Saturday, February 4, 2023

African Americans: A letter to my White American friend.

January 12, 2023 by  
Filed under BM, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(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 isn’t 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 didn’t 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 don’t 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 R.

One can contact this brother at; RobbieR@ThyBlackMan.com.


Comments

5 Responses to “African Americans: A letter to my White American friend.”
  1. Ron says:

    Having read your letter, I felt compelled to reply. I’ll start by saying until you’ve had a cross set on fire in front of your house and your 2 dogs killed, have been arrested over the course of 60 years on more than one occasion in more than one state for standing up for your rights as well as those with you at the time as I have you might come to the realization that there’s only one race on this rock and the fasted way to determine if a person is a racist is found as sone as they refer to another human being as being white, black, yellow, red or blue or anything other than a Human being..

    Should you wonder as to my own ethnic background since my family has stood upon the shores of the U.S. since before the formation of the Union I stand as a Native-born Citizen of the U.S.A. and if you’d like to discuss acts of oppression I got a number of people on the Rez for you to talk too, as its stated in the preamble of the Constitution ,” to form a more perfect Union” means a more perfect union of people no matter their creed, color of skin or religious belief which will never be accomplished as long as there are those among us who seek to divide us and are unwilling to advance that Unity. One Race, One People.

    Remember, as evidenced by U.S. Census records, the biggest Slave Trader before the Civil War was a so-called black man
    Nat Butler. The largest slave owners in Mississippi, Louisiana, South and North Carolina where Black people.

    Writing for a publication entitled Thy BlackMan clearly establishes the existence of a racist publication you support and in doing so seeks to perpetuate racism.

    • PHILLIP L BOARD says:

      It is accepted and recorded that there were Blacks who were slave holders/owners; however, to use this as an excuse in an attempt to downplay the history and the truth surrounding slavery in the US is disrespectful to those who are gunned downed or beaten to this day and live in fear of the (police, Far right groups, polices etc). There were Jews that persecuted other Jews, yet discussions regarding the artroeites inflicted upon the Jews are never overlooked and the Jews are never asked to forget and move forward. Pearl Habor and 911; America continually reminds its people and will never forget. People of Japanese descent or Arab/Muslim descent are reminded of the crimes committed by people identified within their ethnic or religious group constantly (annually). Will America move forward?

  2. Dave S says:

    I’m a 50-year-old white man. I also was born and have lived mostly in the South. Having read this letter, I put a close black friend of mine in the author’s place to gain a bit more perspective. What I realized, after finishing it was this, I don’t care. I certainly care about my friend. I care about his well-being and enjoy his company. The “privilege” that gets attached to being white is almost as burdensome as the stigma of non-whites.

    It is a condition I had no part in creating. Furthermore, it’s a condition that benefits me as an individual. Asking me to take a stand against this situation is illogical in my opinion. Please understand that from my viewpoint it’s merely an environment that is comfortable for some and uncomfortable for others. Some enjoy hot summer days. Some enjoy cooler weather. We don’t control those things.

    We just live in them and make the best of whatever circumstances are present. I will say that reading this letter has given me a different perspective on this issue. I choose to, as many have on all sides of this topic, just live my life as uncomplicated as I can.

  3. Michael A Hinton says:

    Thank you for the concise and well-articulated reality of American society. I’ll be sure to repeat it because I too get frustrated when trying to communicate the realities of just being an America of African descent.

  4. Ron Wilton says:

    Hello Robbie….

    As a 67 yr old black man, I think you expressed yourself in your letter perfectly…in a way like the book and film “Roots” by did for me…you explained the issue in a logical reasonable manner. I only hope that your friend REALLY reads it, puts it down…. then reads it again…. and puts himself in our shoes, and if he does he will look at things in a different light.

    Peace and love to you…

    Ron Wilton

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