My Open Letter to Conservatives
Conservative Black Man

I have a favor to ask of you, as well. You seem quite reasonable, so hopefully this will be productive.

You say that many black people perceive a mountain, with whites on top and them on the bottom. My perception is that this mountain is entirely a cultural perception, and not a reality. Let me explain.

There exists a culture, where each generation teaches the next that they are disadvantaged and hated. They teach a fear and disrespect for authority. This is especially targeted toward law and law enforcement. This culture is rooted universally in the poor. This culture is largely, but not exclusively, common to minority poor. You will see this in black and latino urban areas a lot. You will see this at times in “redneck” poor communities, as well, but these tend to be very rural and not such a focus of the media. Pick your reason for that, but my belief is this reflects media support of false political narratives.

In this culture, a child will grow up overhearing or directly being told that they are:

  1. Disadvantaged by birth
  2. Persecuted
  3. Treated unequally
  4. Untrusted
  5. Thought to be lesser
  6. Etc …

Now, these children go into the world with these expectations. These expectations all too frequently become self-fulfilling prophesy. Why? Because many of these behaviors tend to be reciprocal.

A trusting person tends to be trusted more. When you enter a situation expecting not to be trusted, you tend to trust others less. Since this is based on a preconceived image, then by being initially distrustful, you will inspire an initial distrust of you.

A confident person tends to do better. If you enter a situation believing you can’t or won’t do well or that you will have to “fight the system” to do well, then you will often not try as hard to do well. This is especially true of children.

If you enter a situation with the preconceived idea that you are disadvantaged, it is common to come to rely on such as an excuse and not try as hard.

Like trust, if you have a preconceived idea that you will be persecuted, you are more likely to initiate communications aggressively against those who you believe will persecute you.

These cause people to look for the offense, even when one is not present.

These cause people to rely not on real experiences, but expectations of experiences, to dictate how they will initiate relations with their fellow man. This often leads to those they interact with to merely reciprocate.

There was a time, obviously, when these expectations were valid. During slavery and Jim Crow, I imagine these were important lessons for minority children who were soon to face a hostile world.

The world changed, but some cultures didn’t change with the new realities.

When police “disproportionately” patrol and question minority neighborhoods, it is automatically assumed race must be a cause. Is this assumption valid? Consider, if we were all of the same race, where would police focus? The highest crime areas, especially where citizens will not assist in the identification or prosecution of criminals. This will most often be the poorest neighborhoods. So even if we were all one race, we would very likely see the exact same types of behavior from police. Race likely has very little to do with it. To those raised on the expectation of persecution, however, this just reinforces their preconceived realities and causes a viscous feedback loop.

It is and always will be harder to attain above average wealth when starting poor. It is in NO WAY impossible, nor uncommon, however. This is true for people of any race. That alone, however, does not make any of the above “lessons” to children true.

Obviously, there are many racists on all sides of these issues. With over 300 million people in the US, even a small percentage represents a LOT of people. These small percentages are then spun into narratives of anecdotal “systemic” abuses, when they are not. Instead of calling out an individual act of racism and expecting that individual to be held accountable, as should happen, all focus on the individual is lost as backlash is sought against entire races/systems/segments of the population.

If you fight the false perspectives, well, you obviously must be a racist making excuses, and committing racism by proxy. If you condemn the act done by a mere individual, then the narrative is, you must condemn the entire race/system/segment of the population being blamed. This constant conflating of the individual vs the whole is flipped back and forth irrationally and at will to support the narrative. Eventually, this leads to frustration by those who are well-meaning and looking for rational discussion on how to properly identify the root causes of any issues that do legitimately exist so that effective solutions can be designed.

To summarize, my point is that what you perceive as dispassion or misunderstanding is often not so. If I understand how you feel, but how you feel is not based on reality, but merely perception, like the Michael Brown situation, then my reaction is not going to be blind support merely due to emotion. If I understand how you feel, but disagree with your proposed “solution”, like the Dallas police assassinations, then don’t expect blind forgiveness. If I understand, but need to bring a less emotional response so we can identify effective solutions rather than emotional vengeance, don’t persecute ME as a part of the problem.

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