I find myself uncomfortable with groups of white people criticizing black people. I’m not saying that black people don’t have faults, or that it’s categorically wrong for a white person to notice and call a black person on their faults. But a group of white people discussing a black person and their negative traits? This gets me all kinds of crazy.
And I can’t really articulate why it’s not kosher. It’s just not. Maybe it’s cuz it feels too much like an attack. And racism is still too real – too fresh.
Consequently, I tend to limit my own comments about negative traits of prominent black people around white people. I’ve gotten the impression that if I make a comment first, this means the person in question is fair game, and the conversation will get away from my original point, or everyone will jump on that one point with a fervor that smacks of covert racism.
So, even though I’m not an Obama supporter, I find myself defending him when too many white folks jump on a bandwagon. It’s a tightrope, and I don’t know any other way of walking it.
This feeling of solidarity [for lack of a better term] is just as much out of self-preservation as anything else. It seems understood that we don’t talk about certain things in front of white people – that we present a united front for the benefit of the group.
And maybe that’s completely old-fashioned and outdated. It’s impossible, anyway, since there are plenty of black people who don’t ascribe to this ‘loyalty’ paradigm. That and, it’s not like we have meetings. Or even all believe the same things.
But I think this is part of the problem I have with Bill Cosby. It comes back to excatly what he started off with: ‘airing our dirty laundry’. There are arguments for and against, but it just makes me uneasy.
I feel like white people don’t need more ammunition against black people – there’s enough. So why encourage the discussion? Is it really helping?
Obviously we’ve not progressed as far as some like to think. In an online conversation in the last day or so, a white person accused of racism because of his comments about Barack Obama [which in this case, I wouldn’t actually classify as racist – except for his incessant proclamation of Obama’s well-spokenness] decided that he needed to list his pedigree to dodge the “you’re racist” bullet. So he lists a bunch of famous black people that he admires, and a couple Middle Eastern folks for good measure. Basically saying – I know who these people are [MLK, Ghandi, Morgan Freeman, Sojourner Truth, the Dalai Lama] and I like/respect them – so I can’t be racist!
We all know that’s ridiculous.
I don’t know what the fix is for this, yet. Liberal white people are determined to not be informed of their racism [no matter how blatant] and will give you every reason under the sun to prove how much they really love people of color. As long as ________. [you fill in the blank]
so. that’s the frustration I’m dealing with right now. carry on.