brotherpeacemaker

It's about our community and our spirituality!

Racist Comments by White People

Situation Room

The word nigger has as much power over me as some benign word such as boy. It is not the word that is the problem. The problem is the sentiment behind the word.

White people profess to have no idea why black people would probably accept the word nigger from another black person but would get angry at being referred to as a nigger by white people. Yet, if I were to be pulled over by a police officer and called him boy, a term of endearment if it came from his parents, I’m sure my opportunity for a favorable outcome would be negatively impacted considerably. Why would a police officer take offense to being called boy? Obviously, the cop would interpret this black man calling him boy as a challenge to his authority and, possibly, his manhood. In the language of certain people the word boy can be interpreted as an attempt to demean, dominate, and humiliate. For many people it is possible and understandable for a police officer to take offense of something so benign as the word boy in just an instant why would it be difficult for people to understand why black people would take offense to white people using the word nigger when the word has been used for centuries as a derogatory tool for the humiliation and denigration of the black race?

The white community has a tendency to choose not to understand the black experience or apply the same consideration to the black community that they would give to each other. They claim to be obtuse to the insults they are constantly making against the black community. And since there are so many black people who are super quick to dismiss any offenses made by white people and come to their defense at the drop of any hat the opportunity for the black community to actually educate the white community and give clear guidance for proper racial etiquette in such a confusing topic becomes lost in a forgiving cloud of tolerance of their indifference. There are a number of instances for that support my supposition:

When Don Imus made his disparaging comments about the Rutgers University women’s basketball team on his television show the black community responded by demanding his removal. Initially the black community was rebuffed as nothing more than the latest nuisance by people with little influence on corporate America. But when black people started to use a strategy with economic repercussions for the sponsors Mr. Imus’ show was cancelled. Stanley Crouch and Jason Whitlock popped out of the woodwork to focus their criticism of the black community for ignoring the language of rappers but coming down hard on poor Mr. Imus.

When Wolf Blitzer was doing one particular episode of the Situation Room during hurricane Katrina the contributing reporter was making a remark on how poor people were unable to evacuate the city. The corresponding video showed an image of black people wading through chest high water. The reporter talked about the poverty of the people left behind. Mr. Blitzer had to add his two cents and made a comment on how the people were so very black. Mr. Blitzer’s comment was inappropriate and unnecessary. Mr. Blitzer has never made a comment about how somebody in a news article was so very white. But Mr. Blitzer thinks it’s unfair that the black community reacts to what he said of the blackness of the people in the article. Mr. Blitzer defends his lack of discretion by saying something that continues his contempt by saying, “Well gee, I don’t know what to call black people now.” So much for all this bull about a colorblind society.

It is not the words that hurt. It is not the word that is offensive. It is the intent of the people using the word. The idea of a white person using the word nigger or even the word boy is offensive. The long history of white people using these words and many others in an attempt to demean the black man and to injure his masculinity is not easily forgotten with just a lame confession of racial ignorance. Mr. Blitzer knows exactly what he thinks of black people and just happened to slip out one day. Mr. Imus can claim that he didn’t know black people get offended at having our women referred to as nappy headed whores. He’s heard too many gangsta rap songs that gave him the wrong impression. But the millionaire radio talk show personality is far from being the impressionable neophyte who made an honest mistake. Don Imus made a conscious choice to be racially offensive to black people that particular day.

And lastly, and sadly, when the racially offensive white person garners too much public attention for their racial transgressions, they can quickly find a flaccid black person who is all too willing to advise other black people to look the other way and to not react to what we may hear. Words have no power. The only power that words have is the power we give them. Many high profile blacks do much to defuse an opportunity for the white corporate community to learn to take the black community more seriously and simply give white people carte blanche to do and say whatever.

Bill O’Reilly can say so much about how he visited a black restaurant and was so impressed that black people behave no differently than white people and Juan Williams wants to give him a pass because Mr. O’Reilly was trying to pay black people a compliment. With so many black people giving so many flippant white people an excuse for the small opinion of black people white people have no incentive to treat African Americans with the same respect the bestow each other.

It is not the words they use. Whether or not the word is boy or the word is nigger isn’t even close to being the issue. Whatever words are chosen the people need to remember that the words are just another tool white people use to show the black community just how little they think of us.

Friday, October 26, 2007 - Posted by | African Americans, Black Community, Black People, Life, Philosophy, Racism, Thoughts

19 Comments »

  1. At first I was shocked at your use of well, the N word.

    Coming from an Arab who spent a good deal of time in the US, I think I understand where are you coming from. However, I cannot understand where a racist person would come from. I don’t know whether it is arrogance or ignorance. I don’t know whether it is ridicule or downright hate. But I do know that color means much more than what it may seem on the outside, and these meanings make all the difference sometimes.

    What truly pains me, is that it is not only Blacks that need to endure with such discrimination and racism, but it also extends to include practically anybody who is not white. And it is not only exclusive to the US, but you may well find the same scenarios all around the world. To be honest, if it’s not discrimination against blacks, it will be something else. It would be gays. If it is not against gays, it will be against women, and so forth. I’ve come to terms with the fact that prejudice, racism and discrimination will always find their way in people’s hearts and minds. Somebody stronger (or somebody who may be deluded to think that they are stronger) will try to belittle somebody weaker. It’s always been that way.

    Comment by Pheras | Friday, October 26, 2007 | Reply

  2. Thanks for the feedback Pheras,

    I have to admit that you are most correct. People have a need to feel superior and people cannot feel superior until they are able to separate themselves from others. In fact, if black people were free of white people we would probably take steps to segregate ourselves based on superficial differences such as blacks with kinky hair and blacks with straighter hair, light skinned blacks and dark skinned blacks, fat blacks and skinny blacks, blacks from the east side and blacks from the west side. The number of differences we could glom on to are infinite as long as there is another person for comparison.

    But these are all hypothetical cases and what ifs. The reality is that the white dominate culture is subjugating other cultures like the black culture here in America. We could spend a lifetime studying all the manifestations of corporate America’s subjugation. However, this blog isn’t intended for such a wide scope. This blog is intended to give people some kind of idea of why black people are in their subjugated role and try to cause somebody to pause and think about why these things are the way they are.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Friday, October 26, 2007 | Reply

  3. With all due respect, I tend to disagree with your comment, “The reality is that the white dominate culture is subjugating other cultures…..” While there is that select group of people who choose to define themselves as superior to others, one must be careful so as not to generally categorize the entire white culture as a group of people who seek to subjugate those of other races. On that note, the whole “superior” attitude is nothing more than just a learned behavior. Ironically, it is a subjective view of superiority without any foundational basis….all things being equal.

    If I may digress a bit…From a philisophical point of view, our human senses (namely visual and hearing) along with our thoughts are the very basic elements that can cause all of us to have different perspectives about each other. This whole thing about black vs white/white vs black…Why must we look at each other sole based upon our skin color? I mean, at the end of the day when the sun sets, we close our eyes, and there is no black or white.

    Getting back to the point of discussion, I do acknowledge the degrees of prejudice that those of color endure on a daily basis. However, I just believe that we (meaning, everyone) need to stop this cycle of attacking the ‘white man’ or ‘black man’ and take things to the next level by embracing each other’s differences realizing that no one …but no one is superior than the other.

    MD

    Comment by MD | Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Reply

  4. Thanks for the feedback MD.

    But with all due respect is it not obvious that all things are far from equal? In fact, aren’t all things obviously skewed to the white community’s favor and away from the black community? The concept that our race disappears at night when we close our eyes is a naive one at best. The reality of poverty and disparity between the black community and white community still very much exist. Some people may believe this to be only a perception. But for a lot of people that are being kept out of the job market or out of the ability to obtain a higher education or the ability to obtain quality and timely medical care, it is a reality with dire consequences.

    You make a valid point however. Yes we should be embracing each other’s differences and realizing that no one is superior to another. But the reality is that such a concept is rooted in the idea that all men are equal despite the differences. Our society practices anything but this concept. The reality is very much different. The reality is that black people are perceived to be inferior until we prove ourselves to be devoted to maintaining the status quo and promote white domination at the expense of our black brothers and sisters

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, October 28, 2007 | Reply

  5. There is no such thing as actual equality. Someone is always better than someone else. Somewhere, there is a man or woman alive, who is the best. Somewhere, there is a black person who is better than me, and a Puerto Rican man a little better than him. But who defines what is best? That is the question, and one that must be answered on an individual basis only after much thought.
    But who is best has nothing to do with race. It is mostly about beauty, ability, and intelligence. In that order.
    -Dutch

    Comment by Dutch Hawkins | Monday, November 5, 2007 | Reply

  6. I really hate this kind of crap. Most white people could care less about black people that they don’t know personally. You want to use the N word but you don’t want me to? Fine, I don’t care. You think that black people are poor because white people conspire to keep them down? That’s fine too, although I don’t see how that helps anyone. Maybe people like you just want an excuse for failure more than you want to work to succeed. Maybe some white people do conspire to keep black people poor. I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m not personally conspiring against black people. In fact none of the white people I know are. For me to actually believe that you or any other black person are getting anything other than an occasional racial slur from the occasional idiot, you would have to give me several examples of black people who did everything right (good grades, college, a degree in a field that pays well and is in high demand) and still couldn’t get ahead. For now I suppose you will have to settle for calling me a racist for thinking that black people succeed or fail based on their actions, talents, and personal drive just like everyone else.

    Comment by david | Tuesday, January 1, 2008 | Reply

  7. Thanks for the feedback David!

    But frankly, I don’t have to prove a thing to you. You don’t believe you and your white mindset cohorts are subjugating black people? That’s fine. There’s absolutely nothing I could say or write to convince you otherwise. I could list all the professional black people I know who have to settle for contracting jobs because they are unable to get permanent assignments. The entire group of black professionals who are able to obtain jobs only make on average something like seventy eight percent of what white professionals make and you think this is fair. But you want names. Black schools are under funded compared to white schools and you think this is fair. But you need more proof. This is the crap I hate. Black children are on television being attacked by police for crimes that barely get a nod by their white counterparts and you think this is fair. For now you will just have to settle for your delusion that you are not a collaborator in a biased system that favors white people.

    You want me to give you a list. Who the hell are you?

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Tuesday, January 1, 2008 | Reply

  8. I see alot of good points from both sides and you sound like a very intelligent person. I just have two questions:
    Aren’t your comments towards “white people” reverse racism?
    And does that make you any better of a person than those ingorant fools who use the N word towards you?

    Comment by Joe | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Reply

  9. Thanks for the feedback Joe,

    It may sound racist. But let’s look at this another way…

    A white man calls a black man a nigger, buys him off of another white man at auction, and makes the black man work for nothing without pay, the absolute minimum of food, or the absolute minimum of shelter. The black man will call the white man with the whip a cracker. Do you think these two are equal in their racial hostility? Do you honestly think that the black man working in the field is just as racist as the white man who sits on the porch, sipping tea?

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Reply

  10. I agree in that context the two racial slurs are not equal in there racial hostility. But, when was the last black man purchased at auction? I am not aware of these transactions taking place in America today. Holding “white people” accountable for the actions of individuals who existed 150 years ago is absurd.

    These are different times.

    Today, the two comments are equal. A black person can prejudge someone of another race just as easliy as a white person. I agree that racism is a huge problem in America today. With that said, I also think that unlike the 1800’s, today racism is a two way street.
    I am one of the “white people” you have wrongly grouped in with all of the RACIST “white people.”
    I don’t see color, I see character. I never judge anyone until I give them the benefit of showing me the kind of person they are inside. We need to end the hatred and agree that no one who is alive today is able to change the past, but we CAN change the present and future.
    ALL of us (Black, White, Periwinkle, whatever) need to start with ourselves and our own interpretations of others.

    Comment by Joe | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Reply

  11. Thanks for the feedback Joe,

    These are different times? What’s different? I see the vast majority of wealth in America controlled by the white community and an over representation of black people in all aspects that are negative. The last time a brother was bought at auction was the last sports draft. We like to think that we’ve moved on and that what happened in the past is the past. But the similarities to what happens in the now are just too close to be coincidental. Today the two comments are hardly equal. When people like Don Imus can call black women nappy headed ho’s and get larger contracts while people like Barack Obama can call their grandmother a typical white person and be called a racist then it’s obvious there is a double standard here in America that you simply refuse to acknowledge. It’s no coincidence that the black community pales in every social measure to others. I disagree totally. The two comments aren’t even close to being equal.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Reply

  12. I’m sorry.

    I was under the impression that professional athletes were compensated very well for running around and playing ball. (And I used to do this in little league for free) I believe they probably “control” more wealth during one game than I will see in my lifetime. Also, aren’t white athletes “bought” at those same auctions? Perhaps President Obama should be notified of these auctions so something can be done!

    To answer your question about the differences between then and now, I think you can find the answer in any history book and learn more about the true living conditions of your ancestors. I didn’t do well in history, but I’m pretty sure they were not allowed to speak their mind on the world wide web.

    If you think that using one racial slur against someone is different than someone else using a different racial slur against someone else, I think you need to read the definition of racism. IT IS ALL THE SAME. Racism will never stop unless ALL parties agree we’ve had enough. I did not cry racism when the president I voted for made that comment. And I didn’t hire Don Imus, nor was I involved in his contract negotiations. I was appalled by his comments just as I am by yours.

    It seems that you want white people to treat you different because of the color of your skin. Wait a minute, now I am really confused about what you want from us.

    Again, I am extending my hand to you. All I need to hear is that you AGREE that WE, together (Blacks and Whites) can decide to either continue fighting or at least try to get along.

    Unless WE choose to do this, racism will continue.

    Well, At least that would give you something to write about.

    Comment by Joe | Saturday, July 25, 2009 | Reply

  13. Well you should be sorry. Read the book “Forty Million Dollar Slaves” by William C. Rhoden and you might have a more informed perspective of the athlete compensation phenomenon. And the athletes control wealth during a game? I have no clue what you mean by this statement. And the fact that some black people make more than you by no means indicates they are immune from racism. Just like back in the day the big buck on the plantation had privileges that other blacks may have had doesn’t mean they weren’t slaves.

    And to answer your statement that our ancestors weren’t allowed to speak their minds, of course they were. They just could speak their minds in public as long as their mind coincided with what white people had to say. Black people weren’t entitled to be angry or disagree with the white community. It is very interesting to see the many black people who are labeled as little more than angry black men. People like Barack Obama and Henry Louis Gates, Jr. are labeled as angry black men for disagreeing with their white counterparts.

    You might have a definition of racism as the use of racial slurs. But racism and racial discrimination is far more destructive than a few choice words. Maybe you should try to find a better dictionary. Racism has to do with prejudice and blatant disparity between people based on nothing but differences in race. But leave it to some to claim that it is the use of bad words. You say you were appalled by Don Imus. What did you do about it? And then to see Mr. Imus return to his public forum with a bigger and better contract is proof positive that we don’t deal with these racial slurs equally and fairly.

    And let’s look at these racial slurs. What are they? Nigger, spook, porch monkey, spade, and more for black people. We have white celebrities and government officials stepping up to the public stage to call black people things like nappy headed ho’s and macaca. And the reason they feel entitled to do so with impunity is because they know that our tolerance for racism against black people is so high that they feel emboldened to express their contempt for black people openly. What public official or celebrity would be so bold to say such things about the white community? Wrong might be wrong and a slur is a slur. But the way we as a people respond to these incidents of racism is in itself an act of racial disparity.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Reply

  14. brotherpeacemaker:

    Let’s make peace. It’s become very clear that you and I will not agree on anything. I admit I do not understand what African Americans in this country have to go through. If you truly are a peace maker then let’s make peace. It has to start somewhere.

    Comment by Joe | Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Reply

  15. Since I have read and commented to posts on your site, I have come to the conclusion that I have made a mistake. I thought that a white person who is not a racist could make a difference in some little way. This site seems to be one extreme, perhaps I should go visit the other extreme like a David Duke site or something to see if I can make a difference there. Or maybe I should just give up since racism will always be here as long as people like you and the David Dukes of the world want it to be.

    My offer still stands. Let’s make peace, brotherpeacemaker. I don’t want to give up and neither should you.

    Comment by Joe | Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Reply

  16. Joe,

    Trust me, you and I are not at war. I completely sympathize with what you’re saying. If all things were truly equal we could come together with a mutual understanding that wrong is wrong whether it’s perpetrated by the black community or the white community. But the fact of the matter is that the racial disparity that has become the norm in this country is such that one group uses its strength and power to dictate its interest and desires on the weaker group. What you call equal discrimination if heavily skewed by the fact that one group with power dictates terms and reinforces its perspective with control. I look forward to the day that we can look back and say that we are all equal with equal responsibilities and benefits. But that day is a long ways away. I don’t ever want to give up until the day when equality is truly the norm. I’m willing to do what I can to get there, including an offer of peace. But please remember, just because we disagree does not mean we are at war.

    Peace

    Comment by brotherpeacemaker | Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Reply

  17. Thank you for your response.
    I understand that you and I are not at war. The point I have been trying to make is that there are a select number of “racists” in every single culture. Please understand that MOST white people are NOT racists. Some may act, to steal a word from President Obama, “stupidly,” but that in and of itself does not make someone a racist. I have never used the N word and have only encoutered a couple white people in my life who have used the word in front of me. Those people are not my friends as I do not tollerate it. Did I stand up and say it was wrong? No, but I am normally not a confrontational person. Am I proud of not saying something? No.

    All whites are not racists and all racists are not white. When people are placed into groups (ie: “white people”)it is assumed that you are talking about ALL white people and I as a white person find that offensive, just as you would if I spoke negatively about black people as a group. I am not saying that it hurts me on the same level as it would you, but it hurts nonetheless and when I feel like I am being attacked, I tend to take it personally and react accordingly.

    Comment by Joe | Sunday, July 26, 2009 | Reply

  18. i have read this and i am white and i do beleive that black people are black it does not mean that black people can call each other niggerz bcz they are black their and im am not evan abit racist sorry i don’t just hate niggerz but don’t say all countries in africa are black because for example somali,morocco,algerian,yemen they are all oriental and thats what the world needs to noe

    Comment by simon aharon mitchel | Saturday, September 29, 2012 | Reply

  19. eveyone is equal love what you got in the world

    Comment by simon aharon mitchel | Saturday, September 29, 2012 | Reply


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