We will not let hate win (will we?)

Yesterday I unfriended someone on Facebook - not something I do very often. Usually, if a person has wildly different views of life than I do & I don't want to see his or her posts, I'll just hide that person from my news feed. But this time I decided that I just didn't need to be Facebook friends with a person who had this particular point of view. What did she post? It was one of those memes that said, in effect, no white person alive today ever owned a slave and no black person today has ever been a slave, so basically everyone just get over yourselves.

As if the effects of centuries of people owning other people can be rinsed down the drain like grime after a hard day's work. As if the very institutions that undergird our nation aren't set, by default, to favor white citizens. As if the average black child in the United States today really does have the same advantages as the average white child.

I read an essay the other day where a woman was talking to a black man who couldn't swim. She said that he must not have grown up around water. But he replied that his town had a pool, but that black people weren't allowed to use it. Today that town's pool most likely doesn't discriminate. But what is the legacy of this story from our (relatively) recent past? I grew up hearing that "black people don't swim," as if it was a genetic disposition instead of a lack of opportunity. And this is just one example of systemic discrimination.

I used to believe that once the "older generation" died off, the United States would become a utopia where no one was treated differently based on the color of their skin, sexual preference, gender, or nationality. I'm not that naive anymore. We can't afford to wait for some fictional utopia. We need to actively seek the change we want in the world. What does that look like for me or you? No clue. But I'm ready.


Comments

  1. excellent post. probably better than my diatribes but this nazi shit hits a nerve with me since so many people in my extended family are jewish.

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  2. I happen to agree with your unfriended someone.
    If you want to go back in time, go straight to the beginning, to the time of the Creation, and ask God why has He done this to us. Why has He created different races and then allowed them to migrate and mix. We, humans don't have the means to deal with the problems caused by this pluralism, and it slowly but surely leads us to extinction.

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  3. Like you, I thought prejudice and hatred would die out, so it was disheartening to see so many young people with torches spouting hateful rhetoric.

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  4. Excellent post!!!!
    I not only have unfriended people on Facebook over politics as well, but been on the opposite end of that situation. The saddest thing is that includes many family members who couldn't fathom my support for Barrack Obama back in 2008.

    The one possible silver lining I can see in this situation is that it might wake up people to the fact that bigotry still exists and cause us to fight back against the neo-Nazis.

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  5. Yes, well said, Bug. I don't know if the bigotry has gotten worse or if it is just coming out of the shadows. Either way it's a sad commentary on we as a people.

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  6. I agree with Catalyst, above. And whatever justification or rationalization some people use for their behaviour, it means nothing. Hatred and bigotry and racism cannot be cloaked in religion or patriotism and somehow be okay. They are Always Wrong. Period.

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  7. Race is a purely human construction, used in various forms over millennia to justify all manner of atrocities. Blood knows no race. It is precisely the people in US who shout at us to "get over" the past who cling must doggedly to previous generations' social and cultural constructs. Why do you think the Trumpeteers are so anti-intellectual? Good rant, Bug.

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  8. It's a tricky one deciding when to unfriend, i'm sort of scared of how we are mainly presented with things we agree with online, through search cookies etc, so it's good to be careful not to end up in an echo chamber, but yeah, it might help the person rethink if they drastically lose friend count - and if nothing else it frees you up from being annoyed by it!

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  9. Hear, hear! People say that "black families don't stay together, that's why they are off worse than white families who stay together" and I think, we tore them apart when they were slaves. People say that "blacks should go to college and get an education, then they'll be better off" and I think of all the white kids whose parents financed their college education with home equity loans, and all the black kids whose parents didn't have homes or were unable to get loans because they were black... You are right, this stuff does NOT rinse off like dirt in a shower. It carries on from generation to generation.

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  10. You could write for a living, you know.

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