By now you’ve probably seen the viral video of the racist white woman going ballistic in a parking lot in Cheektowaga, New York (about 300 miles from Manhattan) for nearly four straight minutes, shouting the N-word at a black man in his car because, she says, he had frightened her two young children by, he says, starting his car.
I hadn’t, but I looked it up. Enjoy an idiot acting like an idiot:
Are there racist idiots like that in this country? You betcha. So what?
If you are white, I ask you to imagine for one minute, how you would feel if you were minding your own business, starting up your car in a parking lot when suddenly a stranger starts screaming in your face and repeatedly calling you a name that in this society is synonymous with utter human worthlessness. A word that evokes a cultural ancestry that was shackled, raped, beaten, kicked, lynched and spit upon every single day.
I know you can try to imagine it, but you can’t actually imagine it because it will never, ever happen to you. How could your imagination access such a thing? To be honest, though, I’m less interested in white people trying to imagine what it feels like to be vulnerable to racism or to experience racism, so much as I am interested in white people making a concerted effort at deference to our authority on the matter.
This is the goal of many of the grievance mongers: to get you to agree that, if you’re white, you don’t have a right to an opinion on racial issues. They are
a cop black, and you WILL respect their authoritah!
But complete “deference” to Rebecca Carroll’s “authority” on all racial matters becomes difficult in the next paragraph:
Because your liberalism is not empathic, it’s politic. Your belief that racism is bad is not a gamechanger for us. Your self-serving magnanimity regarding those other white people who had slaves 100 years ago does not endear you to those of us black people who were not slaves but continue to live within the confines of and be punished by the systemic racism that found its nascent stronghold in the institution of slavery.
I’m . . . pretty sure Americans didn’t own slaves “100 years ago.” Imagine the shock Ms. Carroll will experience in December 2015, when newspapers around the country announce the 150th anniversary of the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery.
At this point it seems relevant to note some salient publicly available facts about Carroll’s life that suggest that, just maybe, it has not been one giant long slog of constant and unbearable racism at every turn.
I grew up in rural New Hampshire, as an adopted child in a white family. . . . Although my son is mixed and light-skinned, I subscribe to the Halle Berry, “one drop” rule: I’m black, so he’s black. My white husband doesn’t give me a hard time about this. I should also note here that my husband, a sociology professor who specializes in race and social policy . . .
Well of course he does. More:
In an effort to meet both our criteria, we enrolled in the Early Steps program, a New York City-based nonprofit organization that helps to place children of color in independent private schools.
Carroll is a graduate of Hampshire College and the University of New Hampshire, and apparently managed to get degrees from these institutions despite having no clue when slavery ended.
So, I will respect Ms. Carroll’s authoritah concerning the fact that sometimes she thinks people are being racist to her and it hurts her feelings . . . if she will respect my authoritah concerning certain objective facts, such as:
- This society is not so pervasively racist that it prevented white people from adopting her.
- This society is not so pervasively racist that it prevented a white man from marrying her.
- She has access to a program that will help her child get into a private school because of the color of his skin.
- Slavery ended in this country way more than 100 years ago.
I agree with Ms. Carroll that racism still exists in this country. The attitude of the white woman in the clip above is sickening (even if, as appears possible, she was provoked to some degree) and, while such behavior is rare, it is certainly not unheard of.
I would remind Ms. Carroll that some of that racism in this country comes from black people. I’m not interested in Ms. Carroll’s inevitable dismissal of this so much as I am interested in her making a concerted effort at deference to my authority on the matter.
I would also like to remind Ms. Carroll that many incidents in this country that are alleged to be instances of white on black racism turn out to be hoaxes. From Tawana Brawley to nooses at Columbia to the Oberlin racism hoax of 2013 and the Grand Valley State University racist dorm door — the whole “When We Black People Say Racism Is Real, Please Believe Us” thing gets a little tough when so many black people who say racism is real . . . turn out to be lying about their particular experiences.
It’s obviously a fruitless exercise to try to persuade someone who makes their living magnifying racial grievances that racism is not the greatest problem facing black America these days. A hint of what is can be found in Ms. Carroll’s piece about finding a school for her son:
At one school I visited on the Lower East Side of Manhattan, a group of black teenage boys stood outside, shouting back and forth at each other, “What up, nigga?!” My son would likely feel more isolated at that school than he would at an all-white school.
Well, good. Good for him, and good for you. But please recognize that the horror of that school is not created by white people, but by a culture primarily enabled by Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society, in which mothers marry a government rather than a man, and positive male role models are nowhere to be found.
If you want to help eradicate the problems that black people face in this country, stop whining about your relatively privileged life, and start talking about that.