Recently Joan Walsh wrote a book titled What’s The Matter With White People? I take my blog entry title from that. Every time I mention to White people that my marriage was illegal in 18 states when my wife and I got married and had been illegal in our state, AZ, up until just a couple of years earlier, they are “shocked”. How shocked? When my wife recites the discrimination she faced growing up, the segregated housing, schooling, and employment, they are shocked. One White woman was reminiscing with her about growing up in Phoenix and going to the movies and my wife had to remind her that she couldn’t go b/c she is Black……SHOCK!! Didn’t she notice? No, of course, not.
Did these White people, many of them born during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, recall the turmoil of those times when U.S. combat troops had to be sent into American high schools so a couple of Black kids could attend? No. What they do remember is the U.S. combat troops who had to be sent into Black neighborhoods during riots in the 60s. That is the narrative of our race relations: Black people are helpless and hopeless, the victims of their own ineptitude in navigating society. Best to stay away from them, poor things, b/c they tend to be violent and disorganized. Working as a teacher in a Black school? Not a good idea. Bless their hearts, they may try but they just don’t have what it takes. Didn’t a major scholar, Charles Murray, demonstrate scientifically, through empirical evidence from testing, that Blacks for the most part are born with cognitive deficits?
OK, that latter is for the few people who read. Most White adults in this country read nothing about race relations except perhaps some on the Right who read Rush Limbaugh and watch Fox News. Do they ever watch MSNBC where Melissa Harris Perry just this morning, 5-9-15, laid out the process by which Baltimore’s Blacks were reduced to poverty? No, they watch CNN, which tries manfully, once in a while, via Soledad O’Brien and a few others, to show the underlying reality of Black life. Some distracted souls will mount a campaign against me for using the word manfully, as if the male/female wage gap will be closed by avoiding sexist language. Back in the 70s, many Blacks focused on the word Black’s use in negative expressions as one cause of White people’s negative attitude toward Blacks, without it ever occurring to them that a dozen or poor deprecatory expressions using the word Dutch has not created an anti-Dutch attitude on the part of English speakers, cf. Dutch door, D. oven., D. uncle, D. treat, D. rub, etc. Oh, we are so easily distracted.