Hi My New Friend David,
I’ll try to be un-tired just for you (lol). I really appreciate your robust explanation about your lack of grasp and breadth of how deep racism runs. It helps me with framing my responses.
First and foremost I’d like to say getting knowledge about racism is like getting understanding about Christianity or any other religion for that matter. You must spend lots of time learning about it from a lot of different aspects and vehicles. Immersion, spending time in places where Black people gather (i.e. cultural festivals, music festivals, etc.), try soul food restaurants in the not-so-nice parts of town. Watch movies created by Black people about race. Stay away from those movies made by White people that make about race.
Watch Bamboozled by Spike Lee — it’s a perfect movie made by a Black person about blackface. Watch BlacKkKlansmen (another Spike Lee movie)— it’s a perfect movie that teaches how Whites have infiltrated every aspect of society to pitch racism and pretty it up making it more palatable for all involved. Spike Lee has spent his entire movie career discussing the subtle and overt ways racism impacts Black, Non-Black People of Color, and White lives. The Academy award shows love to acknowledge movies where Blacks are maids, slaves, housekeepers, broke down, or sex partners for White men. Explore movies produced by Blacks on race. They get into the nuances of race.
Search the history of Jamestown, VA the place where the first slaves arrived — learn about that State’s history. Learn about the all the American presidents who owned slaves. Learn about how Columbus didn’t discover America. Learn about the history of Florida and how Spaniards and Native American Indians lived peacefully (most times). Learn about the history of Charleston, SC and slavery. America has a rich steeped in racism, terrorism, and hate. It’s the reason Charlottesville was selected for the Alt-Right
Learn about America’s history and how the nation has lied to White people about it. Like 10 of the nation’s 12 first Presidents owned slave. Research Sally Hemings — was an enslaved woman of mixed race owned by President Thomas Jefferson of the United States. Why do you think there are so many Black people in the nation’s capital? Many are the descendants of slavery.
To me, blackface is insulting when White people have used and benefited from black labor. It’s simply not right to be the butt of all things White people believe are funny. It starts with simply having empathy and being able to know right from wrong — never waver from it. As you explore real American history, you’ll discover discover just how cruel White people have always been to Black people. They also taught other groups immigrating here to be as racist and cruel to us to. Whiteness and taught every other ethnic group how to segregate itself from Blackness, the least desirable and most hated group.
I wrote an essay on how White people segregated themselves on purpose and basically hijacked our public and private education systems so that they could Whitewash control what the American people (Black, White, and Other) learn (or not learn).
Read the book “Mother’s of Massive Resistance” by Elizabeth Gillespie McRae which teaches how White women (mothers, etc.) were the invisible arm of White Supremacy in America. It’s a book written about pre-and post Civil War and Civil Rights area social engineering of sorts to maintain racial segregation, Jim Crow laws, ensure Whites continue to shape “the New Right” today which as evolved into lots of things — GOP Conservatism, Neo-Conservatism, the Tea Party, the Freedom Caucus, Evangelicalism, and all things White.
This books goes from discussing racism in education and politics from back in 1924 to today. It’s an eye popping (and sickening) look at how White women have literally continued segregation in America unnoticed, and shows just how dangerous White women can be to people of color intentionally or accidentally by supporting segregation.
Finally, try to remember your girlfriend’s Black isn’t my Black. If I remember correctly, your girlfriend is Jamaican — but I’m not sure if she grew up in America and experienced American racism. She may not be your best vehicle to learn about American racism from. Jamaicans are not classified as distinctively white or black (they are represent their country — not a particular race) like we are here in the U.S., so using your girlfriend as a measure of your co-signing Blackness is not really appropriate.
Your girlfriend may Black, but she may not have had the full black American experience. Jamaicans are divided along socioeconomic class which, in Jamaica, is a much bigger issue than racism itself. Here in America we have both. For Jamaicans, discrimination because you are poor is a much more profound issue than racism. While classism and racism are intertwined, for a longtime Jamaicans have identified more with class than they have with race. But they are starting to see how the two are intertwined more and more.
As you can see, Black is not a monolith. There is really a lot to learn about Blackness.
You will really have to unlearn what you’ve learned and be willing and open to experiencing something new.
I tell people all the time if it weren’t for White people sharing and imparting with me on a professional level (in particular White men), I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to do all the wonderful things I’ve done throughout my adult life, to include going back to school and attaining my college degree (the first of my siblings, despite me being in foster care). I will also say I’ve rarely been mistreated in my professional life by White men — always though by White women. When I read the book Mothers of Massive Resistance it made it all clear to me how White women play a huge role in facilitating racism and segregation. This is what I call knowing my whites.
We will talk — but feel free to ask questions David. I appreciate you trusting me to have such discussions. I’m sorry we all sound so angry. Some of us are at different times for different reasons — but we mean well. Writing is a way for many of us to have conversations we can’t have in person because White people are so easily offended of so afraid they’ll have to admit they are wrong for something. Some Whites are upset once they learn their privilege means others lack — and they don’t want to give that up! Sometimes Whites learn they will have to lose in order for us to finally gain — and they don’t want any of that either (lol). No one wants to lose — but White people should feel funny or uncomfortable naturally if you win all the time via orchestrated or unclean methods. But they don’t.
Let me put it this way. Being black is like going to the casino and putting all of your hard earned money in every slot machine you come in contact with — and you never win. We all know they games are rigged but they are called games of chance.
You ask a White person on the machine next to you who is winning “bigly,” and they tell you all I did was put a little of his inheritance in the machine and it’s been paying off for him/her since. So the White person just sits there in comfort in that one spot — playing the game — winning all the money. They laugh when the Black person walks away, because they know the games are rigged — yet they never share the info, and they don’t share the wealth.
The Black person is running around trying to do what the White person told them, but it simply doesn’t work.
We Black people in the U.S. are running around trying to play a game of chance when the game is rigged by Whites in America. Blackface and other ethnic insults adds more hurt to people who are already injured tying to engage in a system that’s rigged.
Your learning helps us. Your allyship helps us. Your educating other Whites helps us. Your being apart of our community helps us. Your sharing helps us. Your allyship helps you point out wrongs among Whites and it causes you to hold Whites accountable.
We are all human, and we need the same things to survive. We need to learn, reconcile, and try fix all the things broken. Until Whites learn and then unlearn all the racist ways in their lives (to include saying you don’t see color — it’s not true), then we will never move past the divides you see today.