but whites are not entirely to blame for it either, and certainly most of the poor whites alive today who are themselves struggling to get by had absolutely nothing to do with the plight of black Americans. As such, talking endlessly about “white racism” and “white privilege” doesn’t help the situation. It makes it worse. It doesn’t help a single black person achieve anything, and it further alienates poor white people who could’ve been useful allies in the war on economic inequality. It fans the flames of racial polarization and division.

You wrote:

“I have never thought the point of fighting against oppression, against loss of rights, against racism made somebody a racist.”

I agree with this. Merely fighting against oppression and racism doesn’t make you a racist. In the same way, if you organize a group of concerned citizens to fight the mafia that’s making your neighborhood unsafe, that doesn’t automatically make you a mafioso yourself, especially if what you’re doing is organizing neighborhood watch groups, engaging in citizen outreach, coordinating with law enforcement and other lawful means, etc. But if the group of concerned citizens starts engaging in vigilante justice, walking around the neighborhood and knocking heads in with baseball bats, then they’ve just become another mafia that’s even bigger and badder than the old mafia they’re fighting. The exact same thing is true of the fight against racism and oppression. How you fight matters. The warriors of the Civil Rights Movement fighting against oppression and racism weren’t racists, for example. They were right, and they were fighting the good fight. But the current crop of social justice warriors that’s busy demonizing poor white people, talking about “white privilege,” engaging in irresponsible inflammatory rhetoric against cops that’s feeding directly into attacks against police officers, making college campuses into zones of restrictive racialized groupthink where people no longer feel safe expressing their honest opinions about many issues and otherwise doing their darndest to worsen racial tensions is both racist and incredibly counterproductive. We need to get back to the ideals of the Civil Rights Movement and start moving our society again in the direction of judging people based on who they are rather than what they look like.