I had a discussion with a friend on Sunday about this election. It delved quickly into trying to define what’s racist and what’s not. Things were said about Black Lives Matter and President Obama being racist and speaking from places of resentment toward white people, while I explained that speaking from a place of hurt and loving the United States of America enough to want it to improve and live up to its reputation of being a beacon of light and city on the hill hope and equal opportunities to all her residents is completely valid and from a place of love. Honestly, if minorities (especially black people) hated America as much as some white people feel we do, there would be nothing left but scorched earth instead of abundant amber waves of grain. It’s obvious that we love America. (I mean, we aren’t the ones joining ISIS in droves, are we? *files nails*)
I get tired of justifying my existence and anger at my country sometimes to some people who feel that they’re being left behind because they’re losing preferential treatment in order to make things fairer for all, which is how it should have been done the entire time from 1789 until now. The conversation with my friend then moved to how Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump both speak to people who feel left behind by their political parties (mostly working-class white people, according to media statistics) as Republicans have lied to them since Nixon, and the Democrats are “abandoning” white people to focus on minorities.
Can’t we all just get along? Just because the Democratic Party is focusing on “helping” (giving attention to) minorities doesn’t mean that they’re abandoning white people. Are racism and white supremacy is so pervasive in America that a political party can’t focus on two things at one time? Why can’t Democrats draw attention to issues important to minorities as well as working-class white people? I thought that’s what they were doing, but apparently having a Black president who appoints a lot of women and minorities to important positions means that he’s abandoning white men. Why should you be picked first (and only) for everything just to avoid charges of being racist and instead be applauded for being benign, normal, regular, and the default? Why should you be thanked for voting for Obama based on merit than not voting for him based on his skin color (to put it another way – why should you be thanked and celebrated for doing the right thing?) What do you mean when you say you’re feeling abandoned – you’re not being coddled anymore? You feel uncomfortable possibly passively benefiting from systemic racism and would rather have someone tell you that economics are the problem and not people with wicked hearts? You might have a little wickedness in your heart and that makes you scared?
Welcome to the club, Effie. We all got pain! Everyone has some form of privilege in their life and some guilt associated with it when it’s exposed, especially when it’s been passively used to disenfranchise someone else. The best way to fight against that is to recognize it in yourself and consciously work on stamping it out whenever you see it in yourself or someone else. It’s a heart change that will fix these things. Laws can help drive the conversation, but not really much else. It’s up to you to change it. It’s up to you to not feel abandoned just because someone else is taking up space and proving they exist and matter in the same places you used to dominate unfairly. You’re still the majority for another 34 years, so you have a little while before you’re treated like a second-class citizen. Oh, laugh already. But notice how minorities seem happier to get a little more breathing room today and who is most upset about it. If that isn’t telling that something is broken in some brains, I don’t know what is.
I’ll discuss how one minority group that has a lot of privilege but somehow associates it with oppression is white gay men of means, on Monday.