Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Sometimes it Just Wears Me Down...

"You might not know any bigots, you feel like 'I dont hate black people, so Im not a racist' but you benefit from racism just by the merit of the color of your skin...youre privileged in ways you might not even realize"
Dave Chapelle

I want, I need, someone, anyone, to explain to me why it is so easy for upper middle-class white males to completely dismiss the idea that racism exists in any form. Is it because they (I guess WE because I fit in that demographic) feel that by suggesting racism exists we are perpetrators? Maybe. But I suppose its something more along the lines of " I know a Black person and I have never seen him discriminated against so Racism must be dead." or they simply have no experience outside of upper middle-class white suburban utopia. You know exactly what I mean, col de sacs lined with mass produced McMansions right around the corner from everyones favorite neighborhood grill.
Now I am very familiar with this phenomenon, white guys denying racial bias, yet whenever it rears its ugly head I find myself wondering what world these guys are living in. Today it happened again. During a discussion about research topics, it was suggested that researching racial bias in drug sentencing was a worthy endeavor. Oh boy, what a mistake. Without getting into too many ugly details the class ended with an upper middle-class white guy saying "Blacks are always whining about those sorts of things, they always whine." Yikes!! Happy Valley indeed.
With full disclosure in mind, I attended a high school and my parents still reside in a community in which we, an upper middle-class white family, are the minority. So I guess I am somewhat privileged to have some experience outside the realm of homogeneity that is Utah Valley. However, that is no excuse for blanket denials of the existence of racism. Glance at a history book and realize that after years and years of racial divide problems dont just go away. Sure they are the under rug where Utah Valley likes its eye sores (teen pregnancy and Meth addiction come to mind) but they have not gone away. One glaring example of their existence is the fact that it was somehow kosher for "educated" people to laugh at and forward racist text messages about our new president. I dont care if you disagree with and didnt vote for him, you are the same people who, for almost year, screamed bloody murder anytime anyone hinted negatively about Mitt Romney's religion. Which by the way is much more of a choice then someones race.
This just wears me down! I always have to look like the crazy ACLU supporting Californian standing up for people who are not present to defend themselves. I seem to be turning into the defender of all things minority because they are constantly being attacked and I was raised to stand up for equal rights (seriously my mom made me watch EVERY civil rights movie that ever aired between 1987 and 2000.) Why cant we just recognize that there are still problems in our country (which doesnt make it any less majestic) and what makes our country great is our ability to put aside our differences and confront problems head on, together?


Pere said...

Dude i totally agree with you man. Growing up in the south racism is rampant!!! I remember getting into fights with white kids for calling one of my best friends, who was black, a N*****. People need to take off their happy valley goggles and realize that yes there is a real world out there.

Jake said...

yeah. i hate this county. read that word closely. not coutnry: county. Utah County is such a pile of crap. you hit the nail on the head with the word "homogeneity." it seems like in Utah Valley, sameness is a virtue, in and of itself. this place makes me want to puke.

whitneydenelle said...

me love you long time jackson. seriously. back here in the Dub H, i'm always pleased to see the healthy variety of Obama and McCain supporters, and then, we have the closest thing to Utah Valley we have here...YSA gatherings. luckily in a week i'll be gone up outta that joint, so if i punch someone in the face, they can't shun me doubly.

Anonymous said...

Agree with Jackson D.? I definitely do. I remember when I first became privy to the near hidden racism that lines white suburbia. I noticed on my mission and in school (place out of Utah Valley) that I acted differently around people who weren't white - most likely due to me growing up where in my high school there was only one black kid (his name was Clarence, and I was intimidated by him).

Anyway, I loved your post; however, I don't agree with Utah Valley slamming (see other comments). This, because I know that in slamming a place they are really slamming the people who live here. Isn't that just another form of hate? United not divided people!

Jackson said...

Thanks guys for the thoughts! Im glad Im not the only one that notices.