While I must agree that being a white straight male in today’s world makes it a bit easier for me, my life has been far from simple. I was homeless for 2 years, I come from a family that excels in drug and alcohol addiction and mental illness runs deep in my family as well. Even though I am lucky even in my own family, I have had my share of problems for many many reasons.
I am not shy about discussing race relations with anyone, no matter what their race, gender or sexual preference. While I find no issues with that in real life, and most people in NYC can discuss racism without losing their cool, I have not found the same respect on the internet.
I met a girl once who lived in Pittsburgh, a place where racism is much more prevalent than in NYC, at least according to her. While discussing it, she would constantly shame me for being white, as if that made every argument of hers valid. Her dislike for whites in general was both aggressive and disturbing. While I understand where the core of that came from, it was obvious she didn’t want to alienate every white person, or she wouldn’t have tried to be friends with me in the first place. But her inability to discuss even the simplest facts about racism without shaming me started to become very frustrating.
At some point I wished her a Happy wiping out the Native Americans Day (Thanksgiving) and we were discussing that situation when she made a statement about how all white people are evil. I tried to explain that evil people exist in every race, it’s not strictly the whites, but she wasn’t having it. On top of that, she blamed all slavery on whites, saying we have always been the worse race in the history of man.
While I can understand her hatred in general, considering I have grow up poor and mostly surrounded by minorities I got along with better than white people, I feel that kind of generalization is bad for everyone involved, and racist as well. I have always viewed racism as a form of xenophobia, most of it is fear based.
This is where she told me that you cannot be racist towards a white person, which was news to me. I have heard the words honky, cracker, whitey, etc etc, many a time in my life. While I realize it is a drop in the bucket compared to what some other races have dealt with, if I can refrain from using someone’s race as an insult, then so can anyone else.
We argued a bit more about the topic, her only concession was that she was saying that white’s are the worst to the Native American’s in regards to Thanksgiving, but that was definitely not what she was saying at the beginning of the conversation. She deleted me from skype shortly after this conversation, which made me sad since I did like her regardless of our disagreement on many topics.
While I agree that being shamed for being white is much more rare than other races, it is not something that is unheard of.