Sunday, March 16, 2008

Seeing through Black Eyes

I have a little problem.

My problem is that I am a little biased towards my people. If I am in a group of strange people, I always gravitate towards the person in the room that looks like me. (I.E. Black). I would rather be around black people even though I have white friends.

But are they really my friends?

I have one white guy I really consider my friend. He is my family. This guy is my brother. We were in the Army together for the last 5 years of my military career. He lives in Northern Cali now, but we talk at least once a week.

One white guy that I consider a friend out of the hundreds of white guys I have known throughout my life.

The white guys that I hang with every now and again are cool, but would I consider them "friends"? I have never been to their houses, they have never been to mine. The few times we do see each other after work, we meet somewhere neutral. I have never met their families and they have never met mine. Some of these guys are really cool, and I would love to meet their significant others, but we just haven't gotten around to it.

Sometimes I feel that I don't have anything in common with white people. I know that the majority of white people in this country have the same feelings about life that I do. I know that they have the same fears about life that I do. I know that they love life the way I do, so I just don't understand why I feel this way.

I cannot understand why white people cannot see the America that I see. They cannot understand why I cannot see their America. I mean it does not take X-ray vision to see how hateful America is towards people of color. It does not take X-ray vision to see that the Just-us System was not designed for people of color. It does not take X-ray vision to see that the health care, housing and job markets were not designed for people of color. I heard a question this morning that Pastor Freddie Haynes the senior Pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church said he heard being asked by a commentator on Fix Noise, "Why is there even a Black Church?" Well there would be no need for a "black" church if the American Government lived up to the pretense that is written in their Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal. The black church was invented because white churches would not accept black members.

There was no problem with race until America made it one. Black people have never randomly killed white people just because of their white skin. Black people have never lynched a white man for looking at a black woman. Black people have never stopped a white person from moving into a black neighborhood. Black people have never stopped a white person from getting a job. Nobody white in America was stripped of their identity, their family, their culture, their religion, or their language. White people have never been told that they were so worthless that they are not even counted as a full human being. Nobody white has ever been subjected to what the average black person in America has been subjected to.

We have made great gains in this country considering the way it used to be for us here. We can live where we want, eat where we want, go to any school we want, even marry who we want.

All this has been accomplished by brave white people that decided to fight the status quo and go against their peers, and also by even braver Black people that were tired of being sick and tired.

I hope that I will live long enough to see the day that I feel at home where ever I choose to go in this country. I hope I will live long enough to see the day that I can truly say that I have real friends of different races, not just real friends of my race.

I hope that I will live to see the day where I don't see the world through Black eyes.

The Audacity of Hope.

Can my hopes be attained?


David Sullivan said...

Here in NE we have Polish Churches, French Churches, Irish Churches, Italian Churches, Puerto Rican Churches all started for the same reason...the folks that started them all felt that they were not welcomed at the other peoples churches. People naturally go where they are wanted. Its human nature. Now many of those churches have parishoners of all backgrounds.

I see the America you see. I see the hypocracy. I see the double standards. But things won't change if we continue to emphasise our differences and fears instead of our commonalities and hopes.

Dirty Red said...

This is why I like you.
Whenever you are down here in Big D, I would love to buy you a beer. I would even introduce you to my kin-folk.

David Sullivan said...

Kin-Folk? Hot Damn! *smile*

From "Full Metal Jacket":

"Holy dog shit. Texas? Only steers and queers come from Texas, Private Cowboy. And you don't look much like a steer to me so that kinda narrows it down."

Same goes if you ever make it up to Massachusetts.

jjbrock said...

Dirty Red great article. I love the Black Church it has been the one place that I felt accept and did not have to be any body else. We all came out of the same struggle so what the pastor said on Sunday morning we could understand it.

I agree with your pastor statement on why we have The Black Church.

ZACK said...

We hope for what we can't see. And right now, we want to look past race but we can't.

The whole Obama-Wright fiasco is proof of how races view the same "game" differently and root for their respective team accordingly.

But I disagree with you on how you view your white friends. I have some white friends who are really nice to me. I don't see race when they are treating me good. I just see a good person. And I hope they see me that way.

In college, my white roommate was my closest friend. But he always accused me of being racist because he couldn't believe a black guy would accept him for who he was. And he was a trip! I'm talking, heavy metal attire, demonic movie posters, rock music listening, the whole 9!

But I saw a good man and a good friend. Race only mattered to him, not me. I hope that we can get there one day Dirty Red. I hope that we can. And you can come to the CHI and have a Sprite on me because I don't drink.

David Sullivan said...

Zach, you are a better man than me. If I walked into my dorm room and saw a "metal head" with blood and gore paraphanillia all over the place I would be OUT. LOL

Lonny said...

I hope we can all get past our prejudices.

White People who are prejudiced against people of color and Black people who assume that White people are prejudiced against them.

While there are alot racist White people in the world, try to judge us as individuals.

That's really what everyone wants right? To be judged on his or her own merits and not on preconceived notions.

Saint Lucian Dutch Canadian said...

That was a great post. I understand where you're coming from. I'm the same way - if I go to class, I look for any others that may be like me and gravitate towards them. I prefer being around people who are (black) like me. If that makes me a racist then so be it. Of course, I've learned that not all black people think like this (i.e. prefer their own) and so aren't that open and welcoming. As for things changing and people being judged as individuals and not based on preconceived notions, I don't think it will ever happen.

ZACK said...

lonny is 100% right! I couldn't have said it better myself.

daddio911 said...

I honestly don't think that the past will be the past until it stops affecting the present. What I mean by this is the african american is the only race that never got reperations for the wrongs done to them in the past. Native americans continue to get theres..... Asian americans got theres..... Jewish americans got theres.... Hell when all is said and done, the mexican americans will get theres and all this country did to them was steal California and Texas from Santa Ana. Until people get their 2 acres and a mule (at today's calculations I guess it would be more like a lot and an Suv) nothing will be forgotten. This country had some misconstrued idea that giving a leg up thru social programs, which honestly are designed to keep us askng for more, not fostering self-sufficiency, would make us happy and make everything better. I want to see in my lifetime the tobacco industry, who profitted due to slave labor...... The cotton indusry which profitted due to slave labor........ Even the federal government who has prospered off the backs of our people pay for screwing us around and allowibg law to be their sword. They brought us over here to serve, then cast us aside when it didn't serve their needs any longer. Until we truly get what we are due......all we are is a group of individuals climbing over eachother's back to get ahead..... never happy and maybe never fulfilled. It's hard to feel strong in a world constantly telling you that you are weak. Maybe when people of color see themselves on or above the level of other races, will they stop the feelings that are written about in this blog.

Jackie said...

Good post! I feel you about friends that you are close to but there seems to be a line where you don't cross into personal space. I guess that's fine. People are in your life for different reasons.

It is difficult to understand how white people can't see what blacks have endured and still go through. Why they can't see our America when basically we all have the same feelings about life. It's even harder to understand how blacks, who should know about bigotry, can inflict the same thing on gay people. That's why ministers like Rev. Wright are so important. They want to call him devisive. He is anything but.

phx said...

Great post, and these are the kinds of discussions that all of us need to have TOGETHER right now. We have to learn to listen to each other without becoming personally offended at the first complaint...or the first ugly truth about ourselves that we don't want to hear. It's not going to be easy, because a lot of people won't be able to get past their prejudice and won't be able to get past their anger. That's why it's important for the fairly sane to have patience and stay engaged. There have been times over the last several months when I've just about despaired over the possibility that we can move beyond our prejudice and anger, but Obama's speech restored MY sense of hope. Now it's up to us however to start putting into practice his vision. If we can do that, he will have left a legacy that generations can be grateful for, even before he becomes president.

brran1 said...

Definitely a good post Dirty Red.

I personally feel as if although people of other races may sympathize with us, they will never truly understand where we come from as African Americans. Sure, you have those that can look past race and previous issues and just see the person. But then on the other hand, you have those that let race define them and their thoughts.

Until people of other races experience slavery, persecution and being treated like second class citizens regardless of how successful you may be, they will never truly understand.

David Sullivan said...

Brran1: Check out my post about this Irish. Black americans aren't the only race of people to be persecuted in the history of the world. The Irish have experianced all three of those heartaches.

Kriss said...

Great post. The truth is they can't and won't ever understand and to be honest, the sooner they accept that, the better off we'll be. It's sad but I find that comedy shows seem to express the situation in this country the best. In this case it was an episode of South Park. Stan's father said the N-word and Stan spent the entire episode trying to apology and understand why Token was mad. Finally it hit him...he'll never understand because he'll never be in that situation. And that's how I feel. I don't want white people to understand how I feel (because they can't), I want them to accept it and move on.

And that's not just for Whites and blacks. It's for anyone who has to deal with someone that has been wronged in the past and feels jaded and slighted. We don't always have to understand, but we can be decent enough to accept it.

chocolate_matters said...

I know exactly what you mean. It is like two different americas that I see. A white person will never know how it feels to hear the door locks engage on a car they are occupying just because you pass by. They just don't see the world from my...our view. No matter how hard you may try to explain you can't. Good post.