Monday, July 15, 2013

Zimmerman v Martin is losing me some of my friends

I'm starting to get into arguments with people I otherwise get along with when the subject of Trayvon's death comes up.  Now, among the people I've known for years in shortwave radio circles, it doesn't surprise me among a measly few whose rightwing opinions I'm already familiar with, and we already don't get along from 'way back either.  Today's shortwave radio scene has been on the decline as a method of armchair traveling primarily because it's become more of a wingnut/conspiracy theory realm as major broadcasters of yesteryear pull out altogether leaving these idjits in place to spew to the world.

But I'm getting at odds with people I never expected to be like that, saying things like "oh so it's all whitey's fault now" and "the NAACP is all wrong".  Geez, this has been a year of major broadside past-time paradigm shift for me, none of it pleasant, but I'll be damned if I'm going to continue pretenses with the narrow-minded or the myopic no matter who they are and no matter where I find them.

The truth is that most whitefolk are incapable of putting themselves in the shoes of black folk, and although I took down my previous post as to why I think this way due to how personal it was, I think it's important to point out at the very least that when I visited black churches, I noticed that I was the only white person there in every case.  When I visited white churches, I noticed that there were a few blacks there.  And so I therefore realize I am also in the minority among whites as to what it's like being the odd duck out, and all the suspicions that go with that. I can handle being the only straight in a gay bar and the only white face in a black bar or black church, and the only woman on an all-male work crew in a power plant--but judging from my only-ness, I'm guessing I'm the only one in any given location who can handle it, too. The average person regardless of color never wants to stand out, and therefore, not being outstanding, are committed to being average right down to their common myths, preconceptions and prejudices.

I owned a house in a black neighborhood, so I know about redlining.  I got redlined because of where my house was located, not because of my own color (white).  I've not only visited black friends in "the projects" but lived there myself, figuring if my fellow human being could do it, so could I.  It's not easy, and it's no wonder there's no trust in the police force there.  After seeing what I've seen, I don't either. I know close up what the deal with inner city schools is, and I've always been in favor of national funding, independent of local property taxes as a result. I've spent a few years walking a mile in those shoes, and nobody, black or white, is qualified to pompously proclaim that I don't know what I know.

It saddens me to report that my fellow whitefolk, as a rule, are incapable of seeing a different reality and therefore denies it exists.  Redlining is illegal, and just because it doesn't happen to them, they think it doesn't exist, if they think about it at all, which I doubt.

I'd like to see a revival of an old book that made waves back in the Civil Rights era: "Black Like Me"--it should be required reading  especially today. Similarly, I'd like to see certain blackfolk who are smart enough to know better (I'm talking to you, Ilene) refrain from looking at all whitefolk as being in dire need of an education (most do, no doubt, but not all) and recognize individuals with differences among them, instead of treating them all uniformly.

Some whitefolk already "get it", even if they are a rare minority. It's one thing to be a conveyor of information and it's quite another to be a self-important self-appointed evangelist-gatekeeper, not only of information deemed worthy of conveying but also the information deemed necessary to conceal.  If some whitefolk didn't already "get it", Romney would have been president and whitefolk wouldn't be out on the streets protesting with their black fellow human beings the outcome of the Zimmerman trial.

We all need to sit down at the same table and walk a mile in each others' shoes.  Seriously.  There may be people out there who think that culture based on color is the bee's knees, but on this planet, there is only one earthling race, and it's the human race.  We seriously would do well to render stupid tribalism to the dustbins of history.
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