Unlearning Our Racism

I am guilty as charged!

I killed George Floyd!   I killed Rayshard Brooks!

No, personally, I didn't crush the breath out of George Floyd.   No, I wasn't in Atlanta pointing my gun at Rayshard Brooks

But, a little part of me  still doesn't see how guilty I am.   This part of me protests that I was demonstrating Sunday with Palestinian/Arab People in Southwest Suburban Chicago as we chanted "Black Lives Matter".   I am speaking out on the issues.  I am involved!

A man was sleeping in his car.   A policeman woke him up and told him that he shouldn't drive because of how drunk he was. Where is the crime?   He may have driven while drunk?

Obviously he fought against the two policemen!   Obviously, they were angry that he resisted them.   Quite possibly he said much that was "not nice" to them.Why was he killed?   No doubt - the stealing of the taser - and the pointing of it - both angered and scared the policemen!

Do we wonder - why people call for de-funding the police?   A man asleep in his car running away from two policemen, clearly not with a gun is killed by one of them.We are scared!    Individually and collectively, we white people fear Black People.    I stay at a distance in my cocoon.    I put the police out there to protect my interests as a white, upper-middle class hetish man.   I avoid any possible intersection with the police, besides talking politely for the most part with individual police officers I encounter when walking in my neighborhood.

We give the power to the police to make the world we live in safe from Black and Brown People.    The police officers we empower learn very clearly that we are "good" and that Black and Brown People need to be watched very carefully.   They learn to back each other up in good and bad ways.   They support each other no matter what is done.   It isn't only white officers who learn these lessons.   Their Black and Brown fellow officers learn that their fellow officers come first.

I need to talk with white men.   I need to listen to white men first.   I need to understand others.  I need to work with white people, especially men.  

We white men are nearly always the killers.   Female police officers do not kill others!  A few male police officers who are of Color do kill, however most are white.In our public schools and universities the killers are young white men.   Why aren't poor, inner city, Black young men lashing out and killing multiple white people?   Very strange!    Why aren't women who have been abused by men or spoken to in vulgar ways lashing out and going on rampages killing?

We white men feel entitled.   We are not supposed to face rejection.   It is wrong when young women don't want to date us or have sex with us.   They aren't respecting us.    When our frustration levels get too high, we use our high powered automatic weapons to settle things.

After World War II, the West German Government paid reparations to the families of Jewish people whose families had lost their apartments and businesses in the 1930's in Germany.

Black People were forced to work for several centuries without renumeration.    

Women were raped by their "owners".    After 1865 the oppression of Black People continued in a variety of ways.   Black People were exploited financially and personally.   They had no basic rights either as humans or as citizens.

Sixty Plus years ago a Black family moved into all-white Cicero, Illinois, just west of Chicago.   A mob drove them out.   The police supported the mob.   In "riots" in various cities, Black People were physically attacked.   The police protected the attackers.   In many other situations over many years, Black People (naively) looked to the local police to protect them when violence was a threat from angry white men.  Nearly always "the impartial police" either joined the violence against the Black People or "stayed neutral" and let white mobs kill or severely injure outnumbered Black People.

Black soldiers returning home from both World War I and II naively thought that "fighting for freedom" abroad should mean that they'd have some basic freedoms in the U.S.   Killings of some of them told them that this wasn't the case.Reparations are due to Black People.

What are reparations?    Most white people think that they mean taxing white people to make payments to all Black People.

True reparations are trying to "make a wrong, right".   How we could pay reparations is a significant, complicated issue.

How can we help make Black People "whole"?    In a sense that is impossible.   They can not forget.   The past will always be coming into their feelings.

We could really change a lot!   Instead of having public schools creating more inequality as wealthy suburban districts have incredible facilities and plenty of money raised by their affluent families, we could have something very different.

Money is a big part of it, but it goes well beyond money.   Creating education as a means of teaching us all including teaching of all that we have done wrong - causing the killing of the residents of our country whose land was stolen from them.   Creating an education that teaches us how rape has been used to imprison and torture Native Americans, Black People, LatinX People, and Asian People.   

The women and children have been raped!    The men have also been victimized.Upper middle class Black women and their newborn babies are significantly more likely to die in childbirth and the first six months of their lives than poor white women and their newborn babies.

U.S. Non-Hispanic Mothers' death rate of is 12.7 per 100,000 live births. Black Mothers have a similar rate of 43.5 per 100,000 live births.

A direct quote related to the data above from this site states:Numerous studies show that after controlling for education and socioeconomic status, African American women remain at higher risk for maternal and infant mortality. Indeed, one study showed that after controlling for income; gestational age; and maternal age and health status, the odds of dying from pregnancy or delivery complications were almost three times higher for African American women than they were for non-Hispanic white women.21 Relatedly, another analysis, controlling for the same factors, showed that college-educated African American women were almost three times more likely to lose their infants than their similarly educated non-Hispanic white peers.22
(Source:   https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/early-childhood/reports/2018/02/01/445576/exploring-african-americans-high-maternal-infant-death-rates/  ) – from my writing:


Racism and sexism are deeply embedded in me!   I have a lot of work to do.  It isn't that I am a horrible person!   It isn't that I "personally" am extremely "racist" or "sexist".   It is rather that the worlds around me still tell me that Black People are:  (take your pick)* lazy* violent* unduly demanding* beneficiaries of favoritism* good at dancing, but their music is played too loud* asking for a lot, without trying or earning anything* ugly and similar--While We white people are:> hard working> honest> often good looking> polite

and of course women are overly-emotional, demanding, while we men are rational and clear in all that we do.

We need to listen.   We need to hear others speak.   We need to acknowledge all the bad that we have done, and not blame it on others.

We need to learn to talk about racism.   Those of us who are male need to learn to talk about sexism.

Racism can not become a minor issue and eventually be gone until it becomes a "white problem" where we white people are actively working over the long-term to end it.Sexism similarly won't become a minor issue and eventually be gone until we men are actively working over the long-term to end it.

We need to look at our hearts and what we care about.  Until we care about others and avoid our natural defensiveness, we can't unlearn our racism.

I am a killer!   That doesn't feel good!   I am not wallowing in guilt and shame.    I am ashamed of what has been done in my name.  I am ashamed of  what little I have done to change things, as well as what I have done wrong.  


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