Everything is About Race.

Yesterday I was called a Racist on Twitter. Reason being that I had the nerve to point out something on Facebook that that my guest blogger stated. If you read what yesterday’s blog was about you would know that Rameer was pointing out the simple fact that not many white people he knew posted anything about Haiti on their Facbook statues, yet just about all the people of color he knew, did. It was a commentary on sociology of race relations and what we hold to be important.

Like I normally do, I will tweet about my blog to let people know what today’s topic is. I asked a simple question: “How many white people do you know on Facebook that posted something about Haiti?” Let’s be real about this. I think it was a legitimate question in which I got answers to. One follower, who is a woman I have spoken to via chat and on the phone, was offended by my question. “Why do you have to make it racist?”

What I find interesting is that I just asked a question. Consider that I have taken classes in social justice, sociology, racism and education, and I am a trained facilitator in racist dialogue…I think I would know if I was being racist. But I digress. The point is, that Racism exists and pointing that out, does not make me racist nor does it mean I am perpetuating it.

“When people like you ‘point it out’ but are really just being racist yourself. I think its so ignorant.” I am one to believe that ignorance is bliss. If people like me do not point such things out then we are truly being ignorant about the world around us. Do I need to explain why Haiti is suffering so badly? Do I need to explain why that country is so poor? Race has everything to do with it. I was just saying this week that we need to know our history. Haiti was once a colony of France and after it was bled dry by the French, they left the Haitians to fend for themselves.

Let me explain what Racism is, since I am so ignorant about the world. Racism is a part of the system of oppression that is perpetuated by those who are privileged. Racism is power plus privilege. According to her, this definition is antiquated. I am not so sure how old this meaning is especially when sociologists still hang on to this definition, so let’s go with Webster’s Dictionary: a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race.

Ok…so how am I being Racist? Do not get me wrong, I can be prejudice. We all can be. We all have our thoughts about other people. Honestly, that is natural. “ANYONE can be racist! If you don’t like someone based on their race…your racist.” As I pointed out to her, I never said I do not like white people. But, if you really know me (which she does not), then you will know that I point shit out like this all the time. Why? Because I have heard people say that they think racism does not exist anymore…yeah ok.

“…and you are making assumptions. Maybe people didn’t post about it but chose to deal with it their own way or donated privately.” I will say this, I do make assumptions. But if someone points something out and many other people agree and see the same thing, what does that mean? I get the fact people want to deal with things in their own way. But, why donate privately? Do white people think they will be judged by their peers that donating to a “3rd world island” is not the in thing to do? Or would they rather hold up a blind fold and watch “Jersey Shore”?

Which being me to my point and why I had Rameer write that post yesterday. It is clear that we all live on the same planet, but we live in different worlds. It seems to me that most, if not all people of color, care deeply about what happen in Haiti. Most likely because they either have family there, or know people who do. More importantly, these people look like us! White people in general can be blinded to the plights of many of our people. The very system of privilege makes it hard for them to realize what we go through. So Haiti is a different world.

Everything is about race…Everything. If you do not think so then think about this. If you are a white person: Do get followed in a store because you are are white? Do you ever think you will ever be stopped by a cop because you are driving while white? Do you have issues buying a white doll from Toy R Us? Do you struggle to find a sitcom on TV that positively portrays white people?

Never EVER tell me that everything isn’t about race. When I think about Racists, I think about Pat Roberston. I am so not like him. I live my race everyday. Do you?

Truth Is Truth: Do White People Care About Haiti?

Guest Blogger today! My boy, Rameer Green. I had to hit him up yesterday based on what happened on his Facebook page…check it out:

I’m a Facebook junkie.

I fully admit it. Like millions of people worldwide, I can’t get enough of it. I connect with people, engage in online conversations…hell, I sometimes get news faster on Facebook than I do in real life. One thing is constant – regardless whether it be serious or jovial, I always have some stimulating online convos.

But yesterday, I caused a pretty significant stir.

One thing should be known about me – I’m pretty blunt. I say what’s on my mind, straight with no chaser. I’m also brutally honest…I rarely lie about ANYTHING. Some people love this about me, some hate it. People say they want honesty; I find most really don’t want someone who is ALWAYS honest.

This honesty upset A LOT of people on Facebook.

See, I took notice of something I found very peculiar. When the earthquake hit Haiti Tuesday night, my Facebook feed was lit up with reaction. People expressed shock, dismay, sadness, worry, offered prayers – everything you would expect to see in reaction to a horrible tragedy. I saw this all night, and saw it continue Wednesday morning when I logged on to my computer at work. That wasn’t the peculiar part.

The peculiar part was that not a single white person on my friends list had typed a single word in reference to it.

I have over 500+ people in my friends list. And I don’t add due to trying to take part in a popularity contest; I have some real connection with every person in that list. Out of the 500+, I’d say a bit more than 200 are white.

Not one had anything to say about the loss of possibly 100,000 human lives?!?

So I posted a link to the AP news story Wednesday morning, and I pointed this fact out. And inevitably, the reaction started to pour in: I was horrible to point this out, why do I have to make this about race, Facebook isn’t always for serious stuff, etc.

But no one could answer why none of them had posted any reference or reaction to the situation in Haiti. And my responses were consistent – truth is TRUTH. The reality didn’t change that none of them had posted ANYTHING.

I should point out that out of the 250+ people of color in my list, well over 50% posted *something*. A link, a reaction, prayers…something acknowledging the story dominating national news. I didn’t do the math, but I’d say somewhere like 75% of all people of color posted something. And, as I stated on the thread, this wasn’t the first time I have noticed a story or subject that resonates with people of color that whites seem to have no reaction or opinion on. This was simply the first
time I called this crap out on Facebook.

In my opinion, it comes down to this – the value of human lives is very different in some people’s eyes. A single white kid missing in Iowa can make national news and illicit the attention and sympathy of many whites; a good, promising young Black student getting killed as an innocent in the crossfire of gang violence in Chicago doesn’t. Mexico facing it’s worst violence to start a new year in over 50 years catches few whites’ attention, but violence in a European country is “terrible”.

I have concluded many years ago, and had it reaffirmed with years of research by experts much smarter and more knowledgeable than me – that this occurs at a subconscious level. It’s the result of attitudes that go back to the dawn of this country – that whites are somehow more important and substantiative as opposed to the brown, red and yellow people of this Earth. And this is propagated in the education we receive, the entertainment we watch, and the how things a represented in the media.

As we debated throughout the day, here’s the funny thing…I noticed many of my white peers did start acknowledging what had happened. Many copied and pasted statuses I had put up regarding donations and help. Others brought attention to their white friends on their lists. And in the most impactful instance, three people who work in media were spurred to give better coverage and attention to it than they had been. This LITERALLY resulted in newscasts being changed at THREE stations in my
market, and feature stories being done on the topic.

No one was ever able to give a semblance of a good excuse for the disparity. There was one guy who was actually honest…he said “Wow. Way to make us feel guilty.” But he wasn’t being condescending, he was sincere. He DID feel guilty, as he told me – because he knew he was one of those that post things daily about things of substance that effect white people…and that there really wasn’t a good excuse why he was apathetic to this situation. And I appreciate his honesty. Many others simply got
defensive and tried to turn it into a different type of debate. I didn’t really fight too much, I just pointed out the numbers don’t lie – truth is truth.

None of them either cared to post something or thought to when they do so for a number of other things. And that I don’t know for sure why that is…they’d have to look within themselves and determine why this had occurred. 200+, and NO REACTION?!?

Scratch that. One white woman I know DID post something that I missed. I gave her kudos. 1 out of 200. Less than 1%.

What started out as a convo actually made a much bigger impact than I could’ve imagined by the end of the day. And I’d like to think I gave my white friends and peers some real food for thought as to how they think and how they subconsciously view and value the lives of some people over others. I’m not making the argument that any of these people are blatant, hateful racists; as I’ve stated – I believe this was a subconscious thing much deeper than that, but still rooted in racism.
Like many things, we’ve all been indoctrinated with certain things in relation to whites being of a higher value than those involving people of color. I should note – I work in media. I see subconscious decisions as to who and what is important daily…and there’s a huge difference when the people behind the scenes are all white as opposed to when there is diversity.

Someone told me I was being negative. I think I made an observation that made a whole lot of white people feel uneasy. But like I said in my responses – a negative reality is STILL reality.

Truth is truth. I just happened to be the one who pointed it out on that particular day.