The following (between *** and ***) is a piece on White Guilt being circulated on the net by Tom Adkins. Following it is my reply.
I don’t know how to make my response show up as being of equal or superior status, other than to say it out loud right here: It’s my response I want you to read. Go to the bottom of the page via clicking on “read the rest of this entry” to pick up my reply!
By Tom Adkins
This seemingly impossible event occurred because the vast majority of white Americans didn’t give a fluff about skin color, and enthusiastically pulled the voting lever for a black man. Not just any black man. A very liberal black man who spent his early career race-hustling banks, praying in a racist church for 20 years, and actively worked with America-hating domestic terrorists. Wow! Some resume! Yet they made Barak Obama their leader. Therefore, as of Nov 4th, 2008, white guilt is dead.
For over a century, the millstone of white guilt hung around our necks, retribution for slave-owning predecessors. In the 60s, American liberals began yanking that millstone while sticking a fork in the eye of black Americans, exacerbating the racial divide to extort a socialist solution. But if a black man can become President, exactly what significant barrier is left? The election of Barak Obama absolutely destroys the entire validation of liberal white guilt. The dragon is hereby slain.
So today, I’m feeling a little “uppity,” if you will. From this day forward, my tolerance level for having my skin color hustled is now exactly ZERO. And it’s time to clean house. No more Reverend Wright’s “God Damn America ,” Al Sharpton’s Churchof Perpetual Victimization , or Jesse Jackson’s rainbow racism. Cornell West? You’re a fraud. Go home. All those “black studies” programs that taught kids to hate whitey? You must now thank Whitey. And I want that on the final.
Congressional Black Caucus? Irrelevant. Maxine Waters? Shut up. ACORN? Outlawed. Black Panthers? Go home and pet your kitty. Black separatists? Find another nation that offers better dreams. Go ahead. I’m waiting.
Gangsta rappers? Start praising America . Begin with the Pledge of Allegiance. And please…no more ebonics. Speak English, and who knows where you might end up? Oh, yeah…pull up your pants. Your underwear is showing. You look stupid.
To those Eurosnots who forged entire careers hating America ? I’m still waiting for the first black French President.
And let me offer an equal opportunity whupping. I’ve always despised lazy white people. Now, I can talk smack about lazy black people. You’re poor because you quit school, did drugs, had three kids with three different fathers, and refuse to work. So when you plop your Colt 45-swilling, Oprah watchin’ butt on the couch and complain “Da Man is keepin’ me down,” allow me to inform you: Da Man is now black. You have no excuses.
No more quotas. No more handouts. No more stealing my money because someone’s great-great-great-great grandparents suffered actual pain and misery at the hands of people I have no relation to, and personally revile.
It’s time to toss that massive, obsolete race-hustle machine upon the heap of the other stupid 60s ideas. Drag it over there, by wife swapping, next to dope-smoking. Plenty of room right between free love and=2 0cop-killing. Careful…don’t trip on streaking. There ya go, don’t be gentle. Just dump it. Wash your hands. It’s filthy.
In fact, Obama’s ascension created a gargantuan irony. How can you sell class envy and American unfairness when you and your black wife went to Ivy League schools, got high-paying jobs, became millionaires, bought a mansion, and got elected President? How unfair is that??? Now, Like a delicious O’Henry tale, Obama’s spread-the-wealth campaign rendered itself moot by it’s own victory! Americ a is officially a meritocracy. Obama’s election has validated American conservatism!
So, listen carefully…Wham!!!
That’s the sound of my foot kicking the door shut on the era of white guilt. The rites have been muttered, the carcass lowered, dirt shoveled, and tombstone erected. White guilt is dead and buried.
However, despite my glee, there’s apparently one small, rabid bastion of American racism remaining. Black Americans voted 96% for Barak Obama. Hmmm. In a color-blind world, shouldn’t that be 50-50? Tonight, every black person should ask forgiveness for their apparent racism and prejudice towards white people. Maybe it’s time to start spreading the guilt around.
That the era of White Guilt is over isn’t entirely true. Mr. Adkins seems to think it stemmed from the era of slavery. Not for me, I’m afraid, for I’ve never identified with the slave owners, most of whom pretty surely came from a class above my own and, as far as I could ever see, above all my ancestors. Our family comes from an economic tier far closer to the slave than the owners, save for the one element of having had hope. Tom misses the point, I’m afraid. White Guilt isn’t about forebears.
My White Guilt started on an afternoon when the whole family was going somewhere-fishing I think. We were driving through downtown and I, then about six or seven, saw Gloria G. walking down the street. I called out her name and waved, but she didn’t see me. “Gloria! Gloria!,” I called again and waved harder, leaning out of the window. Mother pulled me back inside the car, obviously mortified. And everyone in the family began to tease me. Mercilessly. Why? Because I liked Gloria. I don’t know when I realized it, but the reason that was so bad is, today, quite obvious.
Gloria was Black.
I gave up all interest in Gloria, though she was miles ahead of all the white girls when it came to being alive and genuine. I don’t remember how I greeted her the next day. My change in attitude toward her had to hurt. To this day I’m mortified by my treason to her.
I’m glad memory works in such a protective way. And Tom thinks blacks are lazy, as a whole. I think they’ve been hurt. Hurt badly. Oh, that doesn’t make it okay to rob liquor stores or smoke crack until you’re hopelessly stupid, I know that. But it makes for a little share in White Guilt. A share that Tom has, too, whether he wants to admit it or not–whether his guilt is so much larger in his own mind as to defy confrontation, or not. But it’s not something either he or I can blame on some slave master way back in our families.
My White Guilt goes back to the endless teasing all the kids in Dunsmuir gave Marcie D. The Fungus Among Us, they all would chant. I never saw anything wrong with Marcie, except his pariah stature. I don’t remember ever calling him the Fungus, but I wouldn’t be surprised if I had. Peer pressure is hard on a young mind. Even the young mind not suffering from its direction. Marcie, of course, was Hispanic, and we had so few minorities in Dunsmuir I didn’t make sense out of what was “wrong” with him until I was in college.
My White Guilt comes from laughing at much of the ridicule Daddy would lay on passers by while sitting in the car watching people in the cities. Not that he wasn’t funny, because he was. He had a gift. But he often used it in a very destructive way without even noticing it. “Nigger” and “Jig” and I don’t know how many more derogatory and dehumanizing terms were at the core of his vocabulary. Mother and Daddy were as thoroughly racist as two people could be.
One time, while visiting us in Tahoe after mother died, Daddy said, quite honestly, that “the one thing he could never figure out was what the Indians were for.” “What do you mean, what were they for,” we asked. “Well, they weren’t Christians and you couldn’t eat them. What were they for, I wonder,” came his response. We were flabbergasted. I loved Daddy. He was a very good man. But he was also undeniably a racist. But my White Guilt wasn’t about him. I’m the one who laughed.
I remember all too clearly how I quietly allied with the other white trainmen when Leroy G., Gloria’s brother, got on the railroad as a brakeman. He’d been hired only because of the Civil Rights act. That it took a federal law inspired by even worse discrimination than I could have ever imagined to break that barrier was horrible. But broken it was, thank god. I don’t know what happened with Leroy. I don’t know if he overcame the hate. But I know he was shunned at first. And I, pretty much, went along with it. I was part of the unfair treatment he got. Why did I do it? Because of the color of his skin. Because of racism. Because I wasn’t strong enough to stand up against it.
I don’t go back to slavery for my White Guilt. I go back to my own youth. My guilt doesn’t belong to my great, great grandfather, or even my own father. Its mine. I’m the one who didn’t keep up the friendship with Gloria, I’m the one who didn’t stand up for Marcie in the face of the mindless teasing, who laughed at racist humor, and who just stayed passively silent while everyone else was actively holding their tongues.
The most uplifting thing, for me, in Obama’s victory, was how clearly it showed that the gut wrenching hatred white people had for blacks had to be taught. How, with only a generation or two of it not being cool to spew hatred at people purely because of their skin color, the generations would grow up without the hate. That’s very good news. It speaks volumes of hope for us all.
Tom still carries the hate. Its clear from his language. The man is afraid. I’m not inclined to let the hatred and fear he clings to so vigorously come out and capture the spirit of my people again. I’m not inclined to turn away like I once did. In that sense, and only in that sense, is the era of White Guilt over. Now that we can see the demographic shift in such a clear example, the pressure to let racism pass is no longer overwhelming. And, so long as we don’t let it pass, there’s no longer a need for White Guilt-that’s the only sense in which it’s over. The struggle is still ongoing. But the end is in sight-if we rise to fight for it.
No longer is letting racist rantings go unchallenged the only option. When we see racism, we can call it out, now.
Tom’s a racist.
Not because the things he says don’t have elements of truth to them, for they all do. His racism lies in where he stood in those incidents in his life that mirror mine above. That, and the fact he’s clearly never owned up to his role and rejected it. He, I’m quite sure from the tone of his voice in this piece, was one of the active voices in all those little encounters that have made the playing ground so uneven. He’s the racist in “racist America,” and I’ll not stand at his side, ever again.
Tom’s right in thinking the true ascension of Blacks, Hispanics, Indians, Moslems, and other minorities will be opened up by the lifting of the oppressive blanket that Obama’s election represents. But he’s wrong in trying to pull that cover back up, which is what this piece is about. Tom’s afraid his race won’t be able to compete with an empowered black race. I understand that: there have been few examples where blacks haven’t excelled once they broke through the barriers we used to artificially impose upon them. Sports, which I hardly follow at all any more, has been good in that way. But I have some White Pride, too. I think we’ll do just fine on a level playing field. I’m not afraid of black men. Or women, for that matter. Tom is.
But Tom is no longer in the majority, even amongst his white peers. He’s on the losing end of the struggle for the baton. The South has, finally, lost the war. But the forces of “white supremacy” are tenacious, and I’ll be one of the many on this side that are newly resolved to be tenacious and in your face about it as well.
I’m confident Tom’ll lose, now. It’s good again to be an American. Good to feel American pride instead of White Guilt-not for my forefathers, but for me.