Archive for October, 2013

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White people using the race card

October 27, 2013

You keep using that word - Princess Bride

Years of socialization on the power and privilege of the individual (in my white circles) makes it so easy to take affront when I perceive something bad happens to me that is good for others whose skin color is different than mine. I can creatively craft a story that blames it on racism.

As white man Jamie Utt writes about  people who say: That’s Racist Against White People:

These are White folks who are claiming that the Obamacare tax on tanning beds is “racist” against White people. These are White folks who are claiming that affirmative action is racist against them. These are the White folks who honestly believe they suffer more racism than people of Color.

He goes on to say: “Too often, when people are talking about racism or sexism or heterosexism or any other form of oppression, they’re simply referring to when a person was made to feel bad for or about their identity. There is absolutely no acknowledgement of wider systems of oppression and power.”

One of the most important concepts for us all to learn is that the “isms” are not about individual behaviors (although those acts of bias and bigotry absolutely matter).  It is the institutional and organizational power under-girded by such beliefs that sustains oppression. That’s the card we need to always hold up.

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If the hundreds of rioters had been primarily black males

October 20, 2013

If the hundreds of rioters had been primarily black males, would your reaction have been the same?  That’s a question I asked myself as I read more about how hundreds of mostly white men rioted in Bellingham Saturday, October 12th – just north of Western Washington University.

Glass bottles, dishes, cinder blocks, lawn chairs and cans were thrown at officers, police cruisers, a city bus and other rioters, Bellingham Police Lt. Mike Johnston said.

Several officers received minor injuries from broken glass, according to a police press release.

Several vehicles were taken out of service with several thousand dollars in damage, according to a news release. A city bus and private property were also damaged by the thrown objects.

It was the rowdiest crowd that Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon said he had seen in his more than 20 years in law enforcement.

Officers in an armored vehicle and riot gear used pepper balls, smoke and “flash-bang” devices to disperse the crowd of 300 to 400 that refused to leave the intersection, Johnston said. http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2013/10/13/3257033/hundreds-riot-on-high-street-in.html

I know the frame I’ve been socialized to use for this: “Boys will be boys”  “College students do stupid things.”  I also know the frame I’ve been socialized to use if this had been a group of black males: “Hoodlums” “Drug Dealers” “Fear.”

Every moment of every day, I need to “check my frame” to honestly examine where the judgments I’m making have taken root in my life.  I’m responsible for uprooting the evil of racism.