Why are people protesting

Portland, Oregon protests (Photo Credit: Beth Nakamura, Oregonian Staff)

Below is the comment in its entirety that I didn’t post to my June 6th blog entry: https://trynottocryonmyrainbow.com/2020/06/08/the-way-we-look/

I’m also not posting the author’s name or link to his blog. I don’t think his blog is complementary to mine, in fact, I believe it is quite the opposite. His comment, however, illustrates to me the disconnect between people who understand the Black Lives Matter movement, and people who don’t. It shows what a huge disconnect there is between white experiences and black experiences and it shows just exactly how adamant people are in their efforts to NOT focus on the issue at hand, and ONLY the issue at hand, which to me is: black people in this country have never been given equal rights and have lived in fear, have lived with less, fewer rights and opportunities, all because of the color of their skin. We as white people have perpetrated this inequality by not only making decisions to actively subjugate black lives, but also in not making decisions that would actively correct the situation. Each and every time we have the opportunity to make decisions to better the lives of black people, we must. Those of us who sit idly by saying “we are not racist” are culpable and responsible. The issue at hand, the one I am speaking about and that our country is rioting on behalf of is, and is only, BLACK LIVES MATTER.

The pending comment, written by a white male living in a northern US state, and which will be summarily deleted once I complete this post, is as follows (copied exactly as submitted, typos and all):

I am not racist
I will not treat people differently because of their skin color
I will not kneel (submit) for anyone or any cause
I will not be shame for anything I have not done

I have never been racist. I have always been anti racist – just like I have been anti any bias based on inherited traits that people cannot control, like skin color.

Every person is unique and individual – I feel treating every single person as unique, and focusing on people individually is most fair way to approach justice, love and fairness. I feel when we focus on groups, categories and skin colors, we constrain the identity of every member of the group, and leave unappreciated all the unique and individual strengths and gifts. It also works in reverse, and assumes good intentions and virtues than some people do not posses.

I don’t associate with people who judge and mistreat other based on race. I will not be shamed, NOR TAKE A KNEE for what any other human being has done, no matter what it is. That is crazy – we don’t make people pay for other people’s crimes – this is a concept the world has learned, right? Did we forget that? What is this nonsense?

So, I won’t own or ascribe to the “white privilege,” or “male privilege” notions. The “privilege” claims are a political and power game to try to guilt, and force people into paying and relinquishing power. You know it is bullshit, because there are probably millions of types of privilege, not just these two – there are probably as many kinds of privilege as their are people; so why do we only recognize two types of privilege? politics!

Which brings us back to why we aught to judge people and their situations individually. If we do not, nobody will be served fairly, because we all will be judged based on what other people have done and who other people where. If skin color is a horrible measure by which to prejudge, which it is, then any skin color including white, is a horrible measure by which to judge, and insufficient to justify accusations of privilege. It’s idiotic – if you have ever been a dirt poor white kid with an abusive crack head mother, and grew up in a one bedroom apartment – molested by her black drug dealing boyfriend, then you definitely know how inadequate skin color is, as a determinant for who is responsible for racial injustice.

If one argues that a white person like me is responsible for racism (paying or it or fixing it), or a part of institutional racism JUST BECAUSE THEIR WHITE SKIN COLOR, how is that any less shallow, stupid and racist, than any association a racist would make about someone who is black?

Racism is lazy and ignorant – appreciating that everyone is an individual, is the most compassionate and fair way to treat people.

I feel very bad for people who live in poverty, have bad living conditions, or who are victims. I loath the white people, black people or any people who lack compassion and harm others, including any police officers who do evil.

I am not racist
I will not treat people differently because of their skin color
I will not kneel (submit) for anyone or any cause
I will not be shame for anything I have not done

—-

So there it is. This is why people are protesting, nightly, and vociferously in Portland and many, many, many other places. Our system doesn’t work and is horribly flawed and produces people like the man who made the comment above.

I admit it took me some time to truly absorb the fact that this crucial situation, from whatever moment in time that a person REALLY GETS IT, is literally ONLY about the Black Lives Matter movement. Two years ago on a a beautiful summer night we sat on our lovely deck outside our spacious house in a pretty Portland neighborhood eating a gorgeous dinner prepared by my son and his girlfriend, who is of Indian descent (and makes some absolutely amazing Indian food), and my son had to literally repeat over and over again how the term all lives matter is offensive in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. We are simply not talking about all lives. I was ignorant about the movement and he educated me. Right now we are only talking about black lives because black lives are in danger, as much now as ever, and the only way we can truly change that, is by admitting we must be part of the solution every single day of our lives and in every way we can going forward. We know there are many individual people (most people) and groups of people (most groups) who have felt the pain of bias, and prejudice, and injustice…. yes, even white men, but we are not talking about those people right now. We are talking about a group of people, specifically I’m talking about the United States right now, who have never been treated fairly. Who fear for their lives purely because of the color of their skin and it is time that we all made the effort to change that, and denial is the place for many people to start.

14 thoughts on “Why are people protesting

    • Thanks for the link, B. Interesting. Thought provoking hearing the story of a teenager spending her summer protesting. The comment section is like a slice of American life… the good, the bad, the ugly, and the blatant racists among them. So many people with their heads up their asses. Very high and mighty. Did you ever watch the show Quantum’s Leap… or better yet, read the book Kindred by Octavia Butler? To have to live in someone else’s body, or in another era in which you are the hunted or hated or belittled or disregarded, for even one day would be so eye opening. Where is the compassion?

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  1. The same idiots who immediately spew the “All lives matter” (as your son said) “Blue lives matter”, etc. trash. I’d like to say f*ck them (not afraid of the word, not sure if filters would reject it 😇) but they are still DANGEROUS.

    So, if you haven’t read The Warmth of Other Suns I HIGHLY recommend it. It looks intimidating at around 600 pp, but it is an easy read and extremely thought provoking. Her current book attempts to argue that some people are not truly racist but rather casteists. Have not read it yet (she had a NYT Sunday Magazine cover recently) but I still say if they think they’re more entitled to anything than others then they are just as disgusting.

    xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s all so tiring. It seems so difficult for a lot of people to just be kind, understanding, compassionate and admit what has been done wrong and do things to help make it right. I often look back at history and wonder how human beings could treat other human beings so poorly, and yet here it is right now, right in front of our faces. Why do we keep making the same mistakes? Right now I’m not even talking about the murderers and rapists, the slave owners or the gas chamber guards, or any of the other atrocities… I’m talking about people who refuse to see what is right in front of their face and be the change that is needed. It’s really really sad. I hope you like your new job, B. I think about you often. Wish I could travel back east. xo

      Liked by 1 person

      • My new job is…a job. A paycheck, insurance, mental stimulation.
        I think I told you the friend with whom I had the EA pretty much got me the job. We haven’t worked together in 8 years. I have wondered what his wife would think. We are based in the same office but have not been there yet.
        And surprise surprise surprise…he “replaced” me with someone who works there. She and I have many conversations about him, ALL the same behaviors, bullshit personal stories, texting and calling, etc. I don’t care at all, but I will say meeting her made me feel totally validated in my instincts. I told him I was glad I finally had confirmation of what I thought for years, and I knew that I was just a version of other women before me. He of course tried to gaslight me “my relationship with her is NOTHING like ours…I don’t discuss personal things with her…blahblahblah…” but she and I have shared plenty. I finally have the indifference I always wanted toward him!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully articulated.

    If all people learned about the systemic effects of colonialism, they might start to see that this isn’t about individual “I’m not racist” statements, but the fact that white privilege is an unspoken, self unrecognised (by the very group who is privileged) phenomena. It exists because of the way generations of people of colour, around the globe, have been marginalised. I am constantly gobsmacked by those who can’t see this. The very epitome of white privilege.

    Chelsea Handler’s Hello, Privilege. It’s Me, Chelsea was a good look at this for those who just don’t get it xxx

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kat, you are articulating this beautifully, both in your post today and your last post. A perfect example of your point is Kyle Rittenhouse walking down the street in Kenosha with an assault-style rifle hanging off his body with dozens of police cars driving right by, not even bothering to see whether he was LEGALLY carrying this firearm! Does anyone honestly think a black man could have done that and lived to see another day?

    Liked by 2 people

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