I’ve been thinking about this for awhile. And by awhile I mean for about the last 20 years of my life or so. There is this Given that is taken for granted here in this country of America that I want to now speak on and take a very close look at.
The hate part of racism.
I know that there is also fear and ignorance in the mix as well. That, I can understand better. If I had happened to be raised in a family that was entirely made up of Black people, all my relatives were Black, the neighborhood and community, the schools and places of work were all Black and the only “contact” I ever had with anyone that didn’t look like I did was from television, movies and the media – I might have some fear and ignorance about those people.
If I was told things about how violent those white people are, that I needed to watch out for them, that they were responsible for most of the crime and bad things in this country – I’d have a high level of fear coupled with ignorance if I ever had to be around or deal with whites.
I would further have to go out of my comfort zone and confront my fear if I ever hoped – or even wanted – to assuage my ignorance and get to know that white people weren’t scary, dangerous animals.
Yeah, I flipped the script a bit to make a point. But onward.
That white people in this country don’t want to, or don’t make the attempt to find out for themselves anything different than what they have been taught, and/or what society has taught them about Black people is understandable. First on the basic human front. For anyone to make huge personal paradigm shifts in their life, well, that isn’t a common thing.
Second, there isn’t any specific need for them to understand and get to know about anyone or anything that is different from them. They are members of the people that have the power in this country, and whether they realize it or not, they benefit from white privilege and the endemic racism in this country. Their lives will not depend on having to know about My People.
Ok. So lack of interest in Black people, no inherent need for interaction or understanding, lots of fear and ignorance. I can live with that. And basically I have had to all of my life. Often life threatening, but for the most part dealable. Those things also create hardships, and unbalanced fields of play, and are part and parcel of the ingrained and institutionalized system of racism in this country. I have lived with that, and dealt with that all my life too.
But then comes the hate. I’m not sure where that comes from, or why it exists. Like I said, I’ve been exploring this for some time now, and I’ve come up with some theories. But still there are questions.
If we explore the emotion hate for a minute, I could say that maybe hate can stem from anger. If you are angry at someone for something they’ve done to you, hate can soon become a part of the mix.
What have I done or what have Black people done to engender the hate? Hate that makes people want to lynch us from trees, set fire to our churches, and shoot us down like dogs in the street. A lot of times we are told to “go back to Africa.”
Lets explore that last bit for a minute. My great great great+ grandmother didn’t ask to be taken from her Motherland and brought to this country to be sold into slavery. So now we are a problem to be solved. We had worth when we were property and our free labor was used to build the foundations of this country. Now we are hated and feared. Hated because we have no value? Cannot be owned anymore? I dunno, what?
Some countries in Africa, primarily Ghana have acknowledged their role in the trans Atlantic slave trade. They have offered apologies and have national programs set up for people like me to “Come Home” and visit the land of our heritage, and receive those apologies in person.
I have even heard of individual Ghanaians giving free land and resources to African-Americans who wish to live there. This is about a nation of people who wanted to have their country own up to atrocities of the past, and have concrete systems of healing, education and communication in place to keep the dialogue going.
Just to note, I’ve never been about reparations and apologies. I like that Ghana and other former slave trading African nations have been able to come to terms with their history. I think that is a good thing. However, I neither expect it, or work towards it. The 2008 formal apology from the US Government for slavery and Jim Crow was interesting, but meh. No systems of dialogue or healing or communication were put in place to back up that piece of paper.
But really, I’m happy to Ditch Out of Dodge. Hand me my plane ticket and I’ll Go Back To Africa and kick it on the Ghanaian coast in my beach house.
But seriously. Are you angry at us because we won’t/can’t leave the country? Hate us for it? Why not go back to England, or Europe or wherever your ancestors are from? If you are not an indigenous American, then hush with all the Go Back To Wherever nonsense.
So here we are, a population of descendants of ex-slaves. The first thing we did with our freedom was rise up and kill all the white people and take revenge for enslaving us. No? Ok then what? I’m trying to find historical reasons for the hate kicking in. You had to now pay us for our labor? That would miff me out a tad, I’m sure. And that miffdom would stick on down through the centuries and generations and-No? Ok then what?
Maybe its not hate stemming from anger. Maybe it is hate stemming from resentment. There have been nearly 150 years for white Americans to get over any resentments of having to now be on equal footing with people who used to be considered animals, 3/5ths of a person, your chattel, your slaves, your property. Maybe you need more time?
I don’t understand the frothing at the mouth hatred, the desire to snuff out my life with bare hands, a gun, a knife, a rope. Hey, I’m just walking down the damn street minding my own business and you want me dead and gone and erased. Where does that kind of hate come from?
Anti racist educator Tim Wise has written and spoken about the effects of racism, the hatred, in this country quite often. He speaks about the effect it has had and continues to have on white America. Nobody wants to talk about that. But he does. Because it is a real thing. He likens it to a pathology, a sickness that will and does have deleterious consequences if not addressed.
Ok maybe the hate comes from the fear and ignorance I mentioned before. Human beings tend to fear the unknown. You may come to hate that which makes you afraid, because being afraid and living in fear is not a happy or comfortable place to exist in.
However, that state of fear you exist in is preventable.
I am not responsible for you being afraid of me.
You could reach out and gain knowledge and understanding you need to end your ignorance and end your fear. End the pathways that lead to the hate.
Or maybe there isn’t any explanation, or reason, or answer to my question
Why All The Hate?