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Sat Jun 13, 2020, 11:51 AM

"You can only be one of two things ― a credit to the race or a disgrace to the race.'"

This is a quote from an article posted over at Huff Post. I am including the link address here for those who wish to reference it.

Full disclosure: I haven't even read it yet. And here I am critiquing it based on that one quote. . .Actually, what I am critiquing is the reality behind the idea expressed in that one quote.

Definitions and explanations of white privilege abound these days and mine goes like this. How often are white people and their actions examined as to whether they are a credit or disgrace to "the race"?"

White people are treated like human beings and individuals--in most situations. I am not going to pretend that I don't believe that there are specific instances where other people of different backgrounds haven't done "a lump job" and ascribed an attitude or action to a white person just because they were white. People--and I do mean all people-- are often not very observant and quick to judge. There is a growing collection of studies on the diminishing value of "eyewitness accounts" in legal cases and other areas of life. (Thank goodness for cell phone cameras.)

It has been my experience that people in general--and some angry, narrow-minded white people that I know in particular--cannot take the broad or liberal view when it comes to anyone outside their core group.

A few years ago, the video clip of beheading by some extremists of the Muslim variety was the big news of the day. A family member who watched a lot of Fox news but never went to church and happened to be "living in sin" declared loudly to me that "Christianity is under attack in this country."

I sighed and told him that was not so. His comeback--after a few other heated statements on both sides--was that I wouldn't be saying that when some Muslim took my head off with a sword. (This comment was enriched with the addition of a broad swinging arm movement with an imaginary sword in hand.)

This family member has probably never had any real conversation with an actual Muslim. This family member was also ignoring the latest news stories about the recent mass shooting by a white guy at a random public location. I wanted to point out that I was more likely to be killed at the Walmart up the road than a robe-swathed Muslim carrying a scimitar, but this family member had stronger lungs and the ability to throw my virtually penniless self out on the streets at the time, so I didn't.

Whoops, this is beginning to be about me, but I can turn this thing around. This family member person is obviously a member of the same race and I am and yet we are very different people. Depending on whether you agree with my point of view or not, I could be either a credit or a disgrace to my race. But nobody talks about me like that.

Black people should be able to be as stupid and obstinate and uninformed and a host of other traits that I would attribute to TFM, (aka "This Family Member), without creating a major problem for the black people who are not stupid or obstinate or uninformed.

Nobody should have to go around feeling as though the moment they are anything less than perfect then they are letting down everyone else who looks like them. And they definitely shouldn't have to worry about the police being called on them and possibly being killed by those police when they are out and about doing ordinary things.

Years ago, I read a comment by some white news personality about a young black woman whose accomplishments were in the news. "She's a credit to her race", he said, "the Human Race."

That is how it should be, of course, but it is not. White privilege is about being an insufferable asshole and being called--at worse--an insufferable asshole. The list of consequences for a black person acting the same way varies considerably. The consequences for black people doing pretty much anything are always more serious.

I had enough stress living in a house where I had to keep my mouth shut and was judged intensely for the smallest slip-up or miscalculation in behavior. I cannot imagine what it is like to live in a world where the power structure at large is ready to pounce on anything that you do or say and make your life miserable--or take it away entirely.

"Black Live Matter"doesn't mean that your life doesn't matter, TFM. It means that you survived your encounters with the police when you did dumb stuff as a kid because the cops already knew that your life mattered. But apparently, they have to be reminded of that fact when they encounter an equally stupid black kid, or even an innocuous black person of any kind doing pretty much any kind of anything.

Shit. I'm getting mad just thinking about it--and I'm not black. And if a black person expresses their anger, they shouldn't have to worry about frightening "the white folk" and making their whole group look scary.

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