Racism, Prejudice and Privilege

… in America.

Current events make people uncomfortable. Most want “this” to go away. From the segment of the population being oppressed, this view is not understandable. You can only want oppression and racism to go away if you aren’t confronted with it on a daily basis. Enter… privilege. Out of sight, out of mind never had so clear an example.

There is the belief that if we don’t see it, it doesn’t exist.

But that’s a lie. As in a falsehood. We don’t see racism in America anymore because its gone underground. <— That statement is inflammatory to most. And these are good people. Decent people. Who are fucking horrified that allegations that racism in America still exists. Because in their world it doesn’t. But they’re confusing racism with prejudice. I will say this. America has really worked on not being prejudicial. But not being prejudicial doesn’t stamp out racism. It just means that most Americans aren’t assholes who think a persons color predestines them to a life of <insert your derogatory act here>.  What it doesn’t mean is that racism is gone.

The racism of today is the structures leftover from those before of of their hate. Like Pompeii, we are dealing with the buildings built by haters. Our mistake was thinking we could use these empty buildings for better, more moral purpose. Or just a useful purpose. What we forgot was these building were built to keep certain segments of a population down. They are inherently oppressive. Regardless of a different, newer purpose, the functions of many of these ghost buildings still oppress.

In other words, we’ve replaced legal slavery with felonies. We use the law to oppress. In the first instance, it was with the full support of the law. Now, we create second class citizens with crimes. Lots and lots of crimes. And we’ve replaced lynchings with shootings. We’re using the law to do the same thing to the same group of people. We create laws KNOWING they will have disparate effects on discrete groups. And we like that. And it’s racist.

That’s the difference between racism and prejudice. Prejudice is usually one-on-one/group of people. Racism is using the “buildings” of society, i.e., governmental offices, to oppress certain singular peoples. We’ve come a long way with prejudice. And almost nowhere with racism.

You can tell yourself racism doesn’t exist because your aren’t prejudice, but that doesn’t make it true. It just means you aren’t an asshole in your day to day dealings with people of color. But that speaks not at all on the subject of why black people are still being incarcerated at crazy rates, or killed even when unarmed by police officers. Or why black people are given incredible disparate sentences, or even why little black children are expelled from kindergarten at rates that far exceed their demographic representation or that of any other group of persons.

Racism is there. You just have to look for it. Gone are the days of “well, I’m an asshole racist bastard” so I know racism exists, to “hey, just because I’m not a racist asshole bastard doesn’t mean there’s not some shit going on that just can’t be explained away in any other way than this shit’s racist.”

Admitting that there is racism doesn’t mean you are admitting that you’re racist. Or prejudiced. It just means you are privileged enough to look for it or not look. Racism is like that tree in the woods. Just because you’re not hearing the damage it does as it falls and tramples through the woods doesn’t mean its not doing damage. Racism is real, it’s alive and it’s hurting fellow Americans.

I know most people want racism to be done and over. Slavery is a blight on our collective history. Of course, we want that shit done and gone.

So do the people who are STILL experiencing racism everyday. They really want that shit done and gone.

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