I call bullshit. How can you bludgeon anyone to death with an Apple product? Maybe if you had one of those old-school Macintosh computers with the bulb monitor and hard drive built in one… but you’d be taking a serious step back in your choice of proper, liberal tech.
As a white-Hispanic male, who’s direct understanding of prejudice was pretty much restricted to the 1980’s when I was managing my awkward transition from adolescence to adulthood, I find the new problem with racism, privilege and liberalism is that the direction has turned away from, “that’s a black person, treat them with respect,” to “as a person who has privilege, I’m having a hard time focusing on what I’m supposed to be doing with that knowledge.”
I get it. I have had it easier than a number of other people in my country. I feel somewhat bad for that, but, like a child who was being rewarded by a loving parent instead of beaten for screwing up, I’m not sure what it is I’m supposed to feel bad about, let alone how to feel anything more than, “damn, that’s messed up how you were raised.” I want to be sympathetic without being insulting. I want to make it to where all people get a fair shake at society… I have no idea who to attack, or where to go, or what I’m supposed to be doing.
I watched Rodney King get his ass handed to him by twenty odd police officers. At the time I thought, “Holy shit! That’s wrong. That’s… no, that’s fucking wrong!” I had it explained away by a white son of a police officer, who said, “You don’t know what led up to that. You don’t know that Rodney was a career criminal, or that he had the police chase him through a residential neighborhood at high speed. You’re basing your judgement on only a partial picture of what was going on.” I hate to say it, but I listened to him, as he described what his father went through during the riots that happened after the verdict, handed down by twelve white people. We saw what happened to Reginald Denny for having the audacity to be driving his truck near some angry black people.
But I still thought that having your head, shoulders and kidneys pulverized by batons was fucked up. Oh, they tazed him? Well, that doesn’t mean you try to tenderize him like beef because he didn’t drop like an epileptic having a seizure.
I watched then President Bush Sr. tell the nation he would launch an investigation. I thought that I was suddenly made aware of the problem that was always right before my eyes… but I was wrong.
I forgot. Or maybe I hoped… or maybe I had the luxury of not having to look at the issue, which is what privilege is all about, right? I thought it was enough of a wake up call. I heard comedian Paul Rodrigez (aka Pablo) say, “Maybe now you’ll believe us.” And I was still having a hard time with it. I didn’t want to believe my country was this horrible towards members of it’s own citizenry.
Fast forward twenty-five years, and what happened to Rodney King isn’t even brought up any more. He’s dead, he got a few million for the civil suit, he continued to use drugs… I think? I’ve had some time to come to grips with where I was and how the problem has altered and adjusted over the years. I do think some progress was made… but I also think that it wasn’t near enough, nor did it ever attack the real problems that inner-city Black and Latinos face. Instead it turned into the term “privilege,” which I resisted at first, until I thought about it. I eventually realized that privilege isn’t an accusation, or even directed at me. I realized that it was about society in general and how we still see things through the prism of ignorance.
Heh. “Ignorance.” You get the term used so often, you forget what it actually means. To ignore. To willfully not pay attention. To brush aside the issues of others because, hey, it doesn’t happen to me. But, like “privilege,” ignorance begs the question of, “okay… what do I do? How to I help fix this, because, I really do want to fix this.” I can say, over and over again, that the fact that Black people are far more likely to be incarcerated than White people for similar crimes is wrong. I can call out judges who administer sentencing, call out police for profiling, call out the dipshits who keep making excuses, or are unwilling or unable to comprehend that even if Black people are more prone to criminal acts (which, if you lived in a world where doing the right thing seldom rewarded you as much as someone who looked different than you, why would you respect the law in the first place?), it doesn’t excuse anything. It doesn’t excuse the harassment. It doesn’t excuse the way people are treated. If that Rhodisia loving, White murderer, Dylann Roof, can fucking get Burger King on his way to fucking jail, there is no good goddamned reason why someone like Michael Brown, or Eric Brown, or Alton Sterling, or way too many, just… way, too, many, names…. should have to die.
Yes, I see Trump as a problem. Yes, I see the power is still, rather firmly, in the hands of old, White men. And yes, I see my privilege…
And I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I feel like nothing I do seems to address the problem’s source. What do I think the source is? Systemic perceptions and poverty and failed solutions and… the problem is that people can’t seem to get past whatever shit is hard wired inside of our heads that makes us break people down into “us” and “them.” Hell, I can’t get past my own fucking hard wiring! I step a bit more gingerly when I encounter a Black person, or when a man with an Arabic name gets into my car after I accept an Uber pickup, or when I have to mentally remind myself, “be nice to this Latino woman.” Thoughts that don’t ever occur around White people. I’m painfully aware of the problem… and I wish I knew what it is that I’m supposed to do to fix it!
And it’s annoying the shit out of me! It enrages me when I stare at it too long and it makes my blood feel like it’s about to burst out of my veins! And to see White Nationalist fuckheads celebrating Trump’s election, or when I hear that someone punched that douchebag Yannilopolis in the face, or when some crazy White girl is having some kind of chemical imbalance in her brain, caught on video for all to see, as she berates a couple for kissing in public and claims, “I’m an American!” … I feel like I could commit murder. I feel like I could honestly take a baseball bat, wrap it in barbed wire, and swing it repeatedly at the head of the next person who tells me they voted for Trump. And I know how wrong that is, and THAT pisses me off too, because now I feel like I have no way of letting this anger out…
… or is it privilege? Is all this rage and disturbed psyche just my privilege… because I’ve never been Black, and I’ve never been frisked by the police for just walking down the street, and I don’t think I’ve ever been denied a job because I didn’t look reliable… or because my skin color told some employer that I wasn’t a good match for his business.
Ya know what people on the left who have privilege really want? Someone to just say, “do this and we’ll get rid of injustice and inequality.” You’d think someone would figure out a way to phrase that clearly by now.