I read gossip sites much too much, and this has become apparant during the Imus flap, here I am, embarrassed to see a public figure behave in that way, grateful to see him fired (while well aware that it was about money not morals that he was fired) but am shocked that so many gossip sites and people on them are opposed to it!
I think it all boils doen to the fact that us white people still haven't shaken the belief that we are "it." We are special. Let's be honest, we think we are on a higher level then "them."
It's a hard transition. White men used to be "it." There was a heirarchy, and right on the top of the hierarchy was the white man, the crown jewel, in all his glory. The good jobs would go to white men, white men were the heroes in story books and movies, the rest of us would be the best off if we kept white men happy, on their terms. These glorious fifties that we all hail as "the good old days" were glorious for white men. The experiences for everyone else weren't so glorious.
So what a shock now for white people, to have to be taken off that pedestal. It feels to us that people from other races have power over us, because it is such a change for us to be considered no better than them, and to be held to the same standards as they are. We are even experiencing some of what others have for years, being judged unfairly by the color of our skin. We cry "foul!" at these horrible experiences, citing the 6 or 7 times in our lifetime we have been unfairly judged or treated by the color of our skin, not bothering to notice that people of other races experience such things 6 or 7 times a week, and have their whole lives, including the time they were children, their formative years.
I bought into the heirarchy myself, not because I am a bad person, but because of the messages our culture sends us. I would possibly never have changed if it wasn't for a half-black roommate of mine in the past, who forced me to look at myself and my beliefs in the meanest way she could. She wasn't as patient and compassionate as the millions of black people out there who think about white people "forgive them, they know not what they do" instead she saw my ignorance as malevolence, and shamed and humiliated me for it. I am no longer friends with her, and I don't think I deserved the unfair treatment I recieved from her, but since I am an introspective person it forced me to examine my beliefs (I think it would solidify a more intentional racist's beliefs.) I can see why the transition of power is so hard on whitey. It was very hard on me to "lower myself" in my eyes as no longer being the center of the universe.
Part of it is intelligence, or the willingness to examine our beliefs. It is so much easier to say in response to economic statistics regarding black and white people and say "Black people do things wrong, white people do things right" then to see that there are power structures in place, historical patterns passed down from generation to generation, and a vicious cycle in poverty. But thinking that way is complicated. It is so much easier to continue to think the same way.
Is it whitey's fault that many black people are in poverty? Nope. It is the fault of power structures set up by and upheld by white people. These power structures benefit white people, so white people are unlikely to challenge them, because it is human nature to try to get the most possible for yourself. So it is up to each individual to improve their own lot in life, and it sucks when the odds are so stacked up against some people, and not others. So when a black person makes an unfair comment about a white person, it is not the same as when a white person making an unfair comment about a black person. Racism is always bad, but white on black racism is an "Action" black on white racism is a "RE-action."
When someone stole my bigwheel when I was a little girl, my mom told me to see how I felt, and not to steal from others. So next time whitey, you are treated unkindly just because you are white, instead of hating another race more, make extra sure that you don't inflict that same pain on someone else.
Send your hate mail and death threats to my e-mail address in my profile.