Monday, December 22, 2014

Why are you mad, white people???

With the recent incidents of police officers killing African-American individuals and what many consider to be unfair outcomes of court proceedings dealing with those incidents, the public's attention is yet again drawn to what appears to be pervasive racism in our justice system. Just the other day, protesters blocked the interstate in Milwaukee, WI (where I live). So I've been hearing a little bit about it and I'm really disappointed with the responses I've seen from even my own family members.

"Racism is alive because blacks keep it alive. They are segregating themselves." - A paraphrased quote in response to protesters on the interstate holding signs saying "Black Lives Matter". 

 "Will the 'White Americans for Justice' be equally represented?" - A paraphrased quote in response to the, "African-American Roundtable," and their representation in these issues. 

Just to note - I'm not an expert on race relations in America. It's not my area of study, but I have had some education on the issues. Also, I was not present at any of the incidents in question. What I'm about to say is something that I think virtually every adult in America should recognize when thinking about these kinds of issues.

Whites (and particularly white males) have, since just about forever, been the privileged, default representative for just about everything, including Justice. Things have gotten better, and representation is growing for groups whose views have historically been subverted and largely ignored. Yet, it is clearly the case that many white Americans do not recognize ANY historical facts about what has led to our current state of affairs. 

The fact is, whites do not need any more representation than they already have been granting for themselves for centuries. Racism is alive because of people who are ignorant, and we know it's alive because it is reflected in our justice system and in comments such as those stated above. A sign that says, “Black Lives Matter” shouldn’t trigger a response of anger as if the sign means “only Black Lives Matter”. It should trigger a response that says, “Yes. They do matter too, and it’s time that everyone recognizes it in every way.” Even if you believe you already recognize this perfectly, you could at least support the fight for everyone else to recognize it too.

So you got trapped on the interstate for a little while. That might be "infuriating" for you, but think about how truly infuriating it is to have a hard time walking down the street without being suspected of being up to something bad. Think about how infuriating it must be to know your loved one was shot and killed, even though he was unarmed and possibly innocent. Think about how infuriating it must be to be targeted prima facie as a bad person because of your skin color. 

So why are you mad, white people?? What do YOU have to be pissed off about?? You have a moral pass. You have the upper hand. You have had the right of way since you were born. You are implicitly The Represented by default. All anyone wants to do is enjoy your status too, because we're all human, and all human life is to be valued prima facie - right?


  1. While I recognize the horrible atrocities done to minorities in this country (both historical and present, even though the present is arguably better overall), the title and final paragraph of your argument is just as arrogant as those you were apparently trying to fight against. You have the thought that just because somebody is white they have all the privileges and face no adversity at all, despite all the other groups that are having rights taken away, such as homosexuals, atheists, etc, which have NOTHING to do with race. White people are in those minorities as well, and yet you pulled all the white population into one group and made a broad generalization about them...sounds kinda racist to me. I understand that you are advocating equal rights, and overall equal lives regardless of race, which is a very noble cause, yet this is NOT the way to do it, claiming white people have absolutely nothing to get angry about simply because they are white, which is absurd and pathetic! I'm not trying to victimize the white population, but claiming that white people have EVERYTHING is wrong...problems, adversity, bigotry and overall cruelty is not isolated to one race; many go through it regardless of their race, and while it is arguably true that minorities go through is more than whites, you overstepped your bounds with your totalitarian statements.

    And since you brought up the many shootings that have occurred in recent years, I'll throw in my two cents regarding these. All of these events should be considered tragedies regardless of the races involved, yet something that genuinely pissed me off regarding the response by much of the population was the outcry of "RACISM!" simply because the confrontation was between people of differing races. The accusations of racism happened well before the true motivations of the culprits were known (all that was known was the races of those involved). People getting mad about whites (or anybody) getting off easy with trials when they arguably should be punished is easily understandable, yet what does it say about our society when people assume racism immediately just because an altercation occurred between differing races? That's the ignorance and immaturity that scares me the most, and that's the ignorance I was feeling while reading through your post. As much as I wish for a humanity that is able to live together and be tolerant of others of differing races, religions, genders, and any other categories you can place somebody into, my faith in humanity being able to achieve this is dwindling when I see so much anger and immaturity on all sides of the spectrum.

  2. You say I'm "claiming white people have absolutely nothing to get angry about simply because they are white" and that this is "absurd and pathetic!". What is really absurd is your taking my sentences out and placing them in entirely different contexts. Also, I never said anything about all white people having nothing to get angry about. I asked a rhetorical question "what do you have to be mad about?", which was aimed at those white individuals who specifically express anger about the idea that "black lives matter" because it excludes whites, and is apparently racist as such.

    You said I'm "claiming that white people have EVERYTHING" and this is "wrong". Perhaps my wording near the beginning of the post gave you the (ridiculous) idea that I think every single white person must be privileged and be considered a representative of Justice, and so on. This is obviously not what I meant, and your lack of charity for the sake of pumping up your own view is what is really pathetic if you ask me. What I meant was that representatives of Justice (and what have you) have historically been whites, particularly white males. That much should have been clear.

    You say responses to certain shootings result in an "outcry of "RACISM!" simply because the confrontation was between people of differing races." Are you kidding me? You think people cry "racism" SIMPLY BECAUSE there are two different races involved??? Way to, once again, ignore contextual facts. History, day to day conditions of living, and years and years of felt discrimination of those who have personally had to deal with it themselves, in certain segregated areas, is why we have an outcry of "racism!" when certain shootings happen. If you honestly think you can isolate one event and look at the responses when analyzing the situation, and you honestly believe that there is somehow an unmediated assumption of racism in relevant cases of white cops killing black teens or what have you, then my advice is that you look more closely at these issues, find articles, read books, talk to professors of political science, social philosophy, or philosophy of race, talk to ANYBODY but yourself and people who agree with you. And please be charitable. Try to understand what someone is REALLY saying within the context it is being said, before you criticize them for believing something they do not in fact, believe.

  3. You say I was the one who took your sentences out of context / pulled meaning out of your writing which was not really there, and then turn around and do the exact same thing to me? You say my understanding of your arguments are "ridiculous", yet your arguments were written in such a way that made it easy to make the mistake in interpretation, if you will.

    As for the outcry of racism, I stand by what I said before, with a group of shootings that happened within short time spans of each other (the Trayvon Martin shooting being the one that stands out the most in my mind, but there were plenty more since then unfortunately), did you see a large part of the response? People did scream racism immediately! Look at the riots, the anger, these can’t be denied! Not saying it's indicative of an entire group, and I’m not using those cases to “promote” anything other than my being bothered by that mindset of THOSE individuals. Those responses did bother me, and I was simply saying that instances like these should be looked at on a case by case basis, and racism should not be an accusation until evidence is gathered...I would hope you could at least agree with that. I know that the angry groups I’m mentioning have probably been denied rights for the majority of their lives, but am I at fault for still thinking their actions are inappropriate? I know I haven’t gone into much detail of who specifically I am targeting, but look up the violent protests in response to some of these shootings, and see how quickly racism was the culprit even before any racist evidence had been released, those are the people I’m going after.

    Finally, I never denied or ignored historical facts. If you read my first response, you can read that I agreed with a lot of what you had said, but focused on specific statements which made me think you had overstepped your bounds (if this was a simple miscommunication, fine, it's much easier for this to occur with written over verbal communication, and I honestly think if we spoke in person we would probably agree on a lot). At the end of your response you make the assumption I am close-minded / uneducated, by requesting I read articles, take classes, talk to others, etc. So you are basically admitting that if somebody disagrees with you, they MUST be uneducated and close-minded, aren't you? Somebody disagrees with something you say, thus they are to blame, because they just haven't searched hard enough for the "true" answer, which of course is YOUR answer. Is this how you handle criticism / misunderstandings? By assuming you're smarter than the opposition simply because they are the opposition? Is your definition of common knowledge based on whether other peoples' opinions differ from yours? It sure seems like it. You should have simply said “this is what I meant…” instead of “you read it wrong, therefore you’re at fault, etc.”

    So overall, I am NOT denying white privilege; I AM an advocate for equality; I AM an activist when it comes to achieving these goals; and I AM very open-minded and educated. I was not criticizing the equal rights movement, I was criticizing YOUR writing. If my interpretation was not the same as your intention, I will take partial blame for that (and you should be mature enough to do the same), but my misinterpretation in no way points to me being narrow-minded or uneducated (and I know you didn't say those words, but you should understand how I derived that meaning from your words). I know that I was harsh on your original post, but it was because I was reading it as a harsh post, but I did agree with the majority of it, and I think we probably agree on many points. It’s also a shame that our responses are spaced so far apart time-wise, it makes responses pretty difficult to write as our situations and mindsets change.

  4. I stumbled across this short back-and-forth while reading through this site, and found it kinda interesting how the person replying to the Topic Creator (TC) accidentally revealed bad argumentation in the TC's response.

    When I read the first post, despite not being much of a fan of the way it was written I believe I understood what they were going for. However, I can also understand how somebody could read this as an attack rather than an argument, which is what the writer of the response obviously did. I wasn't too smitten with the first response and how it misunderstood the point of the original argument, so at that point I thought the TC was "winning," until they wrote back...

    While I felt the first response was misguided, it still did bring up some valid points which the TC completely denied or ignored without providing any evidence to the contrary. Also, the responder seemed to only be attacking the arguments, not the TC, yet the TC attacked the responder, by implying they need more education. And once the responder wrote back, they won me over, whereas the TC shot themself in the foot. I just found it ironic how the responder who initially wrote a not-so-good post (which they admitted to in their second post) actually led to the TC arguing so badly and immaturely that they (in my opinion) lost this argument.

    So to the TC, if you are ever to read this, you either need to learn how to respond to criticisms or disagreements in a more mature way, or you'll lose a lot of arguments. In Comm 110 it's generally agreed that if a misunderstanding occurs, the one who made the misunderstood comment is supposed to admit "I must not have explained it well," thus being willing to take at least partial blame for the misunderstanding, and yet you did not do this. So maybe you're the one who needs to further their education?