Thank you for your comment. Most of my problem with a lot of your examples is that it’s either: 1) it’s moving the goal post, 2) redefining or reinterpreting definitions not created by us, 3) is denying the very racism we attempt to address, or 4) making excuses for ignorance.
For example, you wrote: “ Maybe I’m asking the Indian American where they are from because they still have an accent that indicates they are a recent arrival.”
This is not an example of someone being racist, this is an example of someone with ignorance which is likely going to be perceived as racist because of how it’s received. Many people speak the languages spoken in their homes by their parents and other family members. Some people are American but they speak fluently their native languages (i.e. Cubans, America Indians, some Africans, heck anyone not of White/European/English). English isn’t many folks first language, even if they live here. They choose not to forsake their culture, which includes rich, complex languages and dialects.
Those accents maybe thick even though they grew up here. The accents are that way because they live in communities where they can maintain their culture and that culture is respected, not shunned. Assuming someone isn’t from America or some other European culture is ignorant, sorry. Only someone from a dominant European culture would make such an assumption. Why does the victim of such a foolish assumption have to put up with such ignorance? Most of us do because we’d allow this nonsensical assumption to pass without saying a word, but we walk away from the interaction thinking how stupid such a thing that was to say aloud.
See how intentions and perceptions works. That’s racism in a nutshell!
My problem with NAWP is that they don’t have a dialogue, they have excuses for why we shouldn’t believe our experiences, they make excuses for the behavior, or they attempt to tell us we’re not correct in our analysis. Kinda sorta like you’ve done in a round about way (with great examples) to say what some people believe. That’s fine. I am not discounting your what you’ve said, I’m giving you my perception. Does that matter? Does it ever to those NAWP or racists?
It’s not the persons intent when it comes to said unintentional microaggressions, prejudices, racial ignorance, racism, racial biases, and/or racial discrimination, it’s how the actions of the offender are received by the victim. Too often society expects the victims to care more about the perpetrators committing the crimes and aggression than we do victims injured by the actions.
For example, child sexual abuse victims are silenced so that the clergy can keep his important job w/benefits, and the child is forced to deal with their trauma alone if at all. And because they have been forced to be silent for so long, when they do disclose their injuries, we don’t even believe them. Racism works the same way. We’re talking, but people aren’t believing us.
Other types of victims are blamed for the actions of the perpetrators as well.
Victims of robberies are forced to replace what was stolen from them. They are often blamed for being a victim if they leave their guns in the car with the doors unlocked, for wearing expensive jewelry, or for being too flashy attracting the eyes of robbers. All some victims of domestic violence have to do is fix dinner wrong and their beaten. Is putting too much pepper on chicken an excuse to brutalize a victim? Or what about the college co-ed who gets drunk, gets in the wrong car and is killed. The college kid had the right to go out, get drunk, and exist in that state without someone preying upon her. But we blame the victim for getting too drunk, and not the perv for being pervy.
The excuses you noted for racists (intentional or otherwise) are similar. As long as we excuse the behavior and make excuses for their shortcomings, racism won’t go anywhere. NAWP are worried about the wrong thing anyway in my opinion. They are worried about themselves instead of the people they may have harmed. If you harmed someone, just apologize and move on. Acknowledge you didn’t know and move on. Don’t lash out! We are very forgiving. But that’s the one thing most racists and accidental racists don’t do, apologize.
Most of your explanations have either excused racism and racial biases, or placed burdens on the victims to either forgive, understand, and accept the actions because the perpetrator didn’t realize they were racist, committing racist acts, or held racial biases. This is a cop-out.
I realize many people need time to process what’s happening. People have been silenced for too long. The internet gives victims of racism a way to speak about it, and it connects us in a way that snatches the air from unsuspecting racists and they often can’t deal with that.
Many of the people who follow me ALWAYS disagree with what I write, which makes me wonder why they follow me in the first place. I see it as an act of aggression and an effort to intimidate, because clearly they aren’t learning anything. They often don’t add anything of value or substance to the discussion. Their never wrong. They are only in that space to contradict.
Every. Single. Time. They. Comment.
They come to tell me what I felt, what I meant, and their comments are always written in ways which are extremely condescending. Men are the biggest offenders, but it doesn’t bother me in the least because I have a father who acts the same way. I know what the behavior is all about. I know where it stems from.
I look at comments of these men when they frequently complain about my writings and I find they have a pattern. I’ll leave it at that. It’s also another clue giving away the motives of many of the NAWP people. In any event, I’m not asking for everyone to agree with me. Let’s talk, but I’m sane so no one is going to tell me what I see and experience. I can sit in a room with 400 Blacks, we can write our experiences on paper, and many of us would be able to write the same things. Like remembering the first time we got called a nigger by a White persons.
That’s real. I’m sure White people can do the same thing. I’m not going to discount their stories or invalidate them because I’m not White and it didn’t happen to me. I’m going to listen, have compassion, and try to understand what they feel like because I’ve been injured too. I have trauma.
The definition of racism is getting broader and for that I’m thankful. White people have been able to tell us what is and what is racist for centuries. They’ve essentially policed racism and who gets to claim they’ve been injured by it since it was created which is racist. It has allowed White offenders to commit all sorts of egregious acts and get away with it.
If the people you described care to stay ignorant about how their actions makes others feel (because it’s not the intent of the actions, it’s how the actions were perceived), that’s their prerogative. Our writings should not always be seen as accusations. They can be used as mirrors and/or revelations for those with eyes to see and ears to hear. Everyone won’t get it, and that’s okay. But victims are not going to continue to pretend racism doesn’t exist, and we certainly aren’t going to be silent about the injuries and harm it causes.
Just like sex-offender registries help notify us of the sex-offender(s) living in our communities, our writings on racism help others identify racists, can help us decrease racial discrimination, and could be used to help racists (intentional and accidental) identify their actions to bring about change if they really wanted to be helped. We’re making public service announcements. Those interested will take it, those who aren’t, will reject it.