Thank you for your response.

That being said, “prejudice + privilege = racism” is your personal definition. In reality, racism is a subset of prejudice - all racism is prejudice, but not all prejudice is racism. Other (and historically deadlier) forms of prejudice involve religion and ethnicity…and all forms of prejudice involve this one basic factor: fear and suspicion of the “other”, whether that “other” is of a different race, ethnicity, religion, political bent, educational attainment level…you name it. And the demographic group (whether that group is racial, ethnic, or religious) that is socioeconomically dominant will be the group that commits the most (and the most egregious) prejudice. At this point in human history, whites are socioeconomically dominant, and so whites are the most racist, and commit the most egregious racism.

What I’m getting to is the fact that today’s racism against blacks is not unique, and regardless of what you personally want to believe, it’s not the worst in human history, not by a long shot. Even what the Jews went through ending with the Holocaust isn’t even in the top five of the worst injustices against a race, ethnicity, or religion. (Full disclaimer: I don’t have anything at all against Jews, but “Zionist” is a subset of Judaism, and what the Zionist government of Israel has done to the Palestinians is in my opinion a crime against humanity).

I figure that you may not care about any of the above, and that (in your opinion) I’m using an argument that you’ve seen racists use all the time, and you’re focused on what you have seen and felt all your life, and what you know cannot be denied or diminished. Am I right about that?

Problem is, by your own words, you’re essentially saying that whites are racist because they’re white. Not because whites happen to be more powerful at this particular point in human history, but because they’re white. That may not be what you meant, but that’s what your words are saying.

Could you please clarify whether or not that is your belief?

— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —

You said my youngest son “will most likely be afflicted with some form of racism and/or anti-Blackness.” Perhaps I should point out a few things:

(1) I’m the only white family member he has. He met my birth family a few times on visits, but that’s it (they’ve all since passed away)…and he and I agreed that they (and every other white person he met while visiting in the Delta) were quite racist. I myself have precisely two white friends, both of whom are also married to Asians. I seldom see either of them anymore other than at Church. Almost everyone else I consider a friend is Asian.

(2) All the family he was actually raised around was (other than myself) full-blood Filipino. This includes my oldest son, all his two dozen-or-so cousins (there’s several dozen, but only twenty-odd that he personally knew), and our family members he lived with in Manila for a couple years while he was finishing high school (we sent him to school there because of the drugs and guns in schools here). Here’s a picture of him when he was younger (in the blue shirt in the middle). My oldest son (who graduated college there) is partially cut off on the right side of the picture:

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This photo was taken in what most Americans would consider a particularly bad third-world slum (i.e. worse than any in America). At the time, there were probably thirty (and sometimes more) family members living in the compound that contained about six bedrooms and three bathrooms (my wife has something like forty(!) first cousins). And you know what? They consider themselves lucky and rather well-off, because in the alleyway (“iskinita”) about thirty feet behind them lives another several dozen squatters, homeless people who have lived in that alleyway for years and even decades.

What I’m getting at is that most Americans have precisely zero clue about what real poverty is. He lived there, and he does know. It’s a whole different world than what you know here in America. Just as I can never really know the life you’ve lived, you yourself can never really understand the life they live. I am certainly no idiotic right-wing uber-patriot, but even with all the injustices you have seen and experienced, you yourself DO have more opportunity, more rights, more access to almost anything you care to name than any of my family members in that picture except for my sons. And yes, I consider them all my family…because they’re all the family I’ve got. Yes, at first they were happy to see me around because I’m white (which to most Asians in poverty means “money” i.e. “white privilege”), but over the past twenty-six years, they’ve come to truly accept me because I’ve always done my best to support them as much as I could (paying for health care, college, legal bills (including bribing a judge), business opportunities, you name it), and I’ve done my level best to never offend them, to treat them as one should treat close family members…and when I am old, they will take care of me…and would do so even if I suddenly became dirt poor. You can read more about our life there (and how in some ways even the homeless are happier there than Americans are) in this article.

You say all whites are racist. I ask you, then, if you were given the same opportunities I was, would you do the same? Would you live in a third-world country of a race wholly different from your own, trust your kids to go to school there (while you and your spouse stayed in America to make money to afford it), and truly consider the people there as your own close family even to the point of honestly loving and respecting them more than your own birth family?

But wait! I’m not done yet. My oldest son (who is full Filipino) has married a full-Filipino woman. My youngest son is engaged to a full Filipino girl (they’ve dated for two years so far) and they will marry later this year. That means that my grandchildren will be either full Filipino or one-quarter Filipino…and I am very much looking forward to cradling my sons’ children in my arms, knowing and being not in the least bothered by the near-certainty that their children will have little or no white DNA coursing through their veins.

Am I then still racist, even though I’m genuinely happy with my sons’ marriages, knowing full well that my grandchildren will be effectively indistinguishable from other Asians? Again, would you do the same? Could you do the same?

Yes, fight for equality, fight the intolerable, the injustices, and the hypocrisy. Protest and I’ll stand with you. Strive to make America a better place, starting with marginalizing the racists, absolutely! Doing all of that is right and good. But as you do so, remember that there are many, many people in this world that face far worse problems than American minorities do. I say that not to lessen your rightfully-righteous anger or to diminish your efforts in any way, but to give you a measure of perspective that most native-born Americans do not have.

Written by

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

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