Never Owned A Slave
Lately, I have seen an uptick in the number of comments from people claiming to be white who are tired of black people’s victim mentality of blaming white people for every single thing that is wrong with the black community. Simply because the dominant community forced black people to work for nothing for generations while white people accumulated wealth for generations, simply because the dominant community denied black people equal access to educational opportunities for generations, simply because the dominant community denied black people equal access to employment opportunities, does not mean that the dominant community is the source of all the problems of the black community.
It should be pretty obvious to anyone with just a cursory understanding of cause and affect that denying virtually an entire segment of the population from being able to participate in economic activity would lead to an economic retardation. While the one group is actively being held back, others segments of the population are free to accumulate wealth and pass that wealth on to their future generations. Since the black community unfairly suffered from a lack of opportunities for wealth, education, employment, and such, the black community needs just as much assistance for being made whole as we have had to make us subordinate and subservient and a fraction of our true potential.
The minute some people hear the suggestion that the black community deserves special consideration for having to endure truly significant instances of discrimination, a number of people roll their eyes in contempt. These people are quick to say things like they never owned a slave or they have never done anything to purposefully harm black people so they owe black people nothing. People in the dominant community really do like to employ the most simplistic forms of thinking when it comes to issues pertaining to the black community.
A few years ago I was visiting my mom’s house when her dog suddenly started barking and going ballistic. The man next door’s family came to visit him and his grand kids were in the gangway between the houses getting my mom’s dog all excited. They laughed and ran. I followed them to the front of the house. The parents were sitting on the man’s porch. I told the parents that their kids need to quit tormenting the dog. One of the kids got indignant and said that he didn’t touch that dog. Nobody accused him or anyone else of touching the dog. The denial of touching the dog was thrown out as a distraction from the issue at hand. The children were tormenting the dog and touching the dog was not the only way the dog could be tormented. The children had no business in the gang way. The gate to their grandfather’s backyard was on the other side of the house. What were they doing in the gangway if they weren’t bothering the dog? They were trifling children.
The photo above shows one of the Little Rock Nine trying to go to Little Rock’s Central high school so many years ago. The lone black girl was being hounded by a gang of white people shouting and cursing her, holding up signs saying that they didn’t want any black people at their high school. These white people probably were thinking they never owned any slaves and never did anything to harm black people either. Why were their hard earned school tax dollars being used to educate black people?
The photo below is of a gang of white people who probably never owned black people either. There is no evidence in the photo that they lynched the black men in the photo. Certainly not all of the white people were responsible for the deaths of the black men. By this very simplistic logic there is no proof that they owe black people anything and therefore the black community needs to simply get over the fact that these black men have been lynched. The black men in the photo are the victims, not the black community. White people are simply enjoying the view.
But the fact of the matter is that every time a black person was injured by America’s institutionalized racism the entire black community suffered the cost. The subjugation of a black man was meant as a message to the black community by the dominant community. Every time a black person got the message that he or she was not welcome to challenge the social pecking order, that the black community will be held back against its will, people in the white community benefited. Although individual white people may not have directly benefited from owning slaves or intentionally harming black people, many people in the dominant community benefited from other white people’s dirty work.
Nobody is asking individual white people to dip into their personal savings and write a check to black people. So why do individuals insist on making the intellectually lazy leap that America’s institutionalized racism inflicted on black people is coming out of their pocket? Nobody is asking you to pay but obviously you feel like you are losing out when a black person ask for equality. You obviously feel a lot like the white people in that photo who saw working hard to keep black people from trying to go to a school that they didn’t deserve.