The Problem With White People in 2019
Lee Edward McIlmoyleJan 22
I kinda suspect we all understand the problem of a smugly smiling Midwestern white boy smirking at a native activist at a white supremacy rally on some level. The facts are staring us in the face, even as they clearly are sliding right off and to the floor of these sad, disenfranchised, badly educated, horribly misunderstood and invalidated people who have no idea why the world doesn’t like them anymore and doesn’t want to deal with their personal struggles for meaning and justification any longer.
When you find yourself alone with a heretical thought or forbidden question because the teacher wouldn’t or couldn’t answer it for you in a way that actually meant something to your reality, sans jargon and conceptual chasms of comprehension to leap across, you instinctively know, thanks to this bizarre but entirely necessary emotion called shame. It’s entirely necessary because it’s the only thing that makes us realize why rape and murder are truly awful and life-shattering. When we disregard shame because everyone around us is smiling and laughing and celebrating the meaninglessness of that shame, it frees us up to act out our frustrations and fears and demands for a more meaningful (to us) answer to the question, “Why not?” We already know why not. The freaking Bible explained it to us, and the preacher went into great detail about it. But in the end, most bible studies are hindered by being taught by extremists… sorry, Fundamentalists… who need to believe in the sanctity that book represents to their unsophisticated lives. They don’t BELIEVE in overthinking their faith, because on a very basic level, they know only one thing: they don’t understand anything they have ever been told was wrong by us, because the explanations were never properly connected to any part of their actual daily lives.
Why worry about being judged by people with different view when there is only Ma and Pa and your siblings and neighbours and everyone you know and love under this wide open sky who also have no idea what Diversity is needed for, or how immigration has helped them in their daily struggles. They are not hateful because they can’t see the humans they are trying to extinguish; they are hateful because no one will explain to them properly whether or not they themselves are acceptable as humans in the modern world. They can’t find their rightful place in this society we are raising up out of the old world into the new global reality because we haven’t actually MADE one for them. They’re just told to wipe their noses and get on the bus leaving town, which many of them do, whether they fully understand the world they are attempting to enter or not.
Honestly, when I think about the despair they must feel at having been left behind en masse, I feel a deep and abiding sadness and shame at their totally disregarded feelings of disenfranchisement, unending confusion, and shame. I do not agree with the solution this reptilian sociopath has offered them. Not one bit. I can’t. I’ve seen the future, and parochial cultural isolationism has no place in it. But we also haven’t taken the time out of our busy schedules to actually help these people express and validate their existences to themselves. We haven’t actually talked with them in a language everyone can understand. Instead, we tell them about foreign markets and humanitarian efforts and despotic abuses of power they have never actually seen with their own eyes. And then that disgusting toad hit the target that the Swaggarts and Bakers thoughtfully erected for him decades earlier, creating a movement to undo the nameless institutional shame we offloaded onto them without ever making them understand why.
Really, this was and is still our fight to lose. We have been losing it because we still don’t actually see them with our own eyes, either. We see them through the rapid shutter clarity of HDTV and LED monitors and smartphones showing us some confused, slightly relieved white kid suddenly figuring out that there is in fact safety in numbers, and that it feels good to be in a pack that feels the same low-level sense of injustice as them. Whether you’re unsure of your footing or not, if there are other humans helping you to your feet and urging you forward, you just get back up and keep walking in the same direction as them.
That’s what the smirk meant. That was a sense of learning, of discovering a half truth amidst the lies and uncertainties and misunderstandings. That mere child learned what most of us try very hard not to admit to ourselves: that we behave in the relatively open-handed fashion we do because we don’t want to have to fight and kill one another every day because we can’t understand what they want from us. We kinda get it, because we actually see these other people every day, and can see the point of getting along. These poor bastards can’t, because we didn’t really take the time to show them and make sure they really understood what they were seeing. We didn’t send the best teachers we had to show them. We kept the good ones for ourselves, and sent the boring ones that barely understand or believe in what they are teaching themselves, thinking the farm folk wouldn’t know the difference. And THAT is on us.
We got heroes of education and progress to add to our mythologies. We watched To Sir With Love and Dangerous Minds and Lean On Me and Teachers and Good Will Hunting. We got Dead Poets Society. They got… The Breakfast Club.
Think about that, really hard.
Can you spot the problem?
I’ll bet you that smug kid does.
And that’s what we’re missing.
We think we’re Carl the Janitor in this scenario.
That kid? Is Bender.
And we… are THIS GUY:
Writes, draws and makes music. Is tolerated by a wife and two savage felines. The Whole Other Half: http://dft.ba/-1q7F Smashwords: http://goo.gl/TH6B2Also tagged EducationThe Next Level of Data Visualization in Python
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