Look at what you wrote, saying that I: “elevate yourself above Tamela and I and assert that not only are we wrong about racism (*newsflash* this is not just a personal belief or knowledge only the two of us share– this is much larger than us), but that you are an authority on it.”

There you go with assumptions again. You’re using a strawman argument, building up what you are so sure is reality and then metaphorically beating up that strawman…whereas if you’d paid closer attention to what I wrote, you’d have seen that your assumptions were simply wrong.

At no point have I “elevated” myself above you in any way. I admitted quite a few times to both of you that there are things that you know that I can never know, experiences you’ve had that I can never have. It is only two particular points where I said that Tamela is wrong about racism (not all whites are racist, and racism is borne of fear and suspicion), and all of a sudden we get into a long, drawn-out argument. The two of you seem to believe that you cannot be wrong about anything when it comes to racism. You seem to forget that you, like me, are human…and so you will sometimes be wrong.

Sometimes I’m wrong too. A couple weeks ago I got taken to school on Twitter about white privilege, and I was stupidly wrong. But I did finally admit that I was stupidly wrong, and I sincerely thanked the others for educating me and helping to remove some of my ignorance. The key, ma’am, is whether one has enough courage to accept when one is wrong, even when it comes to long-held beliefs. Prove me wrong and I’ll gladly post my sincere thanks to you, for I refuse to let my pride get in the way of my learning.

Also, I specifically pointed out that I am not some kind of authority on racism. I said: “I can’t be an “authority” on racism, for you and Tamela both know more about racism than I ever will.” Yet you still repeatedly accused me of claiming to be an authority on racism! I do know more than most whites when it comes to racism, but I can’t know as much as you do.

Look at what you said:

I just really love how you state that Tamela and I know more than you and then immediately attempt to say that in your state of knowing less than us, you can still declare that you know something we don’t and that something invalidates all that we’ve said.

Seriously, have you ever been a teacher? If you have, then surely you know that it’s not unusual for students to point out errors that the teachers make (at least in America, though overseas such impertinence is often swiftly punished). But like many teachers, you and Tamela seem to be offended the fact that someone who knows less than you on your chosen subject is telling you that you made a couple errors. The simple fact that I’m pointing at two errors does NOT mean that I know more than you!

Is that really so hard to accept?

You also accused me of patronizing you and Tamela, and that is a false accusation. Just because you personally want to believe that I’m just patronizing you doesn’t make it so. To me, patronization is an insult, and requires insincerity. Where in all my writing have I been insincere? I might be wrong about something, but I’m still sincere about it until someone proves to me that I’m wrong. I don’t do insincerity. I did not patronize. You only assumed that I did…and wrongly.

You marginalized my nonwhite family by pointing out that many, many racists have no problem with having biracial marriages and biracial kids. While that is quite true, you apparently didn’t pay attention to the whole of my point. For instance, did you see the part where I said I have precisely two white friends, and that I seldom see them? Essentially all of my friends and social interaction is with nonwhites. The (rather insulting) phrase for this is “going native”, and involves a heck of a lot more than just having a biracial family. It includes accepting and adhering to another culture, another way of life, perhaps another language, and often even another religion. You can be excused for not knowing all this, since it’s likely that many biracial families that you’ve seen are just as you described…but it’s unlikely that you’ve seen a family situation like mine. Maybe you have, but it’s unlikely.

You accused me of making nine racist comments. I made none. You are nonetheless sure that I did because that’s what you want to believe. You have pigeonholed me, having made up your mind that you know all you need to know in order to judge me, and so you feel justified in claiming that I made racist comments.

Presuming this homeless man is white, he still holds power and privilege.

Perhaps your experience with homeless is different from mine. But I’ll give a different example, then. I’m retired Navy,so I’ve been around the block a few times, and I make no excuses for the things that I did wrong when I was younger. When I was a young sailor, this included going out on liberty with the rest of the ship’s crew to find bar girls (prostitutes) overseas, whether in the Philippines, Thailand, or S. Korea. These girls were dirt-poor and under the thumb of the mama-san (or whoever else served as the pimp). But it was not unusual for those girls to refuse to “service” black men. This was racism. Where, then, was their “power and privilege”? They had none. All they had was their fear and suspicion of blacks, fearing that blacks were meaner or more violent or {insert racist assumption here}.

As I said, power and privilege are enablers. The root of all racism (and all other forms of prejudice), however, is fear and suspicion of the “other”.

In my first article on Medium, I pointed out that one of my great lessons after leaving the Delta was that after allowing for cultural and religious mores, people really are the same all over the world. Do you agree with that statement? And if you do, then does that not mean that racism is found in many people everywhere as well?

YES, whites are more likely to be racist, and (in most nations) commit the most egregious racism…and this is enabled by power and privilege. But the root of the racism is fear and suspicion of the other, just like it is all over the rest of the planet…and just as not everyone overseas is racist, not everyone here in America is racist…and not every white is racist, regardless of what Tamela and you (if you agree with Tamela’s claim) want to believe.

Written by

Retired Navy. Inveterate contrarian. If I haven’t done it, I’ve usually done something close.

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