Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


(73,631 posts)
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:03 PM Feb 2019

As a black man living in America (A nice, long essay)...

l've decided a long time ago that I needed to accept that, with a reasonably high degree of probability, any particular white person living in this country may have said or done some racist BS during their lifetime.

After all, this country was built on white supremacy. The stage has been set a long time ago to condition people living here to facilitate and perpetuate white racism, whether we realize it or not.

I had to take this position as a simple psychic defense mechanism. Because, I really can't afford to blow my top at every instance I come across of some white person acting a racist fool. Instead, I've decided to dispassionately assess these situations and the overall environment in which they exist. I'm much more comfortable with analyzing things than emotionally reacting to them. That's just me, and I understand that most other people simply won't choose to take that approach.

Yep, I'm just weird that way.

Since nothing happens in a vacuum, white racist bullshit happens for various reasons...

Of course, one has to take into consideration, without making excuses, all the mitigating factors of upbringing, exposure to negative reinforcement against people of color, lack of self-awareness, basic apathy towards anyone who isn't white, aggressive tendencies, resentment, stupidity and ignorance, lack of contact with anyone who isn't white like themselves... The factors are countless. We can be here all day discussing this.

The signs are always there. One just has to choose to look for them.

Considering how racist bullshit can crop up at any particular time, I've observed that most white people in this country just aren't emotionally, socially or intellectually prepared to fundamentally invest in a life of anti-white supremacy. It's just not their struggle and it's easier many times to choose the path of least resistance, which consists of ignoring and whitesplaining white supremacy, instead of being on the frontlines of fighting against it.

And I didn't just pull that out of my own ass, I relied on white activists and researchers, such as Dr. Robin DeAngelo and Jane Elliot, who have taken the time and effort to painstakingly understand and document how other white people like themselves could be actively and passively white supremacist and not even know what the fuck they're doing. Much of it required an active level of self-discovery, some of it to their own dismay.

If you find yourself engaging and benefiting from white supremacy without your own consent, that can really be a wake up call, if you know what to look for.

I will say that in the last 12 years, we’ve also had a tremendous opportunity to educate the general population on how white supremacy works. And that was due to having a black president during the time. There's also the double-edged of sword social media and discussion. There really is no excuse to be ignorant about this stuff, unless one chooses to be willingly ignorant. Unfortunately, it can also make the already racist even more supported and dangerous through networking.

I have to point out that too many white people mistakenly conflate so-called “bad” people with racists. Although, self-declared white supremacists are invariably pieces of human shit, “good” whites can and do say racist things as well without even knowing it. The good/bad dichotomy doesn't accurately assess which white people will say and do racist things or not. That, in itself, causes a lot of conflict and controversy.

Thus I've resigned to the realization that, as far as whenever white people are involved, that racist bullshit could happen at any time, whether they realize it or not. I don't always expect to happen, I just don't expect it to NOT happen.

For most white people to really understand what is or is not racist (white supremacist), they'd have to choose to be self-aware enough to see how merely being white fits inside the whole picture, whether they agree with it or not. As I said, a lot of well-meaning white folks lack the utter capacity to navigate this maze, thus we constantly end up with white supremacy WITHOUT white supremacists. I'm not saying that all white people will knee jerk their way into denying that any particular speech or action is, in fact racist when it actually is... But we've all seen it happen, especially with white people who lack the basic frame of reference.

So what IS "Racism?"

In a nutshell, racism in America is systematic white supremacy. The most important thing to remember is that racism and white supremacy are part of the fabric of America, because it centers and normalizes whiteness, creating a standard that’s impossible for non-whites to achieve. How else do we end up in scenarios where black women get fired for merely wearing natural hair styles?

Racism in America is a problem that’s primarily of, by and for white people. It's not something that non-whites will ever have as a cudgel to use against whites. "Black supremacy" isn't a real thing that holds whites under the subjugation and repression of our whims. No white person in America will ever lose their job for failing to maintain standards of appearance that are based on black people.

Whenever white victimhood rears its ugly head, and butt hurt white people accuse black people of being "racist" against whites... There's no way in hell that these people can prove how that can even happen. They're simply applying a frame of reference that's exclusively relegated to white existence in America TO black people. Black people are not the beneficiaries of white normality in America and too many white people cannot conceive of that simple concept.

It also goes into why "color blindness" is problematic, but I digress here.

Racism is not going to go away until whites in general stop actively and passively facilitating white supremacy. One way to do that is to stop promoting white mediocrity above everything else. For example, if we used the exact same criteria for electing Barack Obama to Donald Trump, Trump wouldn't even have been considered a viable PRIMARY candidate. But, due to the fact that Trump benefitted from the automatic promotion of white mediocrity ABOVE anything that's non-white, that incompetent and corrupt motherfucker is now sitting in the White House.

Black people pretty much ALL know WHY he's there... He's there simply because white people voted for him. In all demographics he won the white vote in the last election. Unfortunately, a lot of white people who didn't vote for him have a hard time reconciling the fact of WHY Trump wast elected: For the most part, by being the white power candidate in the aftermath of that black guy from Kenya.

The conditions to exploit white supremacist sentiments and resentment and anger were all hanging out there, and Trump rode that pony into the White House, to everyone's detriment.

The most aggravating thing about this is that those feelings of resentment and anger were exacerbated from years of policies that were aimed at repressing the poor, the working class and non-whites. Over the years, whites too have been swept under the same rug with the rest of us.

Which has verified to me that, in America, white supremacy is the core reason for why we all can't have nice things.

Regarding Gov. Ralph Northam.

Now, I wasn't one of those people who immediately declared that he should resign because of what he did 35 years ago. I'm of the mind that Northam missed a real opportunity here. He's disappointingly dropped the ball with his mealy mouthed apology and declaration to NOT resign. It's quite clear to see why he shouldn't have been giving the benefit of the doubt.

What I would liked to have seen from him:

1. That he'd admit to his racist actions early on.

2. Say that they were wrong for any time, including 35 years ago.

3. Declare that he’s a bad example, a warning that other whites should learn from. However...

4. In begging for forgiveness, validate his self-awareness by deferring to the will of the state's electorate.

Instead, he's acting like an entitled asshole and is now an unnecessary political liability for Virginia Democrats. Because of that, I don't think that this is over by a long shot and he just may end up out of office. It's looking like a good time for Virginia to have its SECOND black governor right about NOW.

Yay, team.

Lastly, black people are experts at pointing what's racist in this country and everyone should listen to us about this.

People of color and black people in particular will never stop calling for the end of white supremacy and racist ideology in this country. We have to do this because our basic survival depends on it. We have no choice other than to be unapologetically black in a country with standards for everything that are based on whiteness.

We will never try to be black & brown “white” people. We’re ourselves. Identity politics is a form of repression against us anyway.

All in all, racism will continue to be a problem in America until white people FORCE other white people to get their shit together. That’s where the fight is. Listen to black people, but don’t patronize us. More often than not, we've already notice the racist BS before white people do. Basically, because we tend to be the targets.

I will say that once white people get it INTO their heads to stop making America a living hell for non-white people and the poor of all stripes, they'll come to realization that a rising tide raises ALL boats and thus, everyone will benefit.

Take care!

63 replies = new reply since forum marked as read
Highlight: NoneDon't highlight anything 5 newestHighlight 5 most recent replies
As a black man living in America (A nice, long essay)... (Original Post) MrScorpio Feb 2019 OP
Reading later underpants Feb 2019 #1
K&R EffieBlack Feb 2019 #2
K&R WhiskeyGrinder Feb 2019 #3
Kick and Rec! Anon-C Feb 2019 #4
k&r Soph0571 Feb 2019 #5
K&R Solly Mack Feb 2019 #6
Everyone should read this malaise Feb 2019 #7
Seconded... RHMerriman Feb 2019 #8
One of the most brilliant posts I've seen here in ages Glamrock Feb 2019 #9
I loved reading this MrGrieves Feb 2019 #10
This is excellent. spicysista Feb 2019 #11
Kick and rec NRaleighLiberal Feb 2019 #12
K&R TDale313 Feb 2019 #13
K&R smirkymonkey Feb 2019 #14
K&R. Thank you, perfectly expressed. Rhiannon12866 Feb 2019 #15
Recommended. panader0 Feb 2019 #16
Good essay. Chemisse Feb 2019 #17
If only jayddrew Feb 2019 #57
"Black people are not the beneficiaries of white normality in America " lindysalsagal Feb 2019 #18
Yes, women get it too. greymattermom Feb 2019 #48
k&r MaryMagdaline Feb 2019 #19
Thanks for the insight. Nitram Feb 2019 #20
K&R Scurrilous Feb 2019 #21
Different side of the Racist Coin Roy Rolling Feb 2019 #22
I read it otherwise... KSNY Feb 2019 #24
K & R mountain grammy Feb 2019 #23
Thank you KSNY Feb 2019 #25
You have us to a T wryter2000 Feb 2019 #26
Wonderful essay. my friend. annabanana Feb 2019 #27
This post should be read and internalized. GaYellowDawg Feb 2019 #28
MrScorpio, thanks for your thoughtful essay. FuzzyRabbit Feb 2019 #29
Thank you for a really excellent essay. PatrickforO Feb 2019 #30
You said so many things so very well Mr. Scorpio, this stuck out for me: yonder Feb 2019 #31
Thank you, MrScorpio, excellent as always. I lost my sh*t there yesterday & I am sorry... Hekate Feb 2019 #32
Excellent Post! kooth Feb 2019 #33
This brought tears to my eyes. Dem2theMax Feb 2019 #34
This! mcar Feb 2019 #35
Thank you. K&R tomg Feb 2019 #36
K&R ismnotwasm Feb 2019 #37
How can white people force other white people to get their shit together? oberliner Feb 2019 #38
Maybe by refusing to accept the normalization of their racism ? Haggis for Breakfast Feb 2019 #45
yes, these are good strategies... Trueblue Texan Feb 2019 #49
friendly correction happy feet Feb 2019 #63
Beautiful. I'm about to read it again. Thank you. defacto7 Feb 2019 #39
Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Coventina Feb 2019 #40
Simply outstanding. recovering_democrat Feb 2019 #41
DU has had some really good post this week on a variety of stuff. yours is at the top. Kurt V. Feb 2019 #42
k&r bigtree Feb 2019 #43
Thanks grantcart Feb 2019 #44
K&R & thanks. nt tblue37 Feb 2019 #46
Hear hear! BumRushDaShow Feb 2019 #47
Thank you. ananda Feb 2019 #50
Brilliant essay, you saidsimplesimon Feb 2019 #51
👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾 BlancheSplanchnik Feb 2019 #52
This White Male agrees... fascisthunter Feb 2019 #53
Thanks for that. aikoaiko Feb 2019 #54
In all the years I've been on DU dobleremolque Feb 2019 #55
Great essay. Bookmarked. n/t MicaelS Feb 2019 #56
There are many times I hate DU DonCoquixote Feb 2019 #58
Thanks for this. I have tried very hard to avoid racism my whole life greymattermom Feb 2019 #59
Nice, bruh! Dr Rise Feb 2019 #60
Thank You bobnicewander Feb 2019 #61
K&R geardaddy Feb 2019 #62


(1,376 posts)
8. Seconded...
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:14 PM
Feb 2019

Well said.

Northam has no excuse, today or in 1984. He should simply resign.

I am sure Gov. Fairfax will do an excellent job for his state and all Virginians.


(11,808 posts)
9. One of the most brilliant posts I've seen here in ages
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:21 PM
Feb 2019

And that's saying something. Thanks for it. That's why I'm here. To learn. You didn't disappoint.



(315 posts)
10. I loved reading this
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:25 PM
Feb 2019

I love this and would love to share it elsewhere with accreditation if I may have permission.

A straight white male I continually try to actively pursue self awareness and discovery. Thank you for your piece.

Edit to add that we do need to force other people to change and that starts with being comfortable telling people that we are not ok with there behaviors. The racist jokes, the inuendo, and being open when other people point out to us that we are wrong.


(1,663 posts)
11. This is excellent.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:25 PM
Feb 2019

A few videos of Dr. Robin DeAngelo for anyone who would like to hear her perspective....

Jane Elliot

Tim Wise is pretty good, too.


(30,844 posts)
17. Good essay.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:47 PM
Feb 2019

I've never considered myself racist (I'm white), and I was actively anti-racism in my youth. But I did spend many years after that being 'passive' about it, raising my family and trying to get by financially. I still held strong opinions on many topics now considered left-wing, and would never allow a racist comment to pass by me unchallenged, but that's as far as it went. I had no energy left for activism.

Now my kids are grown and I am old, still working, and tired. I am angry about the way Obama was treated, I am angry about the surge of unleashed racism and I am burning with a white-hot rage that blacks are being killed by cops - all the time and with zero repercussions.

But I only have so much energy. I can write, I can post, I can model acceptance of all races of students in my very diverse high school classes and among the staff, and I can vote. It may seem passive, but I think every little tiny bit can help.

Thanks for provoking thought.


(12 posts)
57. If only
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 04:37 PM
Feb 2019

If only the average person of any race did a tenth of what you have or thought a 10th as much, the world world would be a much better place.
By doing a little, teaching your children and calling it out when you have seen it, you have done much more than most, sir. Gosh, if people would just get off their butts and vote, we could do so much more.
Thanks to you, too, in addition to the author.


(20,977 posts)
18. "Black people are not the beneficiaries of white normality in America "
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 03:49 PM
Feb 2019

"They're simply applying a frame of reference that's exclusively relegated to white existence in America TO black people. Black people are not the beneficiaries of white normality in America and too many white people cannot conceive of that simple concept. "

Whites, including myself, take our default status of "I'll always get my seat at the table" for granted.

However, being female does mean I do understand that people of privilege lack the self-awareness to see their own privilege. I've been shut up, ignored, sidelined, overlooked and all kinds of diminished just for being "Not male." So, I get it. I really do.


(5,756 posts)
48. Yes, women get it too.
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 09:02 AM
Feb 2019

It's not the same, but we get the looks and our ideas are adopted when a man restates them. My field used to be dominated by men, but now the few jobs that are open are paid much less and the prestige is gone, so women are doing them. The job? Brain research and medical school teaching.

Roy Rolling

(6,982 posts)
22. Different side of the Racist Coin
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 04:07 PM
Feb 2019
"I will say that once white people get it INTO their heads to stop making America a living hell for non-white people and the poor of all stripes"

Sure, we white people sure does all think and look alike.

Those statements spit in the face of those whites who lived during the Civil rights struggles of the 1960s and were insulted then because of it. But my complaint isn't about being insulted, it isn't about me at all. I don't regret, I knew what I signed up for--even in High School.

My complaint is that the sons and daughters of those who marched and championed minority rights have forgotten both whites and black stood shoulder-to-shoulder for what's right.

For what's MORAL AND RIGHT, not because of the color of people's skins.

So pointing out that some white people are also making the same mistake does not benefit anyone. And it harms those who once suffered ridicule for supporting what's right "outside of their own race" when it came time to stand up and be counted.


(315 posts)
24. I read it otherwise...
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 04:58 PM
Feb 2019

This essay raises some important ideas and issues.
In the context of the essay, the sentence you quoted does not offend me as white person in the U.S., because each and every white person in the U.S. benefits to a greater or lesser extent from white privilege.

The sons and daughters of white people who marched and championed minority rights took blows and some were killed, but white privilege is an ongoing phenomenon that still exists.

The questions are : how do white people use this privilege and how do we work to dismantle it?
This won't happen by attending a march or by voting (although that is important sometimes), but by a long-term, concerted effort among white people to notice, react (if possible), and try to educate our fellow white people whenever (even when in an all-white gathering) we encounter racist practices.

Not every black person will express gratitude for our presence in anti-racist marches or for our work to dismantle white privilege, but then again, we shouldn't expect that, if we are doing it because it is MORAL AND RIGHT.

If Northam was at a party where attendees were wearing Klan outfits and blackface, then he should have told the offenders that their costumes were offensive and left the party. If not, then there is a problem.

White privilege is invisible. We need to make it visible. Trump is the poster child for white privilege in this country.


(46,355 posts)
26. You have us to a T
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 05:09 PM
Feb 2019

I guess out of self defense, POC have to understand white people. I only hope people here who are defending Northam read this. Maybe the message will finally get through.


(52,791 posts)
27. Wonderful essay. my friend.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 05:18 PM
Feb 2019

As one resoundingly born on 3rd, I try very hard to recognize those times where my old white ass "skates" where someone else's ass gets caught in a vise.


(4,457 posts)
28. This post should be read and internalized.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 05:37 PM
Feb 2019

All of it is important, but the last point is particularly crucial. MrScorpio, I don’t have any way to step into your shoes. The only thing I can do is listen. It was a shock for me to realize that not everyone had the same experience of the world that I do. I have tried to explain white male privilege as, women and anyone who’s not white has to deal with a whole lot of shit that I don’t. But not having to deal with it makes me blind to it. My only realistic option is to listen.

The day that anyone who isn’t white, male, and straight can point to me and say, “he has no more privilege than me” will be the first day I think it’s true. It’s just not a judgement I can make without someone else’s perspective.


(14,640 posts)
30. Thank you for a really excellent essay.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 06:00 PM
Feb 2019

I'm struck by your last sentence. I've been poor - teetered on the brink of bankruptcy for nearly a decade, and that was a living hell.

I'm a white male, and that isn't hell, and I have been working to get it into my head to stop America from being a living hell.

The answer that comes to mind (I am an economist) is to get rid of the primacy of the shareholder doctrine, because it is what has allowed the degradation of the earth, unions to be busted, the demonization of the poor and of minorities. Capitalism just sucks. I'm not saying business sucks, and I'm not saying hard work sucks. I'm saying the primacy of the shareholder must be expanded to include the welfare of working people, consumers and the environment.

But then, that's only part of it. That will solve a hell of a lot of problems, but not all. Not the seeming open season on black kids where cops are shooting them right and left and then covering it up. My answer to that as a white guy is to stop turning away and speak out against it. I've done that, and it does not go very well most of the time. You're right about that 'getting the head around' concept. Most white people I've spoken to don't want anything to do with even being exposed to the concept of white privilege, and when it comes to black people getting shot by cops and black lives matter, they don't even want to acknowledge that.

What about me, you ask? Or maybe you don't. But I'll tell you that I have very strong inhibitions ingrained in me from a very early age against the whole concept of a social justice that includes brown skinned people. There. I've said it. And it is true. Will I ever be able to look at the suffering of brown-skinned people in this country in an up close and personal way instead of just blabbing on about how bad it all is but keeping the whole thing at arm's length? I don't know. I try.

Now, getting rid of prison industries would be good, and DE-privatizing prisons would also be good, because then you'd remove the incentive to lock up minorities in disproportionate numbers.

Voting rights would be really good - this new legislation Pelosi's House has passed, now that is a good thing. Like Warren's Accountable Capitalism Act, it will die until we vote these corrupt assholes out of office.

That thing about white mediocrity and how Obama was held to a whole different standard than Trump is true and I think a lot of white people are now getting that. But, you know, a lot of us did NOT vote for Trump and really despise him.

This is a really painful time. But you know what? I'll bet our next president is brown-skinned, and that will be good for white America, because the more I speak to, and get to know people of color, the less likely I am to engage in what you call 'racist bullshit.' Because I'm thinking about it, you know?

I'm liking Harris and Booker both.


(9,717 posts)
31. You said so many things so very well Mr. Scorpio, this stuck out for me:
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 06:04 PM
Feb 2019

"Black people are not the beneficiaries of white normality in America and too many white people cannot conceive of that simple concept."

Thank you for this excellent OP.


(91,581 posts)
32. Thank you, MrScorpio, excellent as always. I lost my sh*t there yesterday & I am sorry...
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 06:16 PM
Feb 2019

There is no excuse for his youthful idiocy: it was wrong then and it was wrong before he was born, and he surely was not a child when that yearbook page was put together.

I never thought I would be as ashamed of my country as I am during these years of Trump, for every conceivable reason.

So why did I lose it? Because the Big Reveal about this *hole was the third one in a week where real (or imagined) wrongdoing by Democratic officeholders was shown to have been exposed by Right Wingers -- not the press.

It was the pattern that sent me over the edge: RW exposes Dem behavior then Democrats eat their own practically immediately, to the great amusement of the RW.

So, to anyone who reads this: I am sorry. I was not defending this governor.


(220 posts)
33. Excellent Post!
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 06:32 PM
Feb 2019

This post is one of the most on-point explanations of American racism and white privilege I have ever had the pleasure to read! After more inward reflection, I'm going to re-post this far and wide!

Wake up, white America! #GetOverBeingWhite!


(9,704 posts)
34. This brought tears to my eyes.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 07:12 PM
Feb 2019

I am a white female, who was luckily raised by two parents who taught us that we are all equal. No exceptions.

I can remember the first time I saw a photo of 'whites only, and blacks only' water fountains. I couldn't understand how people could do that to one another. And that was just the water fountain. I was a child, but I knew what I was seeing was wrong.

I don't have the power of words that MrScorpio has.
I don't just have tears in my eyes. I am sitting here weeping. I can't understand how human beings can treat each other in such horrible ways, and with such hatred in their hearts and souls.

I don't understand how someone can see a photo from 35 years ago, and make excuses for it, because it was 35 YEARS AGO. 35 years ago, I was 27. And at 27 I knew that behavior was wrong. I also knew that when I was five years old.

After reading all of the posts on DU yesterday, mostly regarding Governor Northam, I sat and thought a lot about it last night. I thought about how hard EffieBlack was trying to get posters to understand where she was coming from. And here MrScorpio is doing the same thing. Trying to get white people to understand how hard it is to live in a country where you are not accepted, where are you are constantly discriminated against, if you are not white.

Being white, I will never be able to understand what you have had to go through. I can read your words, and try with all my might to gain some understanding of what your lives are like. And I am so grateful that you are taking the time to share with us so that we can gain more understanding of what it is like to be black in America.

Last night, after seeing so many people rushing to the defense of Governor Northam, I wondered if there is some moral code within us, something born into our natures, that helps some of us see what is truly right, and blinds others to the truth. Because I truly cannot understand how people can look at what is sitting right in front of them, and deny it is there.

Thank you MrScorpio, thank you EffieBlack, thank you to all of the DU'ers who keep educating us.

I keep hoping that humanity, the humanity of kindness and compassion will win out. That respect for one another will become the norm, rather than a moment here and there.


(42,656 posts)
35. This!
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 07:14 PM
Feb 2019
Lastly, black people are experts at pointing what's racist in this country and everyone should listen to us about this.

Haggis for Breakfast

(6,831 posts)
45. Maybe by refusing to accept the normalization of their racism ?
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 12:23 AM
Feb 2019

When some one white makes an offensive joke/racist comment, tell them you not only don't find it amusing, but that you are angry that they even think it's funny.

When some one white spouts one of the "dog whistle" remarks, like talking about welfare queens, "gangsta" rappers, or my personal (un)favorite: black on black crime, hit them with REALITY that this is nothing but code for "how whites are better people," and give them the facts that dispel these BS myths.

When some one white says "Oh, I can completely understand" what it is that Black people are suffering, ask them what it is that they think they understand.

When some one white complains that their white privilege didn't accord them what they thought they deserved, ask them why they think they deserved the entitlement they're bitching that they didn't get.

Does this get the ball rolling ?

Trueblue Texan

(2,475 posts)
49. yes, these are good strategies...
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 10:35 AM
Feb 2019

...I've been using some of these strategies for years and ohhhhhh I have made some people VERY uncomfortable with their racism! Of course, I'm white or I wouldn't be able to do this because worst racists typically don't show their true colors around people of color. But these strategies might make them a little more aware and a little less comfortable in their racism, less certain that all white people share their F-ed up values.

I also agree with Mr. Scorpio that even when we don't intend to be, racism still lurks within individuals (including me) socialized in a racist society like ours and it can be damn painful and shameful to observe and admit it. But growth is often painful and always uncomfortable. Still, there are millions of us who know it is time and want to evolve so that humanity can thrive.

I still think Northam should resign. He can continue contributing to the cause outside the current seat of power now and he is only hurting the cause now. It would be poetic justice for Virginia to have its first black governor now.


(27,289 posts)
40. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 08:31 PM
Feb 2019

I wish you could put this in the hands of every American.

We would be a better country for it.

41. Simply outstanding.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 08:37 PM
Feb 2019

As a Caucasian woman grew up in Georgia, but also very aware of how right you are because of who my friends (not acquaintances) gave me that knowledge, this message reply says those who dont know what you wrote, people he is so very right.

And for the author, I continue to remember and regret how many lies I told about our black maid when I was a small child just because I could not understand why her skin color was different from mine! You too deserve to know I sincerely regret it.

Kurt V.

(5,624 posts)
42. DU has had some really good post this week on a variety of stuff. yours is at the top.
Sat Feb 2, 2019, 09:51 PM
Feb 2019

i posted early on that northam should resign. i failed to explain why. so thank you.


(131,661 posts)
47. Hear hear!
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 06:52 AM
Feb 2019

And this part -

we've already notice the racist BS before white people do

This is a survival tactic taught to us by our parents and other relatives, our elders and other interested members of the communities in which we live. And it is especially useful if not mandatory when one is born and raised and lives in a completely homogeneous black community, and then decides to step outside of that community, eventually seeing a hard way to go if they ignored that teaching.

The interesting thing about social media is that early on in its existence, its anonymity often allowed cross-racial/cross-cultural interactions to happen without the visual/cultural "clues", which allowed for a certain amount of embrace of shared "humanity". But nowadays, with the young folk proudly using real names and real self-photos in their discourse - the perfect illustration of the phenomena of white supremacy often rears its head, as culturally-taught hierarchies suddenly manifest themselves (whether consciously or subconsciously) as a tool for how to assess and carry out further interactions.

It is a cultural caste system, defined by the majority, with an expectation that others are required to "know their place" and position themselves into their expected "role". And if you buck that system, all hell breaks loose - whether literally (physically) or figuratively (metaphorically).

Cultural hierarchies are something that humans have established from time immortal but how these hierarchies are defined and carried out varies from region to region (whether here in the U.S. or internationally).


(7,888 posts)
51. Brilliant essay, you
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 01:13 PM
Feb 2019

have defined the problem and offered suggestions to move forward. I thank you for sharing this.

We will never try to be black & brown “white” people. We’re ourselves. Identity politics is a form of repression against us anyway.

I will say that once white people get it INTO their heads to stop making America a living hell for non-white people and the poor of all stripes, they'll come to realization that a rising tide raises ALL boats and thus, everyone will benefit.


(20,219 posts)
52. 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 01:33 PM
Feb 2019

As an ally, I try to listen. I’ve always been an ally-type personality. I realized at some point that listening, as a white person, an abled person, a middle-class person, was the first thing.

Great analysis, Thankyou Mr. Scorpio!



(29,381 posts)
53. This White Male agrees...
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 03:03 PM
Feb 2019

My wife is Haitian, our daughter is mixed. I see it more now than ever. Well written MrScorpio.


(509 posts)
55. In all the years I've been on DU
Sun Feb 3, 2019, 03:25 PM
Feb 2019

this is the best, most important and most applicable thing I've ever read on this site.

I say this as a white male, 70+ years old, raised in the South, in a family that regularly used derogatory language to refer to people of color, in a community where I never interacted socially with any person of color until I was in my mid-20s.

My racism is baked in. Rooting it out is a lifelong task.

Example: A few days ago, when a vehicle driven by a black person cut me off in traffic the "N" word autonomically arose in my thoughts, but did not escape my lips. I immediately reproached myself for just having the thought.

That's progress, isn't it?


(13,616 posts)
58. There are many times I hate DU
Mon Feb 4, 2019, 09:19 AM
Feb 2019

But then essays like this remind me of what it could, should, and must be. Thank you and kudos!


(5,756 posts)
59. Thanks for this. I have tried very hard to avoid racism my whole life
Mon Feb 4, 2019, 10:24 AM
Feb 2019

because of my family history. On the one hand, my grandmother on one side was a KKK member, but, on the other hand, my father was raised by Clarence (Big House) Gaines' mother. Sometimes it wasn't easy, after I was mugged in West Philadelphia, but I was never afraid of black men in suits. Now I live in a city that is run by black women. If you saw the Super Bowl, you know that things will be ok.


(844 posts)
61. Thank You
Mon Feb 4, 2019, 02:53 PM
Feb 2019

Thank you.

I am a simple man who tries to do right by others. Please do not judge me too harshly because of my ignorance.

I grew up in a Wisconsin town of less than 5,000 people. There were no African American people in tht town and only 1 Hispanic family. All that I knew of people of color I got from Life, Look, and National enquirer magazines in the public library.

In high school I joined the forensic club and for my original 4 minute speech to present in competitions with other schools wrote on slavery and segregation. Someone liked it because I came within a whisker of making it to state competition. It was not until I joined the army that I got the chance to be around (talk with, drink with, and play poker with) people of color. Never having had any influence for or against people of other 'races' (I believe there is only 1 'race' on earth and we all belong to it) I never had reason to connect anything about them to their 'race'. And it has always been that way for me. I just go through life treating all I meet with respect until they give me reason not to.

I say "Hi" to people I meet walking down the street, have literally given the shirt off my back to someone, and the last penny I had to my name to feed somebody else. Love is all there is. We are all brothers and sisters and we need to love each other.


(24,982 posts)
62. K&R
Mon Feb 4, 2019, 04:54 PM
Feb 2019

Thank you for posting a great, thought-provoking essay. As a white man, I know I took for granted my white privilege for a long time and am more recently coming to terms with that and learning a different way. Thank you.

Latest Discussions»General Discussion»As a black man living in ...