Monday, March 31, 2008

Perspective on race, from an older white man

Read it if you have the courage:

I guess to understand black anger I would have to be black. I would have to be thought of first as three fifths of a man. I would have to have had my race lynched, economically deprived, educationally slighted. I would have had to be forced to live separately and had my women thought of as sexually available by the very fact of their blackness. I would have to be thought of as less intelligent. I would have to be thought of as black if but one drop of black blood made me so. What color is a man if his mother is white and his father is black?

I had a classmate in college from Indiana who told me blacks had smaller brains, couldn't do the same tasks as whites and that in a fight you had to hit them first in the legs to bring them down because their skull bones were thicker and you couldn't hurt them in a fight if you hit them in the head. He honestly believed that. That was in 1967. Just over forty years ago. Barrack Obama would have been six then. I've been in bars where blacks weren't allowed. Barrack Obama would have been almost ten.


Close your eyes. ...Think of two people you know. One who is white, the other who is black. Now, describe them. Start with the white. He's how tall? What color are his eyes, his hair? Shape his nose and ears for yourself. I needn't go farther. Think of your black person. Begin the description without thinking, "he is black." You won't get much more in your description will you?

...the simple fact is that race issues in America begin and end with color. Europeans, Asians, Latinos and mostly all other immigrants can "overcome" their differentiation because they are not black. African Americans cannot. And because for more than three hundred and fifty years of American history they have been ill treated simply because of their skin color, they have been denied opportunity at every juncture of their own country's history, their anger is deeply felt and honestly come by.

0 talk back: