Thursday, May 8, 2008

Am I Racist?


Sometimes I wonder if I am a racist. Racism is defined as disliking someone solely based on a prejudice or a stereotype that you believe to hold true about his or her race. Now I have always been an advocate of the fact that everyone has prejudices and thus are prejudice. It is my belief that the main people who say that they are not prejudice are indeed the most prejudice, because we all prejudge others at some point in our lives. It’s human nature. But let me get back to my initial thought process. Am I a racist? The reason I ask the question is because I’m trying to put myself in a different light; if that makes any sense.

I have always considered Sgt. Old Ass Bitch-Face to be racist just because of the fact that he is an old, white bastard, who smokes a cigar. There are other reasons, sure. One of them is the fact that I don’t think he likes black people; however, I don’t know that for a fact. I don’t know who the man associates with at home. Hell, his wife could be black, but I doubt it.

The reality is that when I first came over to work at the station I am currently at, I only saw Sgt. Old Ass interact with two black people. One was a black officer who I had been told had been working the station for over seven years. The way I figured it, you can’t help but interact with someone you’ve been forced to sit side by side with for seven years, even if you don’t like their kind. The other person was a young black girl. She was under his charge, so that didn’t count either, because he was her boss. I later would find out that he never had any problems interacting with black women, period. This, of course, made me think that he liked black women because it was taboo and he was like one of those old slave masters who got their jollies from raping the female specimen of the black race. Isn’t that terrible? The finally reason is because I never felt like the man liked me; a black man. And let’s face it…what’s not to like? I’m adorable, damn it!

So, just this past week I just began to wonder if I was being unfair to Sgt. Bitch-face and if it was I who was truly the racist. After all, I was passing judgment on this man just because of the color of his skin. Well, that and because he’s old enough to have had parents who possibly owned slaves. I mean, just because somebody white doesn’t like me doesn’t make them a racist, does it? And you know what really makes this sad. I also think that most cocky white folks, who wear a police uniform, have racist tendencies. That’s horrible, right? I mean, who does that? Well, I know who does it, but it’s a totally inappropriate way of thinking, right? Am I right? Oh, and let me just say that Sgt. Bitch-Face rarely interacts with anyone, even white police.
When I was going through my police training, one of my trainers was an old, fat ass, white guy. When I first meet him I was like, “Oh shit. Look at this racist bastard.” As it turned out he was the best trainer I had (we normally have three main trainers) and I credit him with a good portion of what makes me such a hell of an officer. Plus, the man didn’t have a racist bone in his body. Okay, that might be a bit of a stretch. I think we all might have a racist bone somewhere in our bodies. Some of ours are just bigger than others. But the fact still remains that I thought the man was gonna be racist for the simple fact that he was white, old, wore a uniform and in this case, fat. How terrible is that?

So, I have searched my soul to find out if I am a racist. I don’t think I am and I’ll tell you why. Now, I’m not going to say it’s “because I have friends that are white”, because it that ain’t the motto of every racist you ever want to meet, I don’t know what is. I just don’t think I am a racist because I am open to interacting and honestly getting to know people of different backgrounds. Just for the record, I do have a diverse grouping of friends; black, white, Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight. All of them offer something to the table that I believe helps me to grow as a person. I have always been drawn to people of other cultures, and I have no idea why. Lord knows that I sometimes believe my sisters to have some of the most flagrant racial tendencies ever. They say things that offend me, because of the very fact that I have such an eclectic gathering of friends and associates.

I also don’t think I am racist because of the fact that I am offended when people make ignorant statements about people of other racist and act as if it’s fact. That shit bothers me. Now, depending on the ignorance level of the individual making the statement, I will sometime challenge their statement and see if we can engage in an intellectual conversation. Trust me when I tell you it is virtually impossible to have an intellectual conversation with an idiot. I don’t care how much education they have.

I took a test this past Sunday, on the internet that asked the question; “Are you a racist?” It was a stupid test, developed by some intellectuals from Harvard. It ran you threw a serious of test where you had to press keys in relationship to facial characterizes (black and white). Then you had to press keys in regard to words that you considered bad or good. Then they placed words under the faces you saw earlier and you had to press keys in relationship to whatever they were asking prior to start the test. It was a time test and they didn’t want you to think, they just wanted you to react. Once the test was complete and my results were tabulated, it was found that I strongly prefer the company of African-American people. I thought this was funny, because the only African-American person I knew was this white guy, from Africa, that I went to college with. He was cool and stuff, but I wouldn’t say that I strongly preferred his company to anyone else’s.

No, in all seriousness, I thought that the results of the test were indeed strange. If you saw me with my small circle of friends you would never come to the conclusion that I strongly preferred the company of people that look like me. You would most likely believe that I preferred the company of people who look like Cocoa Rican. Why? Because the majority of my friends are Hispanic. I don’t know what Imma do if they pass that immigration law. LOL. I kid. I kid. No, for real though. The majority of my friends do have a Hispanic Heritage. Not because these are the people who I seek out, but because these are the people who have always sought out me. Don’t ask me why. I have always been a loner which means that I don’t active attempt to interact with people (work being the exception). That being the case, once I went to Junior High School, it was always someone Hispanic that would gravitate towards me and end up being my friend. This trend continued in my various jobs and even in college. There is just something about me that my Hispanic brothers and sisters like.

Anyway, somehow I managed to get off the subject and go off on a random tangent. So, the question remains, with all of this information that I have given you, am I a racist? I can mention other cases where I have just jumped to the conclusion that someone white didn’t like black people sole because they were white; not because of anything that they said or did. Just because it was something about them that gave me this vibe that said, “Hey, this person is racist.”
Oh, and don’t think for a minute that I believe that just because someone doesn’t like me that they are racist. That is not the case at all.

-One Man’s Opinion. Peace.



17 comments:

Mark D. Aster said...

I'm wondering, just how are relations between blacks and Latinos down your way, since you mention favoring their company?

A lot of the black ex-pats of the Lone Star states that I've come across seem to have chips on their shoulders about Latinos. I think it's going to be a big headache for Obama in the future, even if most blacks and Latinos are Democratic; sort of like blacks and Jews over the whole Bakke thing thirty years ago.

On the other hand, I understand, as I personally enjoyed my time among Latinos when I lived in Arizona. Felt a lot safer and sane among them over "my own" people.

DreamCop08 said...

We all stereotype in just in the human nature! U know I work for the police department in Louisiana and when I first started I had prejudged a bunch of white folk there thinking them to be racist. I quickly found out that they were not and they have helped me so much along the way!

I can honestly say in my opinion that this generation is stepping out of that racist mentality! In my opinion I find that it is the older generation that still holds on to the racist mentality!

I've learned to not prejudge and to give a person the benefit of the doubt, now if u prove me wrong then I know!

And of course ur gonna be diverse- your a LEO

-eve- said...

Very interesting post...!

> Now, depending on the ignorance level of the individual making the statement, I will sometime challenge their statement and see if we can engage in an intellectual conversation. Trust me when I tell you it is virtually impossible to have an intellectual conversation with an idiot
LOL! Very true! I usually don't bother; just smile ever-so-slightly and keep silent. 'Out of the heart the mouth speaks'; so you know their heart.

Hmmmmmmm....... as for whether you're racist, your post sounds more like you've been exposed to racism, so you're always watching out for it, and expecting to be discriminated against. Racism is everywhere; over in my country, it's almost a part of the law (the law gives a general rule, and the government interprets is as it likes, turning it into racism.. ;-)). We KNOW that certain races are eligible for more benefits, so there's no need to think about it; our response is just to make sure we do our work 10 times better than them, so they can't find fault with us for anything...

But stereotype isn't the same as racism; close, but not the same. Stereotypes can be a rough guideline (I find some of them true enough), but if the person proves us wrong, fair enough :-)

naijalines said...

"Trust me when I tell you it is virtually impossible to have an intellectual conversation with an idiot. I don’t care how much education they have."

Yeah, me too. You tell them bro! Brilliant post. I love ya! And no, you ain't racist at all. I'm like that too. Sometimes you just know someone is racist from the vibes they give off. Of course we may find out we're wrong sometimes. We're just being human.

Prejudices are just prejudices, if they remain a hunch... a feeling. Prejudices only become racist when we act on them.

Like when we give a job to a black brother when the white guy was better qualified and had more experience. Or when we tell our children not to play with white folks.

JayBee said...

you haven't described anything in this post that would make me think you're a racist. as opinionated as you are, if you had those tendencies i don't think there's anyway by now that they would not have permeated your thoughts and ended up coming out in some previous posts. that line about talking to idiots was the truth.

Homer is My Co-pilot said...

Honestly.. If you look at someone and assume they are some kind of way because they then you can be racist. Like your trainer who you assumed was racist. The simple fact that you thought he was because he was white was racist on your part. We all have our moments but it's important to do some self searching like you did here and work thru it.

UBERMOUTH said...

I think oyu are racist about people wiht fat asses.
You are so sweet. You're clearly not racist.
I had an arguement with a white guy making racist comments and posted about it last post. Must be something in the air.

UBERMOUTH said...

Great comment by Eve and I agree.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

i could talk about this for days but will say best definition was in AFRICA MUST UNITE BY KWAME NKRUMAH. in essence have to be in power to be a racist, make others adopt yo standards and beliefs, can we do that?

Don said...

i agree with you on the just because people don't like people, they're not necessarily racist. sometimes it has absolutely nothing to do with a person's race. moreso their character.

i can't really say if you are racist. just as you can't really say if i am racist. from what i read i don't think you are. i just think that you are not with the bull ish.

if i considered a person racist...it would be due to some act i've witness or just a feeling which produce a red flag. from reading your blog i have never gotten that. so, no, i don't think you are racist.

Ms Smack said...

I really enjoyed reading your post about this topic. I've been reading and workshopping alot about Lateral Violence lately, have you heard of it?

It's basically when the same race attack within themselves.

In our Aboriginal community here, alot of people talk trash about each other and it's gotta stop.

We've got enough hurdles to cross without attacking each other.

Great post, mate.

-eve- said...

Thank you, uber :-)

Oh, and I forgot to add, one man; great poster! And the comic is so cute :-)

cathouse teri said...

I honestly think people will always be swayed by appearances. Whether it's a matter of color or, as mentioned earlier in jest, fat asses. I just don't think there's going to be a way around that.

I grew up in Utah, and went to a high school where I think maybe two black kids attented. And they were related. Lots of hispanics, though. The only prejudice I recall from those days was religious. I was a non-mormon white girl in a predominantly white mormon community. Definite religious prejudice there.

I've lived all over the world in my life. Mostly the Far East. I have never lived around a significant number of blacks. I now live in Virginia. My first week here, my best friend (who grew up in Utah with me) said to me, "You may notice that in Virginia the ratio is about 60/40, blacks to whites." I said, "Where are the other 38 white people?"

EVERYONE I know is black. It has been a bit of a culture shock, but only in the sense that so much focus is placed on what color you are. Not really a negative focus. Just a pretty constant awareness. It's almost like I didn't even know I was white until I got here.

I am shocked, though. Absolutely shocked at the very strong cultural oppression that the black people here are wearing. In fact, are almost comfortable with. I get this impression directly from them. It's like, I don't hear whites say things against blacks. I just FEEL that blacks are subordinate. In themselves. Like nothing has to even be done against them. It's hard to explain. But it's very foreign to me. And I feel it very strongly.

Obviously, this is something carried down. I mean I'm not stupid. But I've never lived in the South. I've talked to some people (white) from the South over the years, and they would say some stupid shit. I just figured that the person was an idiot. And that person was. But there is an accepted oppression (accepted on both sides) here that I'm sorta hoping is moving in the direction of improving. As opposed to ... well ... this is just the way it is.

That Girl Tam said...

I wouldn't go as far as saying that you're racist. We all have preference and a level of bias playing their own parts. For those who have experienced racism first hand, those people may be more inclined to take a second look at people from time-to-time.

Being bi-racial, I have experienced racism within my own family. I had cousins that referred to me as "little black girl" in Chinese, until my great-grandmother busted them out for it.

While living in a predominantly Asian community when I was growing up, I wasn't quite "yellow" enough and although my hair was long, it wasn't quite "straight" enough...and I was the outsider. When shifted to a predominantly Black community in my teens, I looked kinda black, but clearly not black enough...and I was TOO yellow - even for the light skinned kids. Skin too light...hair too straight and UNUSALLY too long.

And although I've outgrown THAT drama in my life, I've noticed over the years that I look side eyed at other Asians...particularly Vietnamese...don't ask me why - and it's probably for the same reason you give Sgt. Old Ass (or whatever you call him) the side eye. Not because we're racist per se...just because...whether it's ignorant or not...we ALL do it to SOMEONE.

I ain't sayin it's right...it's just a fact of life.

Great post!

One Man’s Opinion said...

I knew someone would say it, I just wasn't sure who it would be. "have to be in power to be a racist, make others adopt yo standards and beliefs".
I don't understand why, in this day in age we still have the believe that as a people we don't have this power. Hell, Oprah has this power alone, and what if Obama becomes President? Will we still feel as if we don't have this power?
I remember the first time I heard someone say that black people couldn't be racist because of the mere color of our skin. I was like, "I can be racist if I want to be!" Of course I felt the same way when someone told me that I couldn't get lice because I was black. I was like, "I can get lice if I want to." I guess I just hate it when people still me what I can and can't do, especially when it is based on the color of my skin.

There are some great comments here and I appreciate them all. I think I really enjoyed Tam because it was the first time I had heard the same of thing from a different stand point. Not light enough, even for the light skinned black folks. Hell, my neice, who is not mixed, is high yellow, but I guess becuase her hair is short and nappy she was able to fit in. Hell, my little Nephew looks hispanic and he is not mixed either. I wonder what drama he will have once he enters school.

Dreamcop I wish I could agree that we were stepping out of our racist
mentalities, but I don't believe this to be true. Those bad ways of thinking continue to be passed on to the young.

That Girl Tam said...

::cheesin::

Did I just get honorable mention?

I've always looked at racism with different eyes because it's hard to be racist in my family - well, for ME it is...

I am half Chinese.
My sister is half White.

Hell...the majority of my 1st and 2nd cousins are either half White, half Mexican, half SOMETHING. With all these mixed folks in my family, I don't see color...I see people. Can't wait for my family reunion in July and all the great pics I'll be posting of my little United Nations that I call FAMILY.

Ms Smack said...

Tam - great comment. That judgement within a race is (over here in Australia) called Lateral Violence.

When fair people are considered less, or people are horribly labelled 'coconut's (black on outside, white on inside)

I'm gonna write a post about it soon. It's everywhere!