Fighting Racism With Negativity
” I suppose that what I’m trying to say is – and this is just my personal tact – that it’s maybe better to meet negativity with grace. I think that, maybe, if you mirror negativity the ‘foe’ has already won.
Not that it’s my place at all to deny you your right to behave EXACTLY as you wish. You, of course, are behaving through experience and a first hand perspective, whereas I can only try to see myself in certain situations.
For the record, I can very much see your point regarding Chris Rock and other prominent black entertainers; I can see that Everybody Hates Chris – to use your example – does little to negate or dampen the negative stereotype of the absent Black father, for example.” – The Nimble Guru
Thanks for the feedback The Nimble Guru,
But when it comes to matters of racial disparity, meeting negativity with kindness wins nothing. For example, Dr. King talked about loving one’s enemies and where did it get him? He was assassinated standing outside of a motel. His family, the lives of his children, was threatened. Dr. King spent a large majority of his final years living in fear of retribution from white people for the intolerable sin of preaching equality and preaching that people in the black community should combat the white community’s fear and ignorance with love and understanding. A lot of white people today see Dr. King as some kind of racial equality hero, but there were an awful lot of white people who celebrated the news that Dr. King was murdered. And I’ve never heard anyone say that the white community lost because they countered black people’s struggle for racial equality with negativity. The label of negativity is exclusively reserved for people in the black community.
To say that to mirror negativity means that your adversary won is one way to look at things. But it is a point of view that comes with a certain amount of naiveté and oversimplification about the complexities of human interaction. True, we don’t always want to counter negativity with negativity. Sometimes what we perceive to be a negative situation is merely a misunderstanding to a particular event that could be better resolved if cooler heads prevail. That is a given. But the racial condition of America hardly fits into the category of a misunderstanding to a specific event. The type of racism that I am referring to negatively impacts the black community on every social measure and is perpetual. Racism is entrenched and it is pervasive. To say that responding to this perpetual condition with negativity means that “they” win is to totally miss the point.
Besides, I doubt if the United States military machine at war in Iraq and Afghanistan is thinking they already lost for using negativity against al Qaeda and the Taliban. Police often resort to negativity when confronting people who are being negative. I doubt if somebody would say that the police lost and the culprit won.
The truth of the matter is that because of many people’s vested interest in keeping the racial status quo, black people as well as white people, the elimination of racism is a very complex endeavor that will require a multitude of responses on a multitude of fronts with a multitude of tactics from a multitude of people, both black and white. A lot of people think the black community would be better off if we just used the single tactic of turning the other cheek and smiling at people who would much rather prefer to see black people as the inferior to the racially generic majority that is predominantly white and therefore black people are not deserving of equal consideration.
However, on the other hand, there are people who want to wake other people up by focusing on the true ugliness of our social conditioning that enables the majority of us to tolerate this perpetual arrangement of racial disparity. That can hardly be done without offending people who want to promote the idea that the state of race relations is absolutely fine just the way they are. And the longer we wait to do something about racial disparity, the longer we tolerate black professors being pulled out of their houses for being angry, the more we tolerate black teenagers being murdered in boot camps by guards, the more we look the other way as black women holding their children are murdered by police looking for a drug suspect, the more opportunities we are given to go negative and letting people who commit or condone such acts win.
The last thing I want to do is to give people the impression that it is okay to see racism as something that is fun or something that we can laugh at and tolerate because it gives us so much enjoyment. Racism is disgusting and hurtful. And I’m not the type of person that sees our society doing something disgusting and hurtful and is motivated to respond with kindness and understanding, especially when there are so many people who have embraced this racism for so long.
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