A Privileged, Liberal White Guy’s Views On Institutional Racism–Because It Had To Happen


When we put politics aside and examine our lives, we find friends sometimes who we have known for a very long time but never knew very well. You know who I’m talking about. For me, it’s a guy I met while selling home organs to retirees along with a social program of learning that gives a lot of bored people something fun to do. In that industry, there are two kinds of people: Those who sincerely enjoy bringing happiness to people’s golden years and those looking to exploit them.

Joe was the former. From what I’ve learned of my very short IRL relationship — which consists of a few chance encounters of known names in a very small industry — and a few years of Facebook friendship two decades later, is that he is a kind and caring man who believes deeply in his convictions and has an admirable capacity for love. He is also a staunch conservative. In other words, Joe is the exception to my rule: while he believes most of what I despise, he remains my friend on social media because I believe the human race is a better place with him in it.

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I typically refrain from posting on Joe’s political rants, because I hear enough of it that I’m fairly numb. I live in this world day in and day out. Sometimes, however, I just can’t help it. Today it was the conservative talking point that Michelle Obama “hates living in the White House” because a website chopped a six-second video of her saying “I wake up every day in a house built by slaves.” She said that, of course, in the middle of a sentence that in context shows how proud she and her daughters are that their husband and father is the President of the United States. It was a testament to how far we’ve come as a country and a reminder to the young people whose commencement address she was speaking at that we hold the potential to break through barriers.

Joe, unfortunately, is one of those barriers. He has taken to heart the position that not only did slavery end 150 years ago, but that black people also owned slaves, so nobody is allowed to talk about it. He says after extensive research, more than a third of all slaves were owned by black people. That is absurd and wrong and I didn’t bother addressing it, especially when he gave me so much more to respond to:

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I just…couldn’t do it. I couldn’t let it go. Before I was a writer for politically biased lefty blogs I was a politically biased liberal troll. I was the guy who took over all those conservative pages and turned them into goat fests. (I stole the idea; I’m nowhere near that original.) Before I got into that, which was a barrel of laughs, I was a typical liberal Facebook troll. If you’re unfamiliar with our work you can check out a good friend of mine HERE. Trolls take posts like Joe’s and tear them down piece by piece. I gathered my thoughts and posted a response:

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I fully expected Joe to respond, because he’s always good for at least a post or two of lively, civilized debate. He didn’t disappoint:

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I read it and figured I’d get back to it later, but when I got back I was in for a nice treat. A couple of Joe’s friends had come by to call me names and tell me more about the very factual things that happened to black people by other black people, which is how white people like to justify slavery:

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You gotta love those arguments. Bob is a complete tool who knows zilch about history who bought his 1972 9th-grade textbook North Carolina description of our benevolent founders and their employment habits where it pertains to African-Americans, and Amy still hasn’t seen past the 6-second video — no matter how hard even Joe tried — which now defines Michelle Obama as a person and seals her legacy.

Joe’s friends aren’t exactly the brain trust.

I walked into my kitchen and made myself a drink. My wife, sensing my determination, asked me what was going on. “I think I’m going to respond to Joe and his friends as Busta Troll,” I said, to which she responded, “oh, for Christ sake, give it up…nobody cares.” She’s actually very supportive and we had a nice chuckle because she was also so very absolutely positively right. Nonetheless, the response was something I just had to do in the trolliest way possible while still being mostly respectful, which was kind of a Busta Troll staple.

In order to be a successful liberal troll, you have to possess a certain level of confidence and narcissism. It helps when you’re always right. Here’s the text of my response, which is far too long to screenshot. It’s posted verbatim, so typos and such may have happened. Grammar Nazis have officially been warned. The editors don’t alter direct quotes, I’m the dumbass:

Aaaaaand just about everyone who commented made it about slaves and felt the need to give some fact or piece of history about slavery.

Since we feel the need to go there with the standard argument because we’re talking about a black woman who said the word “slave” (how dare she! OMG, Get over it!) I’ll go ahead and oblige.

Yes, slavery was nasty business. Joe, you mentioned that your ancestors were basically slaves. Sure, they got to go home at night and got paid cheap wages and worked under horri…Oh, wait, those aren’t “slaves,” that’s what we call “the poor.” Should we get into that next?

Michelle Obama is allowed to talk about her ancestry the same way you’re allowed to talk about yours. The difference between the struggles of the working poor and the struggles of minorities are nowhere near the same. When a poor white person makes it in America, they fit right in, don’t they? When a black person from inner city Chicago or Detroit makes it out of poverty they are still black. That shouldn’t matter but it does for some reason.

It matters because of this thing called “Institutional racism.” That’s not your run of the mill people who are just racist. It’s not the reverse racism some black people show towards white people. It’s the racism that is embedded in every facet of our society since long before the constitution declared a slave (there’s that word again, please don’t flip out) worth 3/5ths of a man. Yes we’ve made great strides. Slavery is illegal. Black people can vote. (They got that right before women. Let’s add that to the list.) the civil rights movement ended segregation.

None of that eliminated institutional racism. It is well-documented that black people, and Hispanics for that matter (LIST!) are called back less for jobs. (this is where you tell me it’s because in every single case ever in all time from the beginning of equality they were less qualified), and discriminated against for housing. The reason given most often why someone who doesn’t appear to be overtly racist gets caught doing it is “well…what if the stereotype turns out to be true? We went with the safest choice. (Hopefully they didn’t end up with any of those nasty Italians.)

Our court system is rigged not only to keep our prisons stocked but to keep the warrants in the black communities flowing, giving police in a town like Ferguson free rein to walk into virtually every house in town whenever they feel like it. The warrants come with suspended driver’s licenses, fines and fees. The working poor in those communities who can’t get out can’t get out because they live in fear of being arrested. Arrested for what? Why are they doing things to get arrested? The majority of warrants served on black people are bench warrants for FTA. They fail to appear for court dates for things like speeding and “disorderly conduct,” (the most common charge) because the judge demands money or they go to county to work it off at $34 per day, and the state gets free labor for license plates.

Ferguson is no longer a good example, however, as the judge who came in to fix the institutional racism dismissed all the warrants and gave them all new court dates and promised they wouldn’t be incarcerated for not having a 20 in their pocket and reinstated all the drivers licenses and watched as the people showed up by the thousands to pay their fines and dismiss the garbage and move on with their lives and gave me the greatest run-on sentence of all time.

THAT is what racism in America is about and THAT is what we need to fix. People who think other people are less than because of their skin are entitled to their opinion. Nobody cares. People who think people should be pulled over because of it are an issue. An institutional issue. People who put people in jail for sentences averaging 4 times longer than white people are an issue. An institutional issue.

A**holes are just…A**holes. They come in every color, shape and size.

So, please get over yourselves and your need to tell people they should move on when you have absolutely no idea what it feels like to be watched like a hawk every time you walk into a store…just in case, or have to explain why you look so nervous when you were only pulled over for rolling a stop sign, please step out of the car.

I have no idea, either, but I sure don’t know about that making it not true. In case you’re wondering, those of you who love to talk about liberals and what happens when you present us with facts, everything I’ve stated here is absolute and true. It is backed with empirical data. If you’re wondering why I haven’t posted links like you do when making your point, it’s because those links you use to Fox news and The Blaze aren’t “facts,” they’re propaganda. I save mine for rebuttal. It’s much more fun.

Hey, thanks for the opportunity to talk about this openly and civilly. I hope my posts don’t seem too ad hominem. Oh, and one more thing going back to how this all got started:

Michelle Obama is a beautiful, successful and enlightened individual. She’s also the First Lady of the United States. While your opinion of her from bullsh*t articles about lavish vacations on your dime and school lunches is something you’re entitled to, respect is something she has earned.

It was the least I could do. Sometimes the daft need a little smack upside the virtual head. Amy, the one who couldn’t handle more than 6 seconds of edited video when making a decision about the entire existence of another human being, responded almost immediately. I couldn’t help but fire back:

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I can’t believe I forgot to correct her to “someone who” instead of “someone that.” It’s a pet peeve and everything. This is what toying with you looks like, Amy. Thanks for stopping by.

Oh, for the four people who care: Yes, Charles Topher is the pen name for Christopher Blair who is also Busta Troll and no — it wasn’t a secret.


Featured image via Facebook

 

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