by denying, diminishing, and downplaying the black experience, the realities of racism in America, and/or the necessity for continued racial discourse.
The only thing the civil rights movement of the 1960s accomplished was to bring an end to legal public segregation. This moral victory resulted in slow burning and continued resentment toward black people by racist whites who now found themselves closeted with their hatred. The decades which followed saw the deliberate destruction of the black family unit by the implementation of laws designed to facilitate the incarceration of black men.
Just because segregation per se is over never meant racism, or the need to address it, was gone. The very reluctance of individual whites to admit their privilege, and their resounding exacerbation at continued racial dialogue proves both that racism is still alive and white privilege is real.
They internalize history – the slave trade, slavery, Jim Crow, segregation, Reaganomics, Rodney King et al – and like hot West Indian spices to their delicate constitutions the word institutionalized causes their white privilege to flare up inside them. Immediately, police brutality and the prison industrial complex and the double standards of beauty and fashion, every single iota of racism in every single element of culture within American society becomes secondary to the threat of loss of an individual white person’s white privilege.
The exact same white privilege they will vehemently deny has ever benefited them is the first tool they attempt to exercise when dismissing talks on racism. The implication here is that a particular subject (racism) discomforts and upsets an individual white person and should no longer be addressed because individual white person deems it invalid. The expectation that this desire be honored lies solely on the basis that it’s held by an individual white person, exercising their invisibility cloak of inherent rightness – also known as White Privilege.
To the same defensive individual white person – who enacts their privilege by denying it, expecting theirs to be the last word on the subject – a black person who supports #BlackLivesMatter, who calls for more accountability of police officers and less murdering of innocent blacks in police custody, is guilty of race baiting. Defensive individual white people believe black people who point out racism are the problem because they always make everything about race.
Add to the defensive white person’s privilege disorder the implied default polarization of support for #BlackLivesMatter and respect for the police. As though recognizing the disparity between how police treat minorities and how they interact with whites automatically makes someone an anarchist with no respect for authority. As though identifying the basis of extreme police brutality against blacks as an accepted leftover from slavery and hundreds years old conditioning that darker skin and kinkier hair are the markers of a primal inferiority which must be controlled, means one can’t acknowledge that mentally and morally sound, non-racist, non-psychopath police men and women exist who actually want to serve and protect their communities, honor their families, neighbors, God and country.
The defensive individual white person loves to explain how to behave for optimal assimilation into American culture. I believe that they genuinely believe we all can live in a safe, undivided nation without stewing racial tension. The only trouble with that sort of hope is it represents a vision of the future which fails to openly examine the reality of our present.
When a white person tells a black person how to speak to police, “Always say, ‘Yes, officer.’ Be very polite, respectful. ‘Yes, officer. No, officer.’ Don’t ask too many questions,” they diminish the minority experience by attempting to reprogram another individual’s perception of respect. And despite their very best efforts at attempting to empathize with having a police encounter (saying a person has privilege doesn’t mean they never get stopped by the cops – though I imagine that secretly most defensive whites wish that much was true) here defensive whites further miss their mark.
If your addition to a nationwide discussion on culture, race, and police brutality – is “People need to respect the police,” you are effectively saying that anyone who questions an officer’s intentions, or exercises their civil liberties deserves whatever violence is enacted upon them. By saying “People need to respect the police,” you’re saying that refusing to be bullied and harassed by an officer of the law is a crime punishable by death. When the defensive individual white people who deny racism and white privilege say “People need to respect the police,” they are broadcasting a belief that non-violent black people who died in police custody deserved to die.
I don’t believe defensive individual whites want to be racist monsters and I don’t believe all defensive individual whites are racists or monsters. They are accessories after the fact. White people who refuse to acknowledge that racism in America is and has always been a one way street make themselves accessories to murder, assault, and any number of civil rights violations by civil servants which have gone unchecked over the last fifty years, at least – and definitely in the last 15 months.
When you willfully ignore the crimes of a system that flourishes on inequality and sidesteps injustice you share the guilt with the executors of that system. And when you willfully attempt to correct, deny, or diminish another human being’s life experience you are exerting a power over them to which you have no right. White Privilege isn’t actually real because white people aren’t actually right about everything in society, America, or the world. But when they pretend to be the authority on racism they accidentally demonstrate their proprietorship over the ugliest social dynamic in humanity.
White people invented White supremacy. They developed and worked hard to maintain – by way of murder and propaganda – a system that ranks them at the top of the world and exploits and discredits all other races at nearly every available opportunity. Whitesplaining is a perverse psychological defect of individual whites who can’t or simply don’t want to reconcile their comfortable lives with centuries of atrocities against others. It’s almost as though defensive white individuals whitesplain to make themselves feel less afraid of the racial dynamics which informed whites and fed up blacks are tired of ignoring. Whitesplaining is how white people ignore the elephant in the room while they feed it.