Stuff White People Say

July 28, 2008

“I am a victim, too”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 11:55 pm

When the talk is about race and racism, many whites have problems to focus on the topic: Racism, white supremacy as a system. Instead, they want to tell that they themselves were victims of some form of discrimination.
The favorite is “reverse racism”. And not even realizing the different power-dynamics and that racism always includes the power of a system behind.
When whites attack PoC, it’s reduced to “individual incidents” and in addition, non-white victims often have to fight for their rights, to get heard. Main-stream media often tries to blame the victim himself, “something must have provoked the attack” etc.

The situation changes when the victim is white and the perpetrators are PoC. Then there is a national outcry, it becomes a “they are attacking us”, like it was for example the case in Germany, when there have been 3 or 4 incidents were “foreigners” attacked Germans. One attack was video-typed by security cameras installed in the metro area. One picture was picked out and published. Showing the attacker hitting the head of his victim, who was already lying on the ground. The sub-title of this picture was: “You can be the next”.

This “you can be the next” makes the fear of whites visible. The fear of revenge, when we as a collective are no longer in power. It is beyond our Eurocentric imagination, that another world could be possible. Our own history of conquering as well as European wars, our history with aggression as the only possible answer as we may believe – how would the world look like today without this European history? Is our history particularly European or would this be the history of mankind? The Mongol Empire, the Ottoman Empire – ambitions to expand and to conquer, is this human behavior?
But other societies, peaceful societies, demonstrate the other possible side of human behavior, living peacefully together and in balance with nature.

Attacks against whites remind us, that we are vulnerable like anybody else. And it is our fear that others will do to us what we did to them.
Will we ever be able to leave our fear behind?
Will we ever be able to feel that we are all one?


  1. “it is our fear that others will do to us what we did to them.”

    It’s amazing how explicit people are with these kinds of anxious fears when it comes to the possibility of Sen. Barack Obama becoming president and even more amazing, after he has gone out of his way to ally those fears, people have continued to rehearse those ideas with even the smallest hint of Obama not utterly disowning every Black inch of his body, family and community.

    Even the Rev. Wright drama wasn’t enough for these folks who picked up the tools of the racism trade from their forebearers with sparkling (and transparent) precision.

    Comment by nquest2xl — July 29, 2008 @ 12:11 am | Reply

  2. Carl Sagan. ❤

    But other societies, peaceful societies, demonstrate the other possible side of human behavior, living peacefully together and in balance with nature.

    This looks like othering to me. Who are were talking about here?

    Comment by Restructure! — July 29, 2008 @ 12:35 am | Reply


    Comment by jwbe — July 29, 2008 @ 12:41 am | Reply

  4. When you wrote “living peacefully together and in balance with nature,” it conjures up the noble savage stereotype, which is racist.

    I don’t know what to make of the Peaceful Societies website. I definitely think that people are socialized to be aggressive, but that they are also socialized to be peaceful. I don’t know about every example in the website, but I have learned about the !Kung or Ju/’hoansi, and I didn’t get the impression that they were exceptionally peaceful. Even the webpage about the Ju/’hoansi says this:

    But How Much Violence Do They Really Experience? Lee (1979) argues that the Ju/’hoansi have a relatively violent society. During his three years of living among them he recorded 58 arguments, of which 34 led to physical fights. He acknowledges that he differs from other perceptions of them as peaceful, such as those of Thomas, who argues that when she and her family were observing them during the 1950s, they heard about very few episodes of violence. They felt that Ju/’hoansi cultural stability was based on their successful adaptation to their environment plus their normal spirit of cooperation. Peacefulness appeared to be strongly fostered by their social system, their methods of suppressing aggression, and the ways they developed their self-control.

    Comment by Restructure! — July 29, 2008 @ 1:02 am | Reply

  5. This is a thought-provoking and inspiring post for me. Thank you.

    jwbe, could you say where the picture of beaten white Germans was published with that awfully xenophobic caption? Was it an advertisement? Maybe for some politician?

    Comment by macon d — July 29, 2008 @ 3:03 am | Reply

  6. @Restructure

    Eurocentrism is the opposite of peace and of living in balance with nature, Eurocentric nations don’t live with the understanding of the interdependence of all living beings. “Subdue earth” is part of the bible. I also believe that Eurocentric nations are based on aggression towards each other because competition is more important than solidarity. Being the best, the first etc.
    On this website they mention for example also the Amish People, who are of German descent, I don’t have the impression that this website is idealizing peaceful societies
    Living in balance with nature is a necessity for the survival of the human race, because there is only one earth. Industrialized countries can’t continue the way without any respect also toward nature.

    Comment by jwbe — July 29, 2008 @ 3:18 am | Reply

  7. Was it an advertisement? Maybe for some politician?

    Comment by jwbe — July 29, 2008 @ 3:45 am | Reply

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