Ok. I think i need some feedback. I am a 32 year old white female who comes from a NW Ohio suburb. Although my biological family is all white and the town i come from is primarily filled with people the same color as me, the extended family i have gained through the years have more often been people of darker skin tone (more so Hispanic, from mid grade school and, once i was driving, and even in the last 10 years, i met and developed friendships and a family dynamic with more black people).
Please understand i say this not to be the crazy white chick showing off my list of black friends and family, but because i feel it may be relevant in terms of why i feel the way i do.
I understand the facts about people unconsciously exhibiting racist behaviors completely. That is certainly implanted in American brains from the day we arrive on this planet. How often do so many white people ask, “why don’t we have White History Month?”. The answer to this is simple. Look at our text books. It’s “white history month” all the rest of the year. Hell, white history still permeates the 12th month as well.
Here is my question. In terms of people who display this inadvertently, why does that make them not trustworthy. I can see why it would make one more leery of a white person or give the impression that they may be untrustworthy, but does that mean they truly are? Or is that what your trying to say? That it can give that impression i mean?
I ask this because i see, we as humans all have those tendencies. People, places and things we are unfamiliar with and uninformed about can make anyone appear that way, but it doesn’t make it true.
This is not an argument stating that whites have it just as bad. That would be a bold faced lie. Any one with a brain knows that racism exhibited towards a white person by a minority doesn’t have nearly as a potentially detrimental an impact as it would for someone of color because,being white, i am privileged. I have had and still do have many more opportunities that are just “automatic” for whites, than a minority has the chance of being handed through multiple lifetimes in this country. In the same token, i would be lying if i said i was never faced with looks, comments or judgement simply because i stuck out like a sore thumb when it came to the typical locations i frequented.
Are the repercussions from that nearly as severe as the times when a white person engages in racist behaviors against a black person? Of course not. Hurt feelings, maybe, when i was younger, but, being white, i appreciate those experiences so much because it gave me a tiny glimpse of what so many people with a darker complexion face every day.
There are reasons for the mistrust. White people need to understand that humans evolve much slower than our circumstances or the world. Even 10 years of injustice towards a group of people or an individual, for that matter, can not be “fixed” in that same time span. It takes MUCH longer. So when white people talk about how it’s been soooo long and black people should get over it, they should multiply the years of slavery and injustice all the way up to the present and including the future by about a million, and maybe we will have made more head way.
My point is, intentions are what’s important to look at. This is definitely hard to do when we all have preconceived notions in our heads about anyone because it will deter us from getting to know them.
Aside from individuals i only encountered a couple times along my path, most of the people who have shot me those uncertain looks or thought me fake because of my appearance, combined with the fact that i am smiley, love hugs, am too “nice” and have a great “white lady customer service voice”, are now the same people who greet me with hugs and let me know they love me.
I love to connect with people and find commonalities between us. It fills me up. Its just that when i think of my parents, for example, they are and always have been strong advocates for civil rights. They instilled that in me and, still to this day are active participants in fighting social injustices, but they could do or say something, with the best intentions, even asking specific questions and stating “i would like to know how this race may, at times handle this situation slightly different than myself, as a white person” (say, techniques for preparing different meals, for lack of a better example) and there are people i know who would take offense to that it consider it racist.
I don’t know. If we are going to take steps forward we all need to be able to know a little more about eachother, but it’s difficult to do without one of the people (whichever end they may be on) feeling like a science experiment. Lol.
As I’m typing this book 😄, I’m starting to get the idea that maybe you’re trying to convey the same thing as me, that these are the reasons why a black person may feel that a white person is not trustworthy. When i initially read it, i felt that it was a list of facts as to why white people ARE untrustworthy. I apologize if i mismisinterpreted.
I believe it is actually a quote from an A.A. book or some twelve step program that goes like this: “i would rather seek to understand, than to be understood”. That is precisely what i do my best to practice everyday and, i guess, is why i asked the question in the first place. By trying to understand, whether the person on the other end is deserving or not, my life is much happier and the world seems much less bleek. Thank you for your time and the article. It was very thought provoking.