(ThyBlackMan.com) I am never shocked when some topic regarding Race arises during private conversations with trusted friends and colleagues. After all, Race serves as one of the foremost factors impacting the lives of persons of African descent on a daily basis. Hence, I was not alarmed when America’s foremost social cancer arose during a recent conversation with a colleague via the question of “What do you think that whites say about our people behind closed doors?”
Now, I do not want you to get the impression that I have never considered such things, because I have; however, a bit of wisdom gleaned from more than a few life experiences has taught me to exercise extreme caution when discussing such murky matters. Of course, I would love to rush forward with a definitive answer regarding “What white say behind closed doors”, however, neither I nor any other member of Black America really know what whites say in our absence. How could we? Trust me when I say that whites have absolutely no idea what is said about them in the few private spaces control that they are denied entry.
When my colleague pressed me on this matter, I stammered a lukewarm response of “I think it depends on the person and the situation.” Although my response was a logical quip, it conveyed a larger belief that whites are not a monolithic population whose views on Race can be effectively summed up with a simple generalization. When one considers the amazing diversity found in Black America, it stands to reason that there must be similar diversity within White America.
Of course, I am aware of a vocal segment of White America that spews vitriolic racist statements in both public and private spaces, however, their symphony of unproductive noise fails to cancel out my belief that there must be contrary voices fighting against their racial bigotry. Experience has taught me that the most ardent supporters of racial bigotry busy themselves blaming others for personal failures as a means of avoiding the painful reality that they are primarily responsible for the repeated failures that have come to represent their life. I now understand that on most occasions racial animus has everything to do with the disappointments and failures of those expressing bigotry and little to do with those they attack. And just as I there are white bigots hurling misdirected anger into the public spaces that whites congregate in, I am confident that there are others occupying those same spaces who contest their bigotry.
Although it is impossible for me to know what whites say about blacks behind closed doors, I do wonder if that population understands James Baldwin’s contention that the recipe for creating “Niggers” was created and executed by their kind? The above query led me to wonder how many whites know enough about Race to understand that this nation’s foremost social cancer flows from the decisions and processes put into place by America’s “founding fathers.” I wonder if there is any semblance of guilt found within White America for this nation’s daunting history of building what Baldwin terms, “Niggers”?
Let’s be honest, the impoverished and downtrodden populace that has come to be characterized by this politically incorrect term of “Niggers” did not enter this world in possession of a criminal disposition, poor physical and mental health, and believe that immorality was a justifiable means to achieve desired ends. Yet, few consider such matters and view this reviled population through a lens that denies centuries old biases. Instead of considering the impact of a comprehensive oppression that covered crucial areas such as social development, political education, and economic savvy that guarantees a marginal life, “Niggers” are simply viewed as inferior people who are responsible for their own situation. Those evaluating “Nigger” by such criterion extends beyond White America and encompasses significant portions of Black America as well.
Make no mistake about it, the multi-faceted trauma that impacted blacks in the Western Hemisphere began with white elites use of stolen Africans as a means to an end, in their no holds barred pursuit of wealth and power. After pondering my colleague’s question of “What do you think that whites say about our people behind closed doors?” I finally concluded that it is not as poignant as it initially appeared. In fact, I believe that a better question is “Do whites have a sense of guilt regarding what occurred to stolen Africans?” Or better yet, “Do whites know enough about Race to have a sense of guilt regarding the present condition of Black America?” Unfortunately for Baldwin’s “Niggers”, I suspect that in the twenty-first century white guilt has been muted by an opportune misreading of American history. Instead of attributing glaring moments of social appropriateness, political ineptitude, and economic inefficiency to this nation’s foremost tradition of racial bigotry and institutionalized racism, the current tone-and-tenor of public discourse places it at the feet of its foremost exhibitors. Put simply, there does not appear to be any contextualization of the misery and suffering of Baldwin’s “Niggers”.
Although cliché to state, the initial step to solving a major social problem begins with an honest conversation among all stakeholders. Unfortunately for the entire nation, current demands for political correctness guarantees that our version of the truth can only be shared in private spaces among one’s racial/ethnic peers. It is this shrouding of truth that ensures that racial animosity is alive and well. Making matters worse is that until our individual truths regarding Race are shared with outsiders, there is no possible way that significant progress will be made in an effort to cure America of its aggressive social cancer. It is this cloaking of personal perspective regarding Race in America that will most likely always cause me to never be able to answer the question of “What do you think that whites say about our people behind closed doors?”
I have no clue and neither do you.
Staff Writer; Dr. James Thomas Jones III
Official website; http://www.ManhoodRaceCulture.com
One may also connect with this brother via Twitter; DrJamestJones.