Stuff White People Say

November 1, 2008

“Hill’s call for willful amnesia contributes to the problem rather than helps alleviate it”

Filed under: Uncategorized — jwbe @ 1:00 am

A post on racismreview [link above] rises a question: Do whites have the right to criticize Black people by using them as an example of being an obstacle in the fight against racism? (My personal answer to this is no, I think we whites don’t have the right).

Why do some white anti-racists or so use Black people as a public example of an obstacle in the fight against racism, when it is whites who are the real obstacle?

Yes, it can be quite irritating for a white to come across Black people who deny or diminish the impact of racism or write articles and books that feed the stereotypes many whites already have or also serve as some sort of absolution for whites, when even a Black person says that racism is not the problem.
Black confederates who wave the confederate flag or Black republicans who talk more like white supremacists can be challenging at the first moment.

At the second glimpse – what do we know as whites how it feels to be Black. Nothing. The sometimes internal struggles and perhaps internalized racism we will never feel on our own and why some Black people make the choice to become Republicans is perhaps just not white people’s business.


  1. JW, it all goes back to the failure of asking one simple question: WHY?

    Why would Hill suggest that “racial amnesia may be the cure” when, as you suggested, Black people have been carrying the uneven burden of removing the obstacles of racism that are, indeed, White people’s problem?

    Who out of all people would be the most tired, the most ready to forget?

    Also, whose “frame” dominates discussions on race? Who the hell ever defined racism so narrowly as to mean only the racist regimes of slavery and Jim Crow? Simply put, what other “frame” would Hill be likely to use when systemic, state-enforced discrimination in the form of the previous regimes “has disappeared”…?

    Exactly how Hill assumes there is a lack of a “stark contrast” or any contrast worth noting between the “black experience” and the “white experience”, I don’t know. But I’m different from a number of other African-Americans because I have an issue with the continued presence of WHITE MAJORITY RULE — which a President Obama won’t undo — which, of course, historically correlated to those previous regimes of systematic, state-enforced discrimination.

    Don’t dare mention politics or government and then pretend like the mere appearance of Black acceptance (see everything mentioned on RacismReview that shows how narrow the acceptance is, let alone the on-going systemic, discriminatory issues in American institutions) or whatever Hill thinks Obama’s candidacy represents equates to political efficacy for African-Americans or, dare I say, political self-determination that is a human, cultural right.

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 1, 2008 @ 5:30 pm | Reply

  2. I will write more later, but what I find somehow most annoying is how white America thinks they are so progressive and as if Obama would be the result of their ‘progress’ when the only thing they have to do is voting for him. They aren’t the ones targeted by racism.

    Comment by jwbe — November 1, 2008 @ 6:38 pm | Reply

  3. I have a problem with that, too. A number of Obama’s “progressive” white supporters have expressly stated how they are moved to support Obama because he’s not like the old civil rights generation — e.g. Jesse Jackson.

    Recently, I attempted to get one such white Obama supporter to explain what was different from the way Jesse Jackson ran his campaign for president from Obama’s. It was my response to the idea the white Obama supporter volunteered as the thing that was attractive about Obama’s campaign as far as Whites are concerned.

    The basic point I was making was that its an insult to anyone who knows how Jackson ran his campaign to argue that Obama’s campaign is some kind of radical departure from other recent and remotely significant Democratic presidential campaigns by Jackson, etc. The problem is people project their thoughts about Jackson’s civil rights activism and pretend as if he ran his presidential campaigns in that manner.

    I keep saying that John Edwards (his latest “populist” campaign) is a poor man’s Jesse. That’s just the historical truth about Jesse Jackson’s “Rainbow Coalition” which explicitly appeals to the White working-class, White farmers and Whites in Appalachia as well as all non-white ethnic groups.

    So, if Obama represents the idea of Black acceptance I perceive Hill to be talking about then given how White people tend to misrepresent Rev. Jackson’s campaigns, it’s clear the “acceptance” is only for a certain type of Black person and the “racial amnesia” thing is the acceptance bargaining chip.

    It wouldn’t be so bad if Obama just stopped there. Examining some of the stuff he has said in the wake of the Rev. Wright controversies — which just so happen to include Wright’s take on-going, systematic racism, foreign and domestic — shows the type of White preference and deference his “post-racial” appeal is composed of which included him excusing White (working-class) racism and painting Whites as non-personal responsibility having “victims.”

    Comment by nquest2xl — November 1, 2008 @ 9:38 pm | Reply

  4. Yes, I wonder what many white people support by voting for Obama. I cannot get rid of my ambivalence I admit. When Obama dismissed Rev. Wright and also his Church I was just sad and also disappointed. I found his Father’s Day speech and parts of “A perfect union” disturbing and also how he reacted towards the “hecklers” of the Uhuru-group.

    Just yesterday I read an article about reparations and that only 3-4% of whites support reparations and 90% are against and I think this tells more about white America and their alleged progress than voting for Obama.
    Also the campaign, perhaps it is me and being German, but I find this campaign in terms of race and racism really exhausting.

    And when there are then whites who threaten to blow up Black schools if Obama wins – where do the white Obama supporters see white progress? Really, I already had some sleepless nights because of this campaign and given white history, I find these question weird, if Blacks start rioting if Obama won’t win. It has always been whites who rioted when confronted with Black success, why not just being honest?

    I also have the impression that whites want to overestimate their part and doing this they diminish Black history.
    Carmichael comes to mind: “Now, then, in order to understand white supremacy we must dismiss the fallacious notion that white people can give anybody their freedom. No man can give anybody his freedom. A man is born free. You may enslave a man after he is born free, and that is in fact what this country does. It enslaves black people after they’re born, so that the only acts that white people can do is to stop denying black people their freedom; that is, they must stop denying freedom. They never give it to anyone.
    Now we want to take that to its logical extension, so that we could understand, then, what its relevancy would be in terms of new civil rights bills. I maintain that every civil rights bill in this country was passed for white people, not for black people. For example, I am black. I know that. I also know that while I am black I am a human being, and therefore I have the right to go into any public place. White people didn’t know that. Every time I tried to go into a place they stopped me. So some boys had to write a bill to tell that white man, “He’s a human being; don’t stop him.” That bill was for that white man, not for me. I knew it all the time. I knew it all the time.
    I knew that I could vote and that that wasn’t a privilege; it was my right. Every time I tried I was shot, killed or jailed, beaten or economically deprived. So somebody had to write a bill for white people to tell them, “When a black man comes to vote, don’t bother him.” That bill, again, was for white people, not for black people; so that when you talk about open occupancy, I know I can live anyplace I want to live. It is white people across this country who are incapable of allowing me to live where I want to live. You need a civil rights bill, not me. I know I can live where I want to live.”

    Comment by jwbe — November 1, 2008 @ 10:59 pm | Reply

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