TRYING TO DEFINE BLACK RACISM
Like you, in this historical moment, I am having an increased uptick in racial conversations with White people. I feel like I am repeating myself, so, I am going to relate a story, and then, hopefully, assist those who are very confused.
One of the most persistent ideas that I am encountering is the fear White people are expressing of themselves being racially vulnerable. It is believed Black people, in America, can be racist towards White people, in America.
For example, I was told by an older white man, on social media, he has dealt with “Black Racism.” This experience occurred in 1968 inside a, wait for it, Black Panther Breakfast Program.
Apparently, he learned about the Black Panther Party and decided he deserved to be in that space, too. So, like any other good “white" person, he volunteered to serve poor, Black children breakfast in Oakland. Because Black people are so big-heated, this request was granted and this (young at the time) white man was transported to the hood.
At the location, the white man felt anger and tension directed towards him. The Brother Panthers on post asked their leadership about this white man’s governmental identity, political affiliations and known public activities. The white man felt this tension until a Black Panther official spoke to the Brothers and assaged their fears. Once spoken to, the white man informed me, the tension between him and the Brother Panthers dissipated and the visited ended on a high note for him.
You were a white man inside of a Black neighborhood. And, you felt safe enough to meet up with the Black Panthers. In fact, you felt so safe, you went with the Black Panthers to a breakfast program. I imagine, the purpose of traveling to the breakfast program was to serve Black children breakfast.
You did not like some of the remarks directed at your person, due to you being a White man. An Elder Panther stepped in and taught the Brothers how to view you as a human being. The treatment stopped.
Um, where is the racism? This incident does not appear to be meeting my definition of racism.
Let me see if I can fix this right in my head.
It is 1968; not 2020; it is 1968: The Bay Area wasn’t the best place to be Black in America in 1968, nor was it the worst.
The West Coast did not openly practice segregation exactly like Southerns did. Instead, White Americans created sundown towns. Lynchings did occur, just through police guns, instead of white mob violence.
Oh, and there were these white boys (high school and college aged) who ran around Los Angeles purposely seeking to beat up Black people. They called themselves “spook hunters.”
They officially operated from the Great Depression until the late 1950s. Note, the Civil Rights Movement started in 1955. So, the young white boys STOPPED walking around Compton, Los Angeles and Oakland beating up random, vulnerable Black people due to school integration. As Black citizens entered Compton High, the White citizens fled the area into the suburbs.
Of course, the white man in my social media comments may not have had any HARD, OBJECTIVE, LOGICAL experience with these “spook hunters.” Because there is no hard, objectional, logical evidence of “spook hunter” activity in 1968, the actual fact the “spook hunters” existed is not supposed to factor into the upbringing of the Black persons who joined the Black Panthers.
The EFFECT of 18 and 19 year old Black persons in 1968 feeding off of their parents LIVED EXPERIENCES of being hunted as spooks is not supposed to IMPACT this young white man who just wants to help serve Black children breakfast. He is innocent. He did not hunt any spooks.
However, whatever IS HAPPENING in the Bay Area - in 1966 - is so bad, a law student named Huey P. Newton, decides to create an organization called the Black Panther Party for SELF-DEFENSE. Um, who is the Black Panther Party protecting? Black people, right? From whom?
Mind you, the culture of individualism wants us to BELIEVE that Newton is growing up DURING THE CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT and yet absolutely not impacted by it. Dr. King and Minister Malcolm X are speaking to sold out crowds, yet, this supposedly has no influence on him.
Unless I can point out in an objective, logical manner of WHAT specific, violent racist incidents happened to Newton, my claim that Newton is greatly impacted by the stressors of being a Black man in America is dismissed by said White man - who wanted to help serve poor, Black children in the hood.
Obviously, the white man expected to walk into the hood with a hood pass and not receive one look of disdain, or question of his trustworthiness from the Black people surrounding him, who are living under conditions so bad, they are walking around with guns in broad daylight - to protect themselves from white people, (and those who work with white people), to hurt them.
Is “Black racism” viewing a white man “as a white man,” and not as an individual separate from all of White America? The individual white man, in my comments, desires to be SEEN as an individual, even though, every Black man of that time period is treated by White America as if he is a part of a (collective) category called “Black man,” and not an indivdiual, like the White man imagined himself to be.
So, a person, Black man, who is not treated like a White person is supposed to view a White person the way a White person would treat a White person, not the way that White society HAS taught that Black man to see White persons? (Read this sentence again.)
I’m going to go slow for the people in the back who don’t read very well.
A White man chooses to show up in a Black neighborhood, after THIRTEEN years of the Civil Rights Movement, and wants to be treated as if the Civil Rights Movement is NOT HAPPENING or DID NOT EVER NEED TO HAPPEN. He wants to be treated as if the Black men openly carrying guns around him in 1968 DO NOT HAVE A VALID REASON TO BE CARRYING THESE GUNS?
That’s Black racism? Black men treating a White man as a potential threat, in 1968, is Black racism? I mean, it is three years AFTER Minister Malcolm X was assassinated. In 1968, Dr. King is assassinated. Black men are not supposed to be scared after these incidences?
I am so lost. Literally, my objective, logical mind is SO FUCKING LOST with this expectation that the only way I can agree wtih the person who had this experience is if I choose to not view Black people as human beings; b.u.t. as animals and thugs.
As, a Black man living in America, I cannot do this feat of mental gymnastics. I appears “Black racism” is not following the rules of racism in America and treating a White person the way racism says a White person is supposed to be treated: as safe at all times.
I wish I knew what “safety,” as defined by “White America” felt like. Until that happens, I might as you to explain your presence in a space designed to soothe, empower and feed Black people. If you do not meet the standard, like my parent’s generation, I just might ask you to leave.
That is not racism.