Racism: The BIG FOUR (Part 1)

“After last night’s discussion, I did a lot of thinking about what people “Perceive” a racist conversation to be. A racist comment and how they can be confused by what is and isn’t racist. I came up with a pretty long list but there are four that I would like to discuss today.

The Racist Conversation. This is blatant. This is what everyone thinks racism is. This is a white person calling a Black person a nigger. This is a KKK member. This is, bodies swinging from trees. This is what people who will site the Dictionary definition of “Racism” believe racism is. A Physical. The conversation will be about the physical thing that happened. There will likely be some sort of symbol if it is not about a physical action. The Nazi version of a Swastika or a Black man being hung, would be two topics that would fall into this category.

The Racial Conversation. This is a conversation where the racism seems evident but there is little to no “Racist Language.” The Trayvon Martin situation would fall into this category. Yes, there is a possible recording of the murderer using a racial slur but that is easily dismissed. With the exception of that one possible slur, the racist tones are technically “Alleged.” This can get tricky. The part of this that many won’t understand is that even when you are in this type of conversation and you are not talking specifically about the racial implications, it is still a racial conversation. Many will not be able to understand this and be caught in a situation where they are being looked at as racist. Usually, be it a misunderstanding or not, they are in fact acting in a racist way. (I’ll touch on this more in my next post)

The Systematic Racism in a Conversation. This is by far the most difficult for people to understand. The conversation can seemingly have absolutely nothing to do with race, race relations or racism of any kind. Yet, still have a systematic racist presence in the conversation. This manifests in a few different ways. One of the most common is the treatment of the speaker. No matter the subject, when a white person’s words are held in higher regard than that of a person of color, it is because of systematic racism. It wouldn’t matter that you were talking about flower arrangements. It is a matter of treatment within the conversation. This, I believe, is where people who are racist and people who are working on not being racist (but aren’t quite there yet) get the most tripped up. (This one will take much more explaining so I will be adding more explanations and examples in my next post)

The Combination. Although I believe the above to be the most difficult to understand, I believe “The Combination” to be the most vile, oppressive and to do the most damage. This is where you add “Systematic Racism” and either of the other two options in one conversation. We see this daily. This is where you are in a conversation that is somewhat racially charged. Not necessarily blatant but usually something where there will be a group of people talking about their own experiences within that group. Someone from outside said group will show up to say something that has no place in the conversation. Usually something like “We’re not all like that” or even worse, “Group X goes through things too. It’s not just you.” This is damaging for several reasons.

I’ll go further into this in the next post but for now, I’ll give you an example. Group A consists of four people. Group B consists of one person. Group A is talking about their lives as it pertains to being in Group A. Group B walks in the door, hears the conversation and says “Group B goes through that too. It’s not just Group A that has to deal with that.”

In this single comment, you have taken away a safe place, made your single voice more important than that of the entire group, changed the topic from a group discussion to a discussion of you, made the pain/concern of the entire group less important than your interest in hearing your own voice and you have basically changed the coarse of the entire topic for the sole purpose of making yourself the center of attention. This is a heartless action. Even when done by “Accident” it is cruel. **I’ll address the arguments that come from this in the next post as well.”

Re-blogged from – http://racismschool.tumblr.com/post/19969563592/the-big-four


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