Image via WikipediaYou already know how I feel about racists, but the recent Twitter trending topic #OnlyWhitePeople has inspired me to blog once more on the issue and share with you a personal story.
Apparently some believe that white people cannot experience racism first hand, they can only be the perpetrators.
I don't believe that, in fact I think that statement is a load of hogwash. Anyone can be ignorant or idiotic, it doesn't matter what color your skin is. I've been discriminated against because of my skin color more than enough times in my life to tell you that yes, you can be racist towards a white person, and I'm not someone who gets easily offended over silly things.
A lot of the jokes people were cracking about crackers on Twitter were actually pretty funny, and I really have no problem with people saying that Caucasians smell like wet dogs and put leashes on their kids. That ish is funny, mostly because there's some truth in it (I've smelled many a white person wearing "eau de moist pooch").
It's fun to joke about stereotypes and point out the differences among cultures, but it's another thing to hate someone because they're different from you. One tweet that I kept seeing in this trending topic was "#OnlyWhitePeople can be racist." Huh?
Please understand where I'm coming from: I'm not trying to make a huge issue out of this or say that this problem is any greater than any other kind of racism, because it's not. I completely understand, and disagree with, how inherently flawed our institutions are and how racism plays a huge role in the disproportionate numbers of African-Americans and Latinos in prison populations and in poverty.
The system needs a major overhaul in changes and these and other issues clearly deserve a serious discussion. I'm totally on board because I believe that the power in this country should not solely belong to rich white men. It's not right, and it's the reason why women and minorities have so much stacked against them.
My only point in writing this blog post is that anyone can be a racist idiot.
It irks me that some believe that just because I'm white I cannot be the victim of racism, or that if I am victimized in that way it is somehow justifiable. I was physically assaulted in the past because of my skin color, and it was horrible. Though I never reported it, I still remember the incident as if it happened yesterday, and it definitely wasn't justified-- even if I do happen to be pale.
I was riding the elevated train in Philly one summer, going from Center City to the Northeast, with my friend Star, who happens to be a six foot two inch African-American woman. I was sitting on the aisle side of the bench next to Star on a packed train and incidentally I was the only white person in the train car.
Just as the train was getting ready to pull out of the station, at the stop just before Frankfort, a thirteen year old boy quickly punched me in the face and ran out between the closing doors. "White bitch." I could see him laughing and joking with his friends on the platform as the train rode away.
"Don't cry," Star said and held my hand as I attempted to push back my angry tears. I kept silent until we got to our destination, the next stop, mostly because I was in shock. I didn't understand why a stranger would want to hurt me just because of my skin color. The punch hurt, but the sting of that ignorance-fueled hatred hurt more.
It was hard to process.
I've always been against racism and I've always been against privileges for only certain sections of society. I'm what you might call an egalitarian, though I try not to attach labels to myself. The idea of simply hating the ruling power is not constructive-- we need ideas, and we need unity.
Yeah, I'm not a fan of how things are going politically right now with the way banks and big businesses are being favored over the regular people, like myself and countless others, who depend on some social services because we cannot afford to pay for those services ourselves. But instead of simply hating and physically attacking those who lobby for big business and other evils, I'm going to do my homework and vote and protest and write about these things so that more people can know and protest with me.
Punching a random stranger may relieve some sort of stress, but that same random stranger may actually be on your side. Am I just rambling now? What do you think?