The African American Reality: A letter to my white friend. : ThyBlackMan.com

Sunday, November 23, 2014


The African American Reality: A letter to my white friend.

September 14, 2012 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Relationships, Weekly Columns

(ThyBlackMan.com) Me and a white friend of mine were having a conversation over lunch the other day. The topic was world peace. All he wanted was for past wrongs done to African Americans to be forgotten, and everyone to just get along. I explained to him that this isnt the way the real world works, especially when those past wrongs are still affecting many of my people today. He claimed I was playing a victim. that I was giving in to a self-loathing over a past situation; one which I didn’t even have to experience. of course he was referring to any type of racism demonstrated from slave ships to the Jim Crow Era. But i assured him that those past situations lead to our present predicament in race relations, and my feelings were not unique to just me. It was one of those conversations where you just want to lay it all out on the table, booming with a voice as articulate as Malcolm, and Ringing with the passion of Martin. But all that came out was “Man you just don’t get it, you have to first see the world through my eyes“. I told him I would write something down to articulate to him the reality of the situation.This is a letter to my white friend.

Peace is the goal. Yes, peace is the goal for most of humanity, but in order to achieve peace amongst groups of people who are of different shades of skin, we must first fix the biggest problem that faces us today. Many Americans would like to believe that there is no problem, and that only by introducing, and re-conjuring up an issue do we create an obstacle towards peace. Unfortunately this is not true. Just because one doesn’t experience the issue as severely as others, doesn’t mean the issue doesn’t exist. The world doesn’t  just disappear when you close your eyes. No, we must recognize, and accept the problem in order to ever work towards the solution of peace. Because logically, one can not properly fix a problem unless they have clearly identified the problem first. So what’s the problem?

It is as simple as this: people do not see each other. People do not see each other for who they are. Instead, people categorize themselves based off of physical characteristics, and then place attributes on anyone fitting that physical description – we choose not to see each other. Most would be more satisfied knowing my skin color than knowing my favorite color. We rather guess my annual income than ever stop to learn what values I hold true. This backwards way of living will not due. We need to begin to understand one another, you and I. And that is going to take accepting, and respecting some hard truths about reality from all sides. To begin, I will share life from the perspective of an African American male in the south. For that is what I have lived, and what you must accept. I only ask when you read about my world, that you step outside yourself and place no biased on the African American’s reality. So sit back, and just imagine.

Imagine an entire group of people who share nothing with the world. Who are unique for all the wrong reasons. Irregular, because they have been called the criminal class their entire lives. Anomalous, because they were the main participants in the first type of recorded American slavery that deprived the slaves of their original names, culture, traditions, and equated them with pieces of property. A group that is distinctive, because even though “racism is not a big deal anymore“, you are still looked down upon, innately because of the skin you had no control of being born in. and then imagine a people who has grown to realize that they have been told throughout all of their formal education that they have not contributed anything worth more than a chapter of mention concerning this worlds History. That everything else constructive was done by everyone else. This leaves you with a group of unwanted, undervalued people, who dont understand that they can do great things. Malcolm X said it best: “As long as you are convinced you have never done anything, you can never do anything“.

When you tell a group of people all their lives that they have never done anything positive in this world, then you deprive them of any hope to accomplish anything positive. And as long as the African American believes this, Then it will influence their self-confidence, pride, and actions, in a negative way. A lot to swallow right?

Remember, I didnt say be critical of, I said to just imagine such a people. I further challenge you to imagine you ARE part of that group of people and not just an onlooker of the situation. Suddenly a lot of “African American Problems” begin to make sense.

Now company this with anyone with less melanin who can pass for a group that is associated with everything good. That has a lineage of acknowledged kings, queens, and accomplishments. You literally can not be successful without memorizing, regurgitating, understanding, and being able to write essays on information concerning this group of people. Because if you dont learn everything about this group, then you are cheated out of any American education; both public and private sectors. Imagine a group of people with a lighter, passable, complexion to not be considered a problem. I can go on and on about the innate privilege that comes with being passable as white, but the point is this; A white person’s sense of pride, confidence, and foundation is based off of a recorded history- a tie to something great. While African Americans have to go through independent study to re-establish those same senses in order to gain that same feeling. And to be clear, those of African decent who do go back and relearn their history are not the norm. the majority of my people still feel like the unloved, red-headed step child of the world.

I can only hope that you are beginning to see the link between past wrongs and the present state of the African American mentality. And as bleak as i make our current state sound, I recognize that me and you both experience inequalities and differences in our lives; none of which is our fault. and that recognition from both sides is imperative to move towards actually fixing race relations. So try to see me, as I try to see you.

I want to be clear that nothing was written to excuse anyone of their greatness. I do, and continue to believe that African American people have always had the potential to accomplish great things; For my true history supplies proof. And like you, I believe many Americans are willing to seek compromise in the wake of any adversity.

Unfortunately, many people look at the state of my peoples plight from a position of judgment or self- loathing of why the past wrongs can’t just be forgotten; of course only after one side has been emotionally, psychologically, and physically beaten. But that ideal makes no sense.

We don’t just forget. And It makes no sense to try if everyone is not even going to put forth an equal step to see things from one another’s perspective. Peace is the goal, and One love is the motto, but that first requires a respect and acknowledgment of the struggles from both sides. I would hope you would reply to me with a similar recollection of your views taking into account what I have shared with you, so that we can push forward. My brother, I have offered up my reality in hopes you will understand it.

Your friend,

Robbie Robs

Staff Writer; Robbie Robinson

Connect with this talented young man via Facebook; Kamakinto and Twitter; Kamakiro.

Official website; Tumblr – Everetts Transition.


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Comments

7 Responses to “The African American Reality: A letter to my white friend.”
  1. Erich Hicks says:

    Keep history alive by telling that history:

    Read the greatest ‘historical novel’, Rescue at Pine Ridge, the first generation of Buffalo Soldiers. The website is: http://www.rescueatpineridge.com This is the greatest story of Black Military History…5 stars Amazon internationally, and Barnes & Noble. Youtube commercials are: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iD66NUKmZPs and http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xEgEqgNi2Is

    Rescue at Pine Ridge is the epic story of the 9th Cavalry from its Congressional conception in 1866, to the rescue of the famed 7th Cavalry by the 9th Cavalry Buffalo Soldiers, 1890. The 7th Cavalry was entrapped again, after the Little Big Horn Massacre, fourteen years later, the day after the Wounded Knee Massacre. If it wasn’t for the 9th Buffalo Soldiers, there would of been a second massacre of the 7th Cavalry. This story is about, brutality, compassion, reprisal, bravery, heroism, redemption and gallantry.

    You’ll enjoy the novel that embodies the Native Americans, Outlaws and African-American/Black soldiers, from the east to the west, from the south to the north, in the days of the Native American Wars with the approaching United States of America.

    The novel was taken from my mini-series movie with the same title, “RaPR” to keep the story alive. The movie so far has the interest of major actors in which we are in talks with, in starring in this epic American story.

    When you get a chance, also please visit our Alpha Wolf Production website at; http://www.alphawolfprods.com and see our other productions, like Stagecoach Mary, the first Black Woman to deliver mail for the US Postal System in Montana, in the 1890’s, “spread the word”, http://www.stagecoachmary.net.

    Peace.

  2. You can’t erase a person’s history and expect their not to be negative repercussions from it. Black people of whom I am proud to be a member of, are the original people, the first educators, doctors, architects, of the world and so many more great firsts that are not taught in the schools. White people will never fully understand the side effects of mental slavery because they look at things from a totally different point of view. From their point of view, there is no problem, which is ridiculous. Unfortunately, Black people don’t understand it either. That’s why we don’t have unity in our community like every other group.

    We have been programmed to be the most forgiving, integrating, assimilating, people on the planet. Yet we still go through all kinds of discrimination. It’s overtime the Blackman and woman start to do for themselves. Once we start taking back those hundreds of billions of dollars we spend in every community but our own, then and only then will we get the respect from all groups of people and be able to take care of ourselves by solving our own problems. Prejudice is a natural human trait, but racism is not and because whites don’t think there is a racial problem, is the reason why we have all these problems in this country. It’s time to wake up Black people.

    Black Unity means financial independence and happiness

  3. Chris says:

    Those past situations that might have lead to our present predicament in race relations certainly had their part in this development in my opinion. However, things might be more deep-rooted and probably impossible to extinguish. While better education and a better understanding of the past plays a huge role in making race relations better it is important that ALL OF US understand how people of different cultures interact in this time and age. Prejudice and social framing is something very human. It is almost impossible to be completely free of any prejudice or not to socially frame someone or a group just by looking at the person.

    Some of this prejudice stems from fear and natural fear is an instinct to save yourself from danger or harm. It is basically a survival instinct.
    As ridiculous as it sounds it is a “prejudice out of fear” when the heavy truck that drives a bit faster down the street we are walking on makes us fear it. All kinds of concepts come into play.. from knowing that there could be a drunk driver steering the vehicle or someone being too stupid to be careful enough, etc…
    There you have it. This is your prejudice that was aquired over quite some time.

    So respecting and acknowledging the history of African American struggles of the past (from both sides) doesn’t quite cut it.
    No matter if one says “oh, it’s just self-loathing” and no matter if one is aware that racism is still alive and holds back a whole ethnicity.. understanding each other better and being able to change perspectives requires a different social upbringing. It requires a non-xenophobic pedagogy which at the current state will just not be possible in American society.

    People bring highly contingent assumptions, beliefs, and frames to their reading of their social worlds. These framing assumptions are presumably the effect of prior life experiences and learning — this is what we can refer to as the social psychology of social perception.

    (It is possible there is some degree of biology here as well; we can’t exclude the possibility that there is a natural-selection basis to a neurophysiology of social perception, as argued by the sociobiologists. The case is not resolved at present. Are there any social impulses that are hard-wired through our evolutionary history?)

    Another thing we know about social cognition is that human beings are great storytellers. We can take a small detail and weave it into an orderly narrative. And we are likely to tell stories that play out our expectations, fears, or hopes. We interpret the events and behavior around us in ways that go vastly beyond the slender facts that we observe.

    (There is probably a developed area of research on this particular feature of social cognition, analogous to the study of reading or pattern recognition, though I am unaware of such research. But it would go something like this: assemble a set of video clips of people acting and interacting without much explicit context, and ask the subjects to briefly describe what is going on. Insert various social cues and see how that changes the stories subjects construct — for example, change the actor’s clothing or adornments slightly.)

    Now let’s see what the point is. I suggest that these features of human social cognition make prejudice and discriminiation a very common feature of social cognition. Take a small dimension of mistrust of strangers; add to this a slight propensity for being uncomfortable with difference; add the usual fact of the information sparsity available in most social interactions; and fold in the degree of fictionalizing and narrative construction that social cognition normally involves — and what are you likely to get? It seems credible that the resulting stories will often enough represent the other in terms that support prejudice, discrimination and fear. And it seems credible that these internalized stories, and the actions and consequences they produce, will reinforce and proliferate the prejudicial stories and behaviors.

    This suggests a basis for expecting mechanisms of social cognition that are xenophobic, racist, homophobic, and sexist. It is an unpleasant possibility.

    It also suggests that when we advocate for a society based on assumptions of trust, equality, and mutual respect — that we need to be considering as well how to create a learning environment that creates these cognitive habits. We shouldn’t assume that trust and equality are “natural” states of mind, but rather a set of cognitive habits that need to be specifically cultivated.

    If this has some credibility, it probably gives some indications of what a non-xenophobic pedagogy ought to look like. It ought to work to provide more background knowledge about human differences — to fill in part of the data gap. It ought to work specifically to defuse the
    origins of “stranger anxiety” — to work against the background of fear that structures many human interactions. And it ought to affirmatively make the case for equality among persons — to counteract a tendency for the group superiority stories to emerge.

    In other words, a just and equalitarian society needs to be created. It isn’t an accident.

  4. Jaden says:

    I have no sympathy for blacks in America now adays. There are so many opportunities to learn, grow, succeed. There are many great black role models, spokes people, tvs, internet, free money ect. All the doors are open to them. Many simply refuse to walk through them. Grow thicker skin, quite blaming personal laziness on Americas slave history and I bet a lot of the racism that is felt is perceived and not true. I can’t tell you how many black people have called me racist/treated me poorly when in fact I honestly didn’t give two shits about color for as long as I have lived.
    Your view that blacks are not taught enough black history is invalid to me. I remember starting to learn black history as early as I was learning white. Maybe if people actually paid attention in school they would know their history, instead its cool to be dumb. That’s the dumbest idea ever.
    Also to think that whites feel superior bc we trace our lineage to kings and queens is nonsense, most white in America came from the lowest classes of European society, many were slaves but the Brits having a thing about pretty words preferred to call them endentured servants.
    I worked with a shit ton of blacks, and one was stricken with the idea to use the “it’s because I’m black” excuse, and the rest of the blacks straighten him up real quick fast and in a hurry. This was ten years ago. Maybe the cure to the American black problem is for those who feel downtrodden/mistreated to go join the military. Instills pride and the higher ranks won’t put up with “it’s because I’m black excuse”, besides the military mistreats everyone equally and it’s usually about a thousand times worse then most civilian encounters. The only link I see between black and their American life is blacks perceive to be lesser bc they keep telling themselves that. I just don’t see race being a valid excuse for most instances, esp regarding achieving personal success.

  5. Abbe says:

    As a teacher in a school that is 80% African American, I find that I care more about their past and future than they do. I have a rule about not using the “n” word in class. I remind them of the struggles their decendents went through to NOT be called that word. I can just see Malcolm, Martin, Medgar, Rosa and others turn over in their graves everytime they say it. They could care less and know even less than that. However they can tell you when Lil Wayne’s next CD drops.
    We need to impress upon all our children, black, white, brown, yellow, red, the importance of HISTORY. Not white history, black history, or polka dot history. One of the biggest disparagements ever made was to name February Black History Month. It’s as if to say you’re not important enough to be thought of the rest of the year so just to make you happy we’ll give you a few weeks in the shortest month of the year. History belongs to all of us, not just whites from April to January, blacks in February, and women in March. ALL history should be taught together so as to know how it affects ALL of us. It is only from this we shall learn from our mistakes, all races, and make this world a better place. It is from this we will learn from “walking in each other’s shoes”.

  6. Missy says:

    I think it’s simple people no matter what race simply need to educate their selves and understand history for what it is. No we can’t go back and change it but we can make progress towards leaving a better history for our children. Progress is forward thinking and that’s what we need as a people on all levels.

  7. things that make u go hmmm says:

    When you go before your maker you will only be held accountable for your life. This is why you must say a serenity prayer and accept what you can and cannot change because you will stand alone at the pearly gates and hopefully you will gain entry.

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