NDoR™s usually break out after an egregious racial event occurs, and are typically (reactionary, nuance-lacking) affairs that lowest-common-denominate to a few buzz-topics: Black on Black Crime™, White Privilege™ and White Supremacy™. I thought I’d have a little fun and break down these topics Tricky Relativity style…
Black on Black Crime™
The people making the claim that BoBC™ should be more—or at least—equal of a concern to black folks as police brutality make a good point (in a how-the-narrative-is-presented-to-them-in-the-media-both-mainstream-and-social sense; they SEE WAY MORE black faces bemoaning white-on-black violence than black-on-black violence). Just imagine the same yelling-at-old-guys-in-public fanfare devoted to inner city crime. But here’s the thing: That shit ain’t sexy. Interracial shit is. Just check your porn history, you’ll see. It’s more titillating when it’s one versus the other. Nobody gives much of a’fuck about the (not as aberrant) ‘intra’ crimes of their people (shit’s like a scrimmage). It’s always much more big of a deal when someone else fucks with your people. For instance, you can beat the shit outta your own brother, but if some stranger suddenly bursts into your home and whoops his ass you’d be livid! Also, the intra-family violence happens so damn much that you’d kill yourself trying to respond to it every time. Shit would be tiring as hell. That’s why you gotta blind-eye those. It’s not even a choice you consciously make! It just becomes the ‘way it is.’ You get used to it. Become numb to it. But here’s the thing: there are some people who have grown numb to brutality, to mandatory minimums, to lack of hope.
BoBC™ Bonus: There is something peculiar about the conservative blowhards who use BoBC™ as some sort of indicator that black people are genetically inferior to every other race on this damn planet, and as a result have no right to play the victim card. My question is: If this savagery is inherent then wouldn’t that mean black people are ‘victims’ of inauspicious genetic programming and would actually REQUIRE special care and attention from the superior races? (Kinda like animals in a zoo.) Shouldn’t these dudes be a little more sympathetic? (Conservative Blowhard: “That’s the job of white liberals.”)
Just imagine hearing over-and-over again that you have an advantage over others (like a SUPERIOR advantage); and it doesn’t matter if this is true to you or not, just imagine hearing “Your life MATTERS more than mine.” ad nauseum. How would you take it? Considering that many of us—regardless of race—are either closet, or raging narcissists we’d probably respond with “What the hell am ‘I’ supposed to do about that?” disdain…or become emboldened by it in a “Damn, I actually feel pretty wack most days, but if ALL these ‘others’ are saying I’m better than them then fuck it I’ll exploit the hell out of it for personal gain. Hell, can’t be mad at an easy self-esteem boost.” kinda way. But really, what do the people making the you-got-it-better-than-me claim want the privileged person to do? Relinquish some of their privilege so everyone can be equally privileged? Or do they just want them to guiltily ADMIT to it, kinda like when your team loses a close game due to controversial calls, you want the winning team’s fans to admit that the lopsided officiating contributed greatly to their team’s victory. Like it was the whole damn reason why they won.
What we don’t talk about much is the fact that privilege is relative and EVERYBODY exploits whatever ‘edge’ they feel they have. Just think about the ‘edges’ YOU exploit. Certain ‘permissions’ YOU have that others do not. Are you willing to relinquish them? If not, why not? Also, are any of these linked to whatever group you identify with?
Maybe the point of all this privilege talk is to get us to pause for a moment and consider who and what we are exploiting. I can most definitely see how that could be beneficial. It’s a fast and easy way to check our pride. Don’t know if breathlessly demanding that others check THEIR pride is AS beneficial though. Not just because you’re asking someone to do something you’re not willing to do yourself, but because denying your own unique, relative privilege can lead to forgetting that there is—at the very least—someONE, someWHERE who can say to YOU, “Your life is better than mine.”
In no way am I insinuating that you have no right to your plight, just saying that damn near everybody (with some bottom-barrel exceptions) can assert ‘relative’ confidence in their social positions (some bottom-barrelers achieve this through an association with a ‘higher’ god and disassociation with a ‘lower’ devil).
Now this one is tricky. This is the one that can potentially lead to identity crises. How do you know if you are ‘you’ and not some brown-skinned puppet of White Supremacy™? Not in the Clayton Bigsby sense, but in the…
- “Would I be sitting here in this DKNY romper watching reruns of Seinfeld while eating this microwaved chicken Cordon bleu if my ancestors weren’t stolen from their land? And does my immense enjoyment of this moment somehow dishonor their memory/legacy?”
…sense. Such a crisis can lead to overcompensation. Might go way overboard trying to suppress your guilt for enjoying ‘white’ shit which may result in you becoming an angry mess. I mean you REALLY fucking liked Seinfeld and you’re gonna miss it now that you gotta be all black an’ shit. Damn, why can’t you just have access to the ‘white’ things that bring you joy, while still being PERCEIVED as ‘culturally’ black? Fuck it. You’ll just ‘closet’ your ‘whiteness’ and publicize your ‘blackness.’ Have your German chocolate cake and eat it too.
Maybe it’s this who-the-hell-am-I-supposed/allowed-to-be? mindfuck that is White Supremacy™’s1 most damaging quality. But here’s the thing: this affects EVERY-DAMN-BODY. Most people (including white men) feel trapped by the same bullshit white male patriarchal ideal (all our cultural ideals are kinda bullshit). Just think about it: everything from black rights to women’s rights to gay rights to just ALL the damn rights are a REACTION to this ideal.
We’re ALL in this shit together, no matter how much we fight it. Actually—and of course ironically—the MORE we fight against this the more this truth becomes apparent; in order to create distance we need a ‘point’ to MOVE away FROM. And if we have defined ourselves by how far we are removed from a certain point then without that point what are we?
WE DON’T FUCKING KNOW!!!!!!
Even when we physically pull away from each other we come smashing right back together via our incessant bitching about one another and overcompensating compare/contrast politics (“I’ll see your Confederate flag face tattoo and raise you a ten-foot-tall dashiki.”). It’s funny, the more we claim to hate someone the more we can’t shut up about them. The more they come to DEFINE us! Oh, the irony.
A few months ago I saw this video pop up on Facebook (WARNING: real-life violence) and I made a comment about getting a vicarious thrill from watching it. However, my ‘vicarious thrill’ was a cover for my cowardice in similar situations. Now I’ve never been assaulted on a bus, but I have been annoyed by similar characters and didn’t do a damn thing about it. It is the tension that welled up inside of me, due to my dissatisfaction with my lack of action, that this appealed to. Also, the “That’s right, drop that little nigga!” feeling I got in my gut is the SAME feeling some people get when they hear about police shootings. And no, I’m not inappropriately conflating these issues; no matter the differences in our roads to the feeling—the ‘thrill’—is EXACTLY the same. Some of us have so much pent up anger and frustration that it strangles our compassion. We become this…
- “Something about the unjustly murdered man/woman reminds me of people I have daily encounters with. People who intimidate and annoy the hell outta me… Good riddance.”2
As with privilege, most of us—regardless of race, gender, religion, yada bloody yada—have these thoughts about at least one group of people. These people represent our personal ‘devils’; the people we’re most afraid of, and as a result deeply mystified by. They’re our weight, our gravity. They keep us anchored to the ground. We can’t escape them. But we don’t really seem to want to. We dig the contrast they provide. They MAKE us who we are. We NEED them even though we claim we don’t WANT them.
We’re always whinging about how we want to be free, but yet we’re afraid of the weightlessness of ‘true’ freedom. There’s nothing to hold on to. It’s here and also there. It’s up and also down. It’s large and also small. It’s everywhere and nowhere. In other words: un-fucking-fathomable, but the surface isn’t, we can see the surface, RELATE to the surface. Maybe that’s why we worship it with our pride.
1. One of the most troubling things about having your humanity constantly reduced to A race: You end up reducing other people to similar monoliths based on their opinions of your race.↩
2. When intimidated people may respond with effusively deferential ‘respect,’ but when they get away from the source of their intimidation they let the vitriol fly. This type of momentary deference confuses many of us into thinking people are ‘cool’ with us, but in reality we’re just leaning on intimidation (and/or in some cases fetishism). But when you think about it: Doesn’t this define MOST of our tenuous connections with other humans, regardless of them being of a different race than us? Even if we don’t feel physically threatened by them, we may feel ‘threatened’ to acquiesce to some idea of what we think they think we should be.↩