Black People : Why White People Are Afraid

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Destee, Jan 10, 2007.

  1. Destee

    Destee destee.com STAFF

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    Why White People Are Afraid
    By Robert Jensen, AlterNet
    Posted on June 7, 2006, Printed on January 10, 2007
    http://www.alternet.org/story/36892/

    It may seem self-indulgent to talk about the fears of white people in a white-supremacist society. After all, what do white people really have to be afraid of in a world structured on white privilege? It may be self-indulgent, but it's critical to understand because these fears are part of what keeps many white people from confronting ourselves and the system.

    The first, and perhaps most crucial, fear is that of facing the fact that some of what we white people have is unearned. It's a truism that we don't really make it on our own; we all have plenty of help to achieve whatever we achieve. That means that some of what we have is the product of the work of others, distributed unevenly across society, over which we may have little or no control individually. No matter how hard we work or how smart we are, we all know -- when we are honest with ourselves -- that we did not get where we are by merit alone. And many white people are afraid of that fact.

    A second fear is crasser: White people's fear of losing what we have -- literally the fear of losing things we own if at some point the economic, political, and social systems in which we live become more just and equitable. That fear is not completely irrational; if white privilege -- along with the other kinds of privilege many of us have living in the middle class and above in an imperialist country that dominates much of the rest of the world -- were to evaporate, the distribution of resources in the United States and in the world would change, and that would be a good thing. We would have less. That redistribution of wealth would be fairer and more just. But in a world in which people have become used to affluence and material comfort, that possibility can be scary.

    A third fear involves a slightly different scenario -- a world in which non-white people might someday gain the kind of power over whites that whites have long monopolized. One hears this constantly in the conversation about immigration, the lingering fear that somehow "they" (meaning not just Mexican-Americans and Latinos more generally, but any non-white immigrants) are going to keep moving to this country and at some point become the majority demographically.

    Even though whites likely can maintain a disproportionate share of wealth, those numbers will eventually translate into political, economic, and cultural power. And then what? Many whites fear that the result won't be a system that is more just, but a system in which white people become the minority and could be treated as whites have long treated non-whites. This is perhaps the deepest fear that lives in the heart of whiteness. It is not really a fear of non-white people. It's a fear of the depravity that lives in our own hearts: Are non-white people capable of doing to us the barbaric things we have done to them?

    A final fear has probably always haunted white people but has become more powerful since the society has formally rejected overt racism: The fear of being seen, and seen-through, by non-white people. Virtually every white person I know, including white people fighting for racial justice and including myself, carries some level of racism in our minds and hearts and bodies. In our heads, we can pretend to eliminate it, but most of us know it is there. And because we are all supposed to be appropriately anti-racist, we carry that lingering racism with a new kind of fear: What if non-white people look at us and can see it? What if they can see through us? What if they can look past our anti-racist vocabulary and sense that we still don't really know how to treat them as equals? What if they know about us what we don't dare know about ourselves? What if they can see what we can't even voice?

    Click Here To Read Entire Article

    Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin. He is the author of, most recently, The Heart of Whiteness: Confronting Race, Racism and White Privilege (City Lights Books), from which this essay is excerpted.

    :heart:

    Destee
     
  2. AACOOLDRE

    AACOOLDRE Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    As long as whites have economic power it doesn't matter if they become minority. Political power is a reflection of eonomic power and so goes the educational system and etal
     
  3. Edward Williams

    Edward Williams Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I met this guy, Mr. Jensen, in Houston at a workshop. He was making a presentation on "white privilege".

    I asked him two questions after I introduced myself to him after his presentation...

    Who gives white people white privilege?

    He said: White people.

    I responded by saying: That's white supremacy (racism). Why not just call it racism (white supremacy)?

    He never responded.

    White Privilege is just another way that white people talk about the benefits they receive under the SYSTEM of racism (white supremacy) without having to talk about how the SYSTEM works and what to do to work against it. The language white people use when they talk about white privilege draws in non-white people because they use some of the same words used by non-white people when we use "counter-racism language" but they don't use those words with the same definitions. You gotta track it.

    Racism (white supremacy) is a SYSTEM that is established, maintained, expanded, and refined by white people who practice racism (white supremacy) that is designed and results in people being classified as not white (colored) and mistreated because they are said to be non-white. Under this SYSTEM of injustice white people don't get mistreated on the basis of color. Under the SYSTEM of racism (white supremacy) white people receive the benefit of not being denied bank loans like non-white people are denied...white people receive the benefit of not having higher insurance premiums like non-white have because they are said to be non-white...white people receive the benefit of not being pulled over by an enforcement official (police officer) like non-white people are because they are sad to be non-white people, etc. These are benefits for white people.

    Mr. Jensen just wants you to focus on the benefits white people receive under the SYSTEM of racism (white supremacy). He doesn't want you to focus on HOW the SYSTEM functions in all areas of people activity including economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war and what specific strategies you can employ ro replace the SYSTEM of racism (white supremacy) with a SYSTEM of justice.

    Mr. Jensen is just talking...using words to change your focus from replacing white supremacy with justice to changing your focus to the benefits of white people under the SYSTEM of white supremacy (racism), which is an unjust SYSTEM.

    Afraid? Yeah right. Fear comes rom not being able to handle something...not knowing how to handle something...not knowing how to control something. Once you know how to handle to control something there is no need to fear it. They KNOW how to handle us.
     
  4. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Question:

    Can white supremacy (racism) be defeated within the CAPITALIST "SYSTEM"?
     
  5. ShemsiEnTehuti

    ShemsiEnTehuti Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    If I may...I do not believe that it can, because freedom for our people in some way needs to be purchased from them. In order to purchase it, you then have to fully support the system to gain the capital to "free" yourself...quite ironic. Well, it isn't that simple...because the Capitalist system is set up to give an illusion of control and potential advancement. The fact of the matter is that with Capitalist means, someone always has to suffer. Someone will always be exploited. Will Whites let you exploit them? Not willingly, so the option is to exploit ourselves, which brings us back to square one.

    We need to realize that White Supremacy cannot be defeated; that is, unless you plan to kill 90% of all the Europeans and Arabs in the world. Otherwise, we need to focus on Pan-Africanism, and a form of reparations even if it means fully repairing ourselves by ourselves (which will most likely be the case).
     
  6. OmowaleX

    OmowaleX Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Thanks for the response. I agree that we need to focus on Pan-Africanism but dont think it possible to KILL 90% of all the europeans and arabs in the WORLD. I can only concern myself with those deeply entrenched in Africa, starting South then moving north and so long as we have very few leaders such as Robert Mugabe this seems an impractical task. The white landowners, both farmers and political elite, need to have properties "appropriated" but even in the African socialist countries there is no method of appropriation. And so long as African leaders rely on World Bank and IMF by what means would killing these whites and arabs be possible? They are the same ones who manufacture and/or trade the military hardware.
     
  7. Edward Williams

    Edward Williams Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    That depends on what the meaning of the word "defeated" is and what the meaning of the word "CAPITALIST" is.

    Some say Nikita Kruschev and Mao Zedong were so-called "communists" but they couldn't get their heads together. They couldn't come together, not because of so-called "communism", whatever that means, but because of COLORISM, meaning racism (white supremacy). Any so called "CAPITALIST" system that may exist only exists within the SYSTEM of racism (white supremacy). The white people who practice racism (white supremacy), meaning mistreat people on the basis of color, call themselves "CAPITALISTS" and/or call themselves "COMMUNISTS" and in the process of carrying out their "CAPITALIST" and/or "COMMUNIST" objectives you'd better belive they mistreat people on the basis of color.

    Can your question be better restated as:

    Can the global SYSTEM of racism (white supremacy) be replaced with a global SYSTEM of justice?
     
  8. mrron

    mrron Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    The article was a nice read. But the premise that white's are somehow afraid of being run out of power, doesn't really set with me. Immigration, both legal and illegal, is controlled by those in power. They can stop it any time they wish, even force some people to leave the country for being here illegally, and for not being citizens, as well. So if whites were hell bent on staying the majority in population, they would just institute measures to insure that they remain in that status.

    As to the issue's of justice and capitalism, they are entirely differnent isues. Capitalism, in it's purest form, isn't about race. It's about getting as many resources as possible and exploiting them for profit, anyone can do it with the right know how. Those capitalist with the most money follow the "golden rule". That is "those with the most gold, make the rules". So they do have the advantage of being able to own more stock, as well as owning more government officials, so they have more control over everything. But again, anybody can become rich and influential, take note of the few blacks that have achieved that status, aren't they influential?

    Justice is another matter all together. Trying to get some fair treatment in any system is difficult. There are systems in place, where one doesn't even get a trial, other's where trial's are ran by people who are already adversaries of the person on trial. Racism and sexism can't be resolved, as far as individual's are concerned. Then there's political influences, which determine outcomes. Our system is probably better than anything else on the planet, although many say it is not fair. I agree that there is lingering racism in the system, but it is not written into the law. If you are poor and black, you are doomed. If you are poor and white, you are still doomed, but not as much.

    It really doesn't matter which group is in power, they will always have a grudge against another group, based on religion, race, politics, maybe even a freud of some sort that happened a thousand years ago. Most black people will never forgive white people for slavery in ten thousand years

    So, I don't think white's are afraid of losing their power through this transition, I think they are adjusting to the inevitable.
     
  9. oldiesman

    oldiesman Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    why white people...

    as long as the man controls the military in this country,he won't be afraid of us or ANY people of color and before they'll give up that power they'll blow the whole thing to smitherines....[and write it off as a tax loss].
     
  10. 11FingerFreak

    11FingerFreak Member MEMBER

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    Oh yeah they are very afraid


    Untrue. This system you refer to was built out of fear. Like everyone else in the world they fear being persecuted, subjugated, oppressed, etc. Following a policy of "the best defense is a good offense" they did it to everyone else preemptively. Obviously it has worked to insulate whites from these things but they still harbor a nagging fear that at any moment the barbarian hordes will invade their new Rome and sack the capital. Just listen to how conservatives talk about immigrants, the Middle East, and the entire Asian continent. Having power means always being afraid of losing it to someone more ruthless than yourself.

    Furthermore, you can't really control something without respecting it. That means if what you're controlling is inherently dangerous (like constructing nuclear bombs, subduing native populations, training with a firearm, constructing a skyscraper) you have to develop a healthy fear of it. Or you die because of an arrogant assumption that "oh I have this totally under control." How many people, do you suppose, blow off a hand or finger because they forget that a gun is not a toy and don't take all the appropriate safety precautions? To their credit, caucasians have NEVER forgotten to fear those they rule.

    Also consider that most of our politics run on fear. Everyone is scared of something. Scared of losing their jobs because of outsourcing, scared of Muslims, scared of mythical terrorists hiding under their beds, scared of the Black guy in the mail room (he looks like one of those "angry" ones, right?), scared that they might secretly want to sleep with that same Black guy in the mail room (yes they are really that weird), scared their homes with lose value as the housing bubble bursts, scared they don't have the money to retire. Without all that fear they'd get nothing done. No antidrug laws would be passed unless someone was really scared of drug users. Without getting people afraid of being killed by drunk drivers we wouldn't have cops trolling for them every night and without the fear of getting caught we would all cruise around fearlessly drinking PBR at 80 MPH.

    Fear is an excellent motivator and racism is a overt response to it. Racism and the sociopolitical structures that support it are the result of a basic fear we humans call xenophobia - the fear of anything alien from us and our little group whatever it is. Xenophobia is inherent in every living thing with sense enough to know others might kill it and eat it. Without xenophobia our distant ancestors would have gone around petting saber toothed tigers only to find themselves a menu item. Unfortunately, that particular fear can just as easily be turned against groups of humans as it can against other animals. And that's what we have here - xenophobes who wield racism against others to ward off their deep set fear of anything different from them.

    Too bad it doesn't actually make them any less afraid, huh?
     
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