Ferguson makes me angry.
And yes, closer to home, black bodies being beaten, humiliated and dehumanised make me angry. Driving around in my comfy car, leaving my house in the suburbs, joining the traffic made up of mainly white people doing the same, I am silently seething with anger at all the complacent faces around me. But I also realise that these are people who would in all likelyhood join me in my righteous anger. Some of them might even stand up and shout fuck you with the best of them and thus make it appear that the likes of Darren Wilson or even Tim Osrin, Jan van Tonder, or the as yet unnamed UCT students are all abberations and nothing to do with us other good white people.
Is my sudden anger, I have to wonder, really a feeling of pure outrage at what actually has been happening for centuries or is it merely masking my shame at being part of the master-race, the institution of
whiteness, which continues to allow, facilitate and white-wash systematic abuse
of black mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters and children.
And is demonstrating this anger in the face of
racial violence not just another way of not owning up to my own part in this
I do understand of course that anger is an emotion, and as such it would obviously be absurd to deny this feeling in the face of racial violence. But my challenge here is - and I am extending this to my fellow white people - to look beyond this anger and understand the underlying emotions of shame and fear.
The shame of knowing that I am and will always be a part of the evil system of white supremacy and the fear of being identified as such.
So shouting fuck-you might temporarily serve to seperate me from the assholes - but really, what does that achieve other than to put me in the clear for a second?
And yes I do hear white voices defending and claiming a right to their anger. Their right to show solidarity with black people. I am not denying that. I am not making a sweeping statement here that white people have no right to demonstrate their anger. I am questioning if and what we wish to achieve. Today, as we are all sitting in shock with what hapened to this world, I am simply questioning our motives.
Do black people actually want or need our demonstrative shouts of solidarity in a world where nothing changes? Does it help anybody other than myself if I exert my right to my own self righteous rage-indulgence if the assholes still and will continue to reign supreme.
The release that comes with shouting fuck you on facebook or in our own safe circles of like minded people, might make me feel better for a moment or two. It might even give us the connection to our black family that we are missing alltogether in our every day journeys in our comfy cars. And maybe some people might even defriend us - but really: is this enough?
If we leave it at that, if we are simply using our white voices once again to speak, write about or otherwise take over the floor of black suffering, we are not even touching the system. We are just making ourselves feel better.
It is easy to rant via Facebook at the likes of Darren Wilson, because clearly this man is beyond
dialogue. But it is also safe for us white people.
It is not so easy
however to stand up to the guest at our dinner table, a fellow parent at
school or even a good friend, who oh so subtly perpetuates a racial
stereotype. Where is our righteous anger, when our near and dear ones
expose racial bias, assuming that as a fellow white person I am safe for
them to say such things? Does it hide behind a polite smile and then
come out in full force in a face book rant about Ferguson? Yes? Maybe?
So how can I actually do something proactive, how can I own up to my role in all of this and take some responsibility for my fellow racists? How can I start engaging rather than seperating. Questionning rather than raging? Dialoguing rather than "fuck-you-ing"?
For that to happen, we need to dig deep into our own white souls to find the hidden racist, the one that has been put there by our white education, our white parents, our white teachers and of course our white supremacist media. But instead of shouting fuck you at him or her, we can try to understand where he or she is coming from and admit to ourselves, we are not as far removed from the Tim Osrins or even Darren Wilsons as we would like to be.
So here is what I will do today: I will try to stop feeding the beast which is my loud mouthed, self righteous anger and step aside from that particular stage in order to hear the people who are most affected. I will quietly, privately and in my own circles at first, start to engage my fellow white racists at my dinner table, the playground and the work place. I will use my anger as an energy to help me expose but also engage with racism. And being me, I will of course write about this journey, hoping that others take it with me and we all learn how to be human again together.
I don't believe in miracles - I rely on them
I don't believe in miracles - I rely on them
You found my blog and as I am experimenting with the weird and wonderful world of cyber publishing, let me explain what a gunna is: it's a word for all things desirable, something that makes us happy and warm and comforts us when we feel tired or sad or lonely. a gunna is the best gadget in the world! it was leah s first word for all things she wanted. Or you might also know it as: dummy, schnulli, pacifier binky, schnuller...... and so on. So this is for my beautiful