This has been bothering me for a while, and with a post yesterday it only made it worse. I love definitions and word meanings, but I do not like it when words change to mean things that seriously limit the word. I’ll just go with the word “Racism” right now. The dictionary says that anyone can be racist. But apparently in the academic world, it means “Racism is having power over someone & using it in some sort of institutional way.” I’ve been trying to understand why they would change it. What good comes from changing it? What good comes of limiting the word so much? There is a difference between “racism” and “institutional racism.” Suddenly saying that someone can’t be racist because they’re the oppressed does not bring us together, it separates us further.
The US is different in how whites have treated blacks, and there is definitely still a serious problem that needs to be fixed. Racism is still very much alive and well here, but as others have said, it’s sneakier. It’s posts that say things like, “They needed a translator at the benefits office – someone came in speaking English!” It’s even just a look, a sneer, a simple glance. Body language says a lot and our children see that. And many people aren’t even aware of their own prejudice because it’s something they grew up with, it was the norm.
There’s one thing about this that’s seriously bothering me though, and I’ve been having trouble figuring out how to say it correctly. This one person posted her opinion that had racist undertones and she was ganged up on for it until she left the group. Was she racist? I don’t know, but is it really praise worthy to insult someone just because it’s a sensitive issue? Even if she is racist, it certainly won’t change her point of view to attack her! And because she unfriended the person who attacked her (who happens to be black), she was labeled racist even more and people started talking crap about her behind her back because apparently it’s ok to talk crap about someone. She was seriously hurt by the things said to her. And when I started asking questions about this new definition, something I still don’t understand, I was also attacked, although not as badly. When someone said “A white person being discriminated against is maybe someone rolling their eyes. Maybe not being nice or something, calling then a name.”, I said that wasn’t true and gave examples, and then had everyone tell me how wrong I was. It doesn’t make sense. I’m all for equal treatment, but that wasn’t equal. I hate that it seemed like they were only saying that the main attacker was in the right was because she’s black. That does not help equality! That separates us even more!
So while I was trying to sleep last night, I kept thinking about it over and over again. This comment, “And if a person has felt that ONE instance of discrimination *SO STRONGLY*, then how do they think it feels to have that shit happen day in & day out for ever??” Made me think about sexual molestation vs rape. Would you tell someone, “Sucks that you were sexually molested, but hey, at least you aren’t raped every day!” It doesn’t make the molestation victim feel any better, it makes them feel worse. I have experienced discrimination, it isn’t pleasant, and I can’t even begin to imagine how bad it would be if I were black or Hispanic or anything else. But why should our feelings be discounted just because others have it worse? We may not be able to compare, but it still hurts. And they just talked as if I was trying to compare the two, when I was just saying that it does happen. That was *all* I was saying. But they kept twisting it and discounting any experience a white person has, because it’s totes not the same. Sexual molestation is not the same as rape, but it still makes you feel horrible. Invalidating someone’s feelings just because they’re white is discrimination in and of itself.
I keep trying to be equal, I keep trying to defend both sides, see other points of views, try to understand others, but it’s really hard when I get beat down like that. I want equality. I love fairness and despise injustice. I treat everyone the same, because to me, humans are humans. But lately, I’ve been disliking humans more and more. I have seen assholes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, ethnicities, etc. Humans are jerks, plain and simple, and they love violence too much to change. We smear the name of people like Gandhi and MLKJ when we react with violence. Being nonviolent doesn’t mean you have to be passive. Nonviolence is very active. People need to use communication, they need to think about the situation, understand that it’s above our own personal feelings. But our own personal feelings tangle us up and we end up not seeing past our own noses because “we’re right, they’re wrong.”
What these people were saying wasn’t entirely wrong, but the fact that they weren’t listening to me, that they were saying I was saying something else, that is miscommunication and it hurts. There are no hidden meanings in my words, I say what I mean and I mean what I say. If I’m wrong, I like to know, because I don’t like being wrong. I like knowing the truth, and I want to spread the truth. I hate miscommunication, I hate it when things get twisted, and our media is so good at that and it spreads through our societies. I’m tired of people, tired of emotions, and tired of the lack of logic… but I have a drive to help people understand. I may not have all the answers, but if we work together, we can figure it out. There are ways. People just have to be willing.