Category: White Men

Older White People – Were You Racist 50 Years Ago?

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech “I Have A Dream” it’s caused me to  look inward & examine how I really feel about White people in this country. Let me start off by saying that people of all races get on my nerves, so I certainly don’t discriminate in that regard. But sometimes when I see older Whites (male or female) I often ask myself, “I wonder how they felt about Black people 50 years ago?”

Let’s review our history, shall we? Integration in our school systems wasn’t really enforced until 1957 (Brown v. Board of Education, 1955) and the Civil Rights Act wasn’t passed until 1964, prohibiting discrimination based on a plethora of things, including race. Basically, less than 50 years ago the majority of Whites in this country didn’t think that Blacks were good to enough to go to school with, let alone hire. So, I often wonder do White people of that generation take issue with the way things are now?

In my daily comings & goings I often encounter older White people and when time permits I sometimes stop & ask them their true feelings about the Civil Rights era. I ask them how they view African Americans in this country today. I also inquire as to whether or not they raised their children to be against minorities, Affirmative Action or equal rights especially since that was simply the way things were for their generation. And I also wonder what these same older White people are doing today in 2013 to help unify this country, eradicate racism and promote equality.

After I have these discussions with older White people, I speculate on what life will be like in 30 or 40 years when Whites become the minority in this country. Will I be able to empathize with them? Will I fight for their “equal” rights even though they didn’t fight for ours?

On this 50th Anniversary of the March On Washington it’s nice to see so many people standing up for what’s right. But as the 11-time NBA Championship winner Bill Russell said in his speech today, “You can only measure progress by how far you have to go”.

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Why Paula Deen Can’t Say The N-word But Kanye West Can

Paula, Paula, Paula. What a mess she has gotten herself into! Because of her use of racial slurs, I was so glad to hear that the Food Network has decided not to renew her contract and am hoping that QVC drops her too. I believe that an example should be made of her, especially since she hasn’t denied any of the allegations (I guess it’s not an allegation if it’s true). But it’s not just about her using the n-word it’s the systematic behavior throughout her business operations and the hostile work environment that she has allowed that are morally and financially degrading to African Americans. Paula Deen’s actions go way beyond the use of the n-word. She is a millionaire and has become a culinary celebrity by selling to ALL ethnicities, even though her company failed to pay African American employees the same as White employees.

Paula Deen is from the deep south (Savannah, Georgia to be exact), so can I blame her? She comes from an era where the n-word was used as commonly as the word “the”. Sure this is a new day & time, but if someone is raised a certain way with racist values embedded in them it’s not so easy to shake those ways. Our upbringing shapes who we are even if times have changed. Now this doesn’t excuse her actions it just helps explain why she feels the way she does towards Blacks. The problem I have with Paula is that if she didn’t see the big deal about what she was doing and not ashamed of her true feelings, she would have felt free to discuss this subject matter with Oprah when she came to visit her at her home 1 year ago.  I believe that Paula may be upset because she got caught saying the n-word, not because she said actually said it.

It’s comical that the vast majority of the people who support Paula Deen’s return to the Food Network are White. It’s even funnier that more White people are accepting of her behavior and think that her actions deserve nothing less than total forgiveness. After all, she is from one of the most racially charged states in this nation. However, it is one thing for her to have used racial slurs (which I’m sure she still uses) but it’s another thing to treat your staff unfairly in a racially hostile work environment. Paula Deen claims that she is not a racist but if that was the case why did so many of her African American employees feel uncomfortable & discriminated against? When Paula spoke about her desire for the antebellum period (read: Southern plantation style) for her brother’s wedding & having Blacks dress up like slaves, that reeks of good ole fashioned racism.

Now one of the oldest questions that Whites always want to know is why is it okay for Blacks to use the n-word but they can’t. Why do we allow our rappers, like Kanye West, to use that word but are ready to start a riot when White’s admit to saying the n-word? Well, here’s my response: If I were to call your mom fat, you would have a problem with that wouldn’t you? I know for many men, those would be fighting words. Even if you know that’s a sore spot for her and she’s struggling with her weight. But if your mother looks in the mirror and calls herself fat then that would be okay. I’m not saying that I agree or disagree with the use of the n-word, but if an African American chooses to use that word then that is their discretion, not yours. But it by no way permits Whites to use that word EVER. So White people please stop asking us this question, it is not your place to question what we call ourselves.

As for Paula Deen, I would say that her apology is too little and way too late. The only thing that racist people like Paula understand is not Black or White but green (money), so I will not be patronizing her businesses now or ever: A bought lesson is a taught lesson.

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Will White People Ever Be Labeled As Terrorists?

In light of the bombings in Boston, an article was brought to my attention that talked about race & how that impacts the way Americans view terrorism. The article talks about how “White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.”

In other words, if you’re White you won’t be labeled as a terrorist. That title seems to only apply to people with Brown or Black skin. There have been many White men who have either blown up buildings or  responsible for mass murders – think Timothy McVeigh (Oklahoma City bomber responsible for over 160 murders), Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber who killed 3 people), James Holmes (mass shooting at the Colorado movie theater last year killing 12 people), the 2 White students who killed 15 people at Columbine, and who could forget Jeffrey Dahmer who killed 17 people back in the 1980’s. Society seems to deem these “incidents” as exceptions and proof that our government would never racially profile White people. Even Ted Kazczynski was only thought of as “militant” but not a terrorist.

It’ll be interesting to see how the Boston bombing situation plays out.

Read the article below –

Terrorism and Privilege: Understanding the Power of Whiteness by Tim Wise

As the nation weeps for the victims of the horrific bombing in Boston yesterday, one searches for lessons amid the carnage, and finds few. That violence is unacceptable stands out as one, sure. That hatred — for humanity, for life, or whatever else might have animated the bomber or bombers — is never the source of constructive human action seems like a reasonably close second.

But I dare say there is more; a much less obvious and far more uncomfortable lesson, which many are loathe to learn, but which an event such as this makes readily apparent, and which we must acknowledge, no matter how painful.

It is a lesson about race, about whiteness, and specifically, about white privilege.

I know you don’t want to hear it. But I don’t much care. So here goes.

White privilege is knowing that even if the Boston Marathon bomber turns out to be white, his or her identity will not result in white folks generally being singled out for suspicion by law enforcement, or the TSA, or the FBI.

White privilege is knowing that even if the bomber turns out to be white, no one will call for whites to be profiled as terrorists as a result, subjected to special screening, or threatened with deportation.

White privilege is knowing that if the bomber turns out to be white, he or she will be viewed as an exception to an otherwise non-white rule, an aberration, an anomaly, and that he or she will be able to join the ranks of Tim McVeigh and Terry Nichols and Ted Kaczynski and Eric Rudolph and Joe Stack and George Metesky and Byron De La Beckwith and Bobby Frank Cherry and Thomas Blanton and Herman Frank Cash and Robert Chambliss and James von Brunn and Robert Mathews and David Lane and Michael F. Griffin and Paul Hill and John Salvi and James Kopp and Luke Helder and James David Adkisson and Scott Roeder and Shelley Shannon and Dennis Mahon and Wade Michael Page and Byron Williams and Kevin Harpham and William Krar and Judith Bruey and Edward Feltus and Raymond Kirk Dillard and Adam Lynn Cunningham and Bonnell Hughes and Randall Garrett Cole and James Ray McElroy and Michael Gorbey and Daniel Cowart and Paul Schlesselman and Frederick Thomas and Paul Ross Evans and Matt Goldsby and Jimmy Simmons and Kathy Simmons and Kaye Wiggins and Patricia Hughes and Jeremy Dunahoe and David McMenemy and Bobby Joe Rogers and Francis Grady and Demetrius Van Crocker and Floyd Raymond Looker and Derek Mathew Shrout, among the pantheon of white people who engage in (or have plotted) politically motivated violence meant to terrorize and kill, but whose actions result in the assumption of absolutely nothing about white people generally, or white Christians in particular.

And white privilege is being able to know nothing about the crimes committed by most of the terrorists listed above — indeed, never to have so much as heard most of their names — let alone to make assumptions about the role that their racial or ethnic identity may have played in their crimes.

White privilege is knowing that if the Boston bomber turns out to be white, we  will not be asked to denounce him or her, so as to prove our own loyalties to the common national good. It is knowing that the next time a cop sees one of us standing on the sidewalk cheering on runners in a marathon, that cop will say exactly nothing to us as a result.

White privilege is knowing that if you are a white student from Nebraska — as opposed to, say, a student from Saudi Arabia — that no one, and I mean no one would think it important to detain and question you in the wake of a bombing such as the one at the Boston Marathon.

And white privilege is knowing that if this bomber turns out to be white, the United States government will not bomb whatever corn field or mountain town or stale suburb from which said bomber came, just to ensure that others like him or her don’t get any ideas. And if he turns out to be a member of the Irish Republican Army we won’t bomb Belfast. And if he’s an Italian American Catholic we won’t bomb the Vatican.

In short, white privilege is the thing that allows you (if you’re white) — and me — to view tragic events like this as merely horrific, and from the perspective of pure and innocent victims, rather than having to wonder, and to look over one’s shoulder, and to ask even if only in hushed tones, whether those we pass on the street might think that somehow we were involved.

It is the source of our unearned innocence and the cause of others’ unjustified oppression.

That is all. And it matters.

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The article can be found here: http://www.timwise.org

Elbow Etiquette

I was on an airplane last week and was disturbed by the lack of etiquette I experienced. I’m not talking about crying babies, people snoring or odd odors – I’m referring to the lack of elbow etiquette. Elbow etiquette is when someone hogs the armrest without consideration to the person sitting next to them.

You see whether you are on an airplane, in a stadium or at the movie theater more than likely you’ll have to share your armrest. A lot of people like to rest their entire forearm on the armrest but I believe there should be rules:

  • Ask me first – Before you decide to “hog” the entire armrest, check to see if I’d like to use it at all. It’s called courtesy folks.
  • Take turns – Okay, maybe you got to your seat before me and have already gotten comfortable with your elbow on the armrest. Well, just don’t forget that there are others sitting on either side of you so maybe at halftime you can remove your elbows & let me have a turn with the armrest. After all, it is partially mine as well.
  • Front/Back – So here’s a situation where both parties can be happy. If you rest your elbows on the front of the armrest, I’ll take the back. Or vice versa. Either way works for me. This way we both get some elbow real estate and don’t have to take turns or go without.
  • Don’t use it at all – This is probably the easiest and most rationale approach. Don’t use your armrest at all and that will ensure that the person next to you won’t have any problems.

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Balancing Motherhood & Your Career – Is Working Part Time The Best Move To Make In This Economy?

A woman I know recently decided to go from working full time to part time so that she could stay home & spend more time with her family. Not wanting to completely be a stay-at-home mom, she decided that the only way to sustain her career would be to keep one foot in the working world and one foot at home. I’m sure her husband is glad to have her around the house more & her children will benefit from increased attention, but where does that leave her career?

Currently, the unemployment rate is hovering right around 8%. Depending on what part of the country you live in that percentage may be significantly higher. After working long & hard to build a solid career and then starting a family, you are now willing to possibly through that away? It’s one thing to start working part-time after not working at all, because of a company mandate, or if you have special circumstances (disability, spouse is deployed to another country, etc.). But to purposely cut back your working hours and your household income right when you might need it the most? Some of the women who do this are the same women who complain about not moving up in their careers. Of course, returning to full time employment is always an option but they should be glad to even have a job, given that so many people (with families) are still looking for work.

Family should always come first, but is it worth sacrificing your career as a woman? Especially in such an unstable economy? People are being laid off left & right and pink slips are becoming more popular than pay slips, so why risk providing less for your family, or at the very least why risk not being able to provide at all?

It’s so ironic to me that decades & decades after women fighting to work outside the home and earn equal pay (although we’re still not quite there), we now have women who are fighting to stay at home and NOT work at all. I can’t say that I agree with this woman’s decision. I think that she should continue to work full time and raise her family at the same time.

I’m not saying it will be easy but if she doesn’t really want her job someone else will.

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My Ode To The Importance Of Black History Month

Black History Month is upon us so I will be dedicating some of my posts towards its significance and the achievements of African Americans in this country. Everyone needs to be enlightened about the contributions (some of which were voluntary, some were involuntary) of African Americans in this society.

Most people in this country know that February is Black History Month, but they may not know the origin. Why February? Why an entire month? So, I’ll start with the basics…

The idea to set apart a special time of year to celebrate the achievements of African Americans was conceived in the early twentieth century by the father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson. Carter G. Woodson, a Harvard educated man, was intent on raising awareness of African American contributions in American society. Originally called “Negro History Week”, Woodson chose the month of February because it was the birth month of Frederick Douglas & Abraham Lincoln, both of whom had contributed greatly to the advancement of African Americans.

Following the Civil Rights movements of the 1960’s the consciousness of Black history greatly developed. In honor of the nation’s bicentennial in 1976, the celebration was expanded to the entire month of February. President Gerald R. Ford urged Americans to “seize the opportunity to honor the too-often neglected accomplishments of black Americans in every area of endeavor throughout our history.” Since then each American president has issued Black History Month proclamations and people all around the country continue to promote Black History Month.

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