Here's a question:
Why are there so very many White Liberals (not all, but very many) who, knowing that they benefit from generations of skin privilege, knowing that the institutionalized racism from which they have benefited has brutalized generation upon generation upon generation of Blacks, having indisputable evidence of the indignations, the dehumanization, and brutality Blacks are subject to every day, knowing that Blacks are statistically less likely to be employed because of our race less likely to get housing because of our race less likely to get justice because of our race and more likely to be killed by those supposedly upholding the law because of our race - knowing all of that why is it so many White Liberals continue to say that the real solution to the ongoing psychological and physical violence directed at Black Americans will only be reached when the victims of this brutality moderate their reaction to it?
If only Blacks (they say) could have a more peaceful reaction to the daily terrorism they experience it would be a first step to solving the problem. Can't they just peacefully protest like in the good old days? Can't they protest in such a way that isn't divisive? In a way that isn't about blame? Can't they protest in a way that I can feel a part of?
And can't they be more grateful for how much better things are nowadays because of people like me? I mean, if they are serious about ending oppression there's a place to start -- gratitude. Can't they incorporate their gratitude to people like me into their protests so that I can feel welcomed?
And can't they just come up with a protest that isn't so damn inconvenient? To me? A march that doesn't get between me and my destination, me and my work, me and my Starbucks? I love Martin Luther King Jr. - and not just because he's dead! But because he was respectful. He would never have led a march that was disruptive! If he were here today he'd back me up on this one. We -- well, our parents - supported him! And without us - well, our parents - he would never have succeeded! At making things better for Blacks! Which they are!
So why aren't these modern Black protesters more... grateful?
Why are they so insistent?
Why are they so loud?
Heck, (they say) when I was in college I was pulled over by the cops, too! I know oppression! Yes - I was stoned and speeding and the police never threatened to kill me - but you don't see me chanting "Speeding Stoners Lives Matter," do you? Because I have some objectivity!
And do they have to make me think about racial oppression during football games? Just throw the ball, that's your job, that's the important thing! Yeah, I know, life and death, daily terror... but this is football! Sports! I love Muhammad Ali. We all did! And not just because he's dead! But because he would never, ever would have used his sport as a platform for political statements!
And music! Their strident reaction to their random murders at the hands of the police has ruined the Black musical experience for so many of us. Their intolerance of intolerance has darkened Beyonce beyond repair. She was so hot until she got all...Black! Hey, I love Prince - and not just because he's Black! I mean dead! But because he would never have used his visibility as a star to promote local political issues concerning race! Can't we all just party like it's 1999?
What's next? Are they going to politicize tap dancing?
And I know in the past I called Conservatives blinkered racists for blaming the victims of centuries of oppression and discrimination for not suddenly having more economic options, but this is different. Now I'm saying it, so it's different! I don't care what the statistics I quoted before say about White criminals getting off while Blacks are thrown in jail, their lives ruined, and all that truth revealed about innocent Blacks railroaded into prison for generation upon generation - maybe all this protesty energy could be spent more wisely on condemning each other for being too lazy when it comes to condemning each other!
Yeah, I know, life and death, daily terror... but don't they know how bad it makes me feel when they talk about how scared they are each and every day when their beautiful, innocent son or daughter has to leave to go to school, knowing that they could so easily be slaughtered by any officer who feels threatened by the child who might have an AK-47 in their Pokemon backpack, who might have a Glock in their lunch box might have a rock in their hand a knife in their hand a pencil in their hand nothing in their hand, who might run or walk too slow might shout or be too quiet, and who might look at the cop frightened or angry or nervously or not at all? Don't these parents know that every time they say to me how desperately scared they are that their children might be slaughtered by a servant of the State who equates Blackness with a loaded and cocked gun pointed at every policeman's head, that every time they say to me that they are watching the light of childhood being quenched in their baby's eyes with the knowledge of how they are treated as vermin, that every time they cry in front of me over another destroyed spirit of a child who has realized they live in a society that would prefer then dead - don't they know how that makes me feel? It's like they're saying we - meaning I - haven't done enough. Don't they even care about my feelings?
Yeah, I know, life and death, daily terror...but what's the point of a protest that upsets people like me? They need people like me! To help them... which I can't do if I feel offended, or slighted, or ignored, or if my my my advice isn't acted on. Why don't they understand that people like me, who have never felt the boot of state sanctioned oppression in our entire lives, best know how they should protest against it? They need to know that the only way for Blacks to be truly seen as equals in America is... to react in an acceptable way? During approved hours, in approved places? If they could just do that - what we tell them to do - then, perhaps, we will support their struggle to not be oppressed by and dictated to by people who look exactly like us.
Wassup with these knuckleheads?
Well, there particular Liberals aren't interested in justice, they're interested in their own comfort, and - deep inside - retaining their privilege, their position of primacy. They will help fight inequality, they will help fight injustice, as long as they get credit, and as long as that fight is in no way inconvenient to them or threatens the privilege they enjoy and hope to pass on to their children. Because they understand, on some deep level, that real revolutionary change will mean their skin privilege would come to nothing. And as they fought to retain those privileges they would be revealed for what they are - reactionary, patronizing beneficiaries and tacit supporters of the brutal, unremitting racism they pretend to condemn.
Not all, but very many.