I was once asked at the end of my freshman year in college “what do you think is the biggest change in personality or thought that you’ve had since you came to this college.”
“I don’t hate White people as much.” I replied.
I used to hate white folk.
I was raised to hate white folk
Every single one , I was taught, was the sole reason behind my oppression. I viewed them as agents of oppression, as physical manifestations of a system that want my people in jail, dying in the streets, or in the cemetary. Growing up in a place where everyday, looking out onto your neighborhood is constant reminder of the brutality of the system makes one very prone to blanketed reactionary politics. I grew up in Washington DC where is it is quite possible to go about your entire day without seeing someone of another ethnicity, the city is that divided. Thus, for me, seeing White people came in two forms; teachers and police. Both oppressive forces in my life, though this was not always true of the teachers. As I begin to navigate myself through the world I constantly came up against the wall of racism as most people of color, Blacks in particular, do.
The State, which has a particular interest in suppressing and terrorizing Blacks seeing as though they occupy a specific position of excess labor in the White capitalist system and thus are more prone to the most brutal aspects of Capitalism; ie unemployment, police brutality, poor medical attention. These conditions, which are faced by the majority of Blacks in this country, create a rage in the belly of many Blacks, the youth in particular who look onto a world of haves and have nots with perfect clarity about their positioning. It is because of this that we see police presence and terrorism reach terrifying heights in Black communities and it is also no mistake that the overwhelming majority of the pigs parading as officers are White and middle class. The State apparatus feeds on the race divisions set up and uses them to suppress the rebellion which would arise as the result of the lower classes realizing the contradictions of this system. This is all a very long winded way of saying that the pigs fucked with me and my friends to no end and usually were white. (I was trying to give too much theory, sorry I hope you didn’t get lost in it, I kinda did. . . =()
When I entered the work place I was always met with awe and dismay when I would accomplish task, remedial ones mind you) on time and proficiently. My White overseers (supervisors) would often greet me with compliments like “that’s why your my favorite” or “wow it’s just incredible how fast you can do this”. I know that to some people, this may sound trivial and not important, but when placed in the context of me being a young Black man and my overseers being White men, it takes on a different character. One in which, I felt demeaned, commoditized and tokienized.
My interactions with White people were usually limited to these, and other smaller ones with those who arrived in the city as a result of gentrification or work. In both cases, Black youth were usually treated with disdain and as the White population in the city increased, and continues to do so, more restrictions and laws were erected and targeted at controlling and restricting the liberties of the Blacks in the city, in particular the youth. One example being the 10pm curfew law.
One of the few positive relations I had with a White person was the one I had with my mentor at the after school program I attended, although looking back now I see many areas where her positioning above me and ability to set certain standards was problematic and helped to reinforce the same white supremacist/ anti Black ideology that dominates the culture.
In any case, I grew to be very hostile towards White people, which is why when I first arrived in San Francisco for college, I was in complete culture shock. I was in more shock when my best friend became a White womyn. This relationship became the beginning of the deconstruction of my hatred for Whites. Later on, a greater understanding of class and history drove me away from plain hatred of White people and anything associated with them. Instead of seeing them as these villainous characters on the stage of history, I know see them as a people who have been shaped and molded by the material conditions of history. Capitalism, fueled by racism, drove many European nations to build this society on the backs of slaves and some have profited financially from that ever since. The white supremacist ideology that was so intrenched in the birth of this nation legitimized the constant terrorism and oppression of Black on one hand while on the other it birthed White privilege, the buffer that initially blinds Whites from understanding and analysing their place in this decadent society and thus causes destructive behavior.
At this point, I am pretty much rambling and want to stop because I am tired. But the point of this excercise was to begin to explore how my attitudes have chaged over the years towards White people in general and understanding my place in this society specifically. Does this mean that I don’t from time to time get upset at White people for their ignorance, due to the fact that their hasnt been some serious revolutionary education and organizing in the white working and middle class communities? No I am often furious at the effects that White privilege has had on some of my friends, comrades, and people I run into. However, I try to demonize the culture and work with the person, it’s a new motto I am trying to follow. It has to be if I want this revolution thing to happen.