I deeply ‘enjoyed’ reading this post. Enjoyed isn’t the right word, but, i’m not sure what the right word is, so i’ll go with that.
About a month or so ago I went on a few day blog phase about race. The moral of my few days of posts, I bet they sound very similar to this bloggers, “we’re all the same underneath it all! Sure, slavery was terrible and it’s pretty fucked up that segregation was only undone a few decades ago, but what’s past is past, amirite? All that is behind us now! Besides, I’ve been persecuted, too! My grandfather escaped Nazi Germany and one time a guy painted a swastika on my locker at school, so racism and oppression can happen to anyone! I totally get everything!”
Pretty much, I think i’m a freaking pinhead. I started to sense that there was something I wasn’t quite understanding. This post helped me to KNOW that I don’t quite “get it”…. Yet!
“If they aren’t doing anything unlawful, then they shouldn’t have anything to worry about.”
It’s a common refrain used by defensive white people who would like to pretend that minorities, specifically black people, are not targeted by law enforcement. I’m sorry to say there was an ignorant time in my life when I believed this too.
For much of my teens and twenties, even as I consumed black culture, co-opted and appropriated it because it was “oh-so-cool-and-different,” I bought in to boot-strapping black respectability politics. I thought if black people would just “act right” then they wouldn’t get into trouble. I thought that being “colorblind” meant not being racist; that if we willed the differences away, they’d slink to the furthest reaches of the earth, never to be seen again.
I am embarrassed about my past ignorance (and am still learning), but it also makes sense. I was privileged, grew up…
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