Saturday, May 9, 2015

Whites Don't Want to Know

To some people, the situation probably looks normal. After all, you don't expect an Armenian to feel sad because a Turk is in pain. A Protestant Irishman shouldn't be expected to feel for his Catholic neighbors. But, wait a minute. There never was a war between Black and White Americans.
The history shows White people treating African American people as if the latter were inferior. So now that some of us know that Black people are being targeted by our police it's having little impact. Most white people don't want to know that the fiction of racial harmony is a lie.
When I was a college professor, 30% of my students were African-American. They would tell me about DWB (driving while black) where you might have a nice car, nicer than the Sheriff's deputy, and you'd be pulled over just for driving something that new.
The experience which reified this involved an all American girl who was in one of my classes. The daughter of a preacher, and a Navy lifer, she was someone who had all the qualities you look for in a young woman, and her boyfriend was an upwardly mobile guy who went to church with her. It was irrelevant to me that her skin was darker than mine.
She told me she'd been pulled over by a member of the Inglewood Police Department, and when she asked why she was pulled over, the officer said: "you were driving a new car and you're Black." I quickly called the Inglewood Police Department and called a friend who was on the monitoring committee for the Department.
A week late later, the young woman came to see me during office hours. She said, "my father would like it if you stopped pushing on this issue. He's afraid they'll come after me." I of course pulled back from my activism and never tried to right this wrong.
I've got a million stories my students have told me, and I know White people are hearing what they want to hear. They want to believe there's racial equality in America, even though it's a myth.

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