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Levels to Racism: All Ignorance Ain't Created Equal

by Todd A. Smith

 

 

There’s Levels to This


The deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Rayshard Brooks have opened the eyes of many people in White America.


For generations, some White Americans have falsely believed that they possess no racist feelings for a variety of reasons.


But in reality, everyone is prejudiced and there are levels to racism and many people fit into one of those levels even if they refuse to admit it.


Looking back at history, it was much easier to determine who was racist and who was not.


The Ku Klux Klan went around lynching African-Americans with impunity.


People refused to let various races of people attend the same schools, live in the same neighborhood, eat at the same restaurants or date interracially.


However, in the 21st century racism appears in many different forms, and not all of those forms are as demonstrative as in years past.


The first level of racism consists of outright White supremacist terrorists.


The racists on the top tier of ignorance are the ones who carry Tiki torches and parade through Charlottesville, Va., shouting stuff like, “Jews will not replace us.”


These are the skinheads.


These are the people telling people of color to go back to their s-hole countries.


These are the people killing innocent African-Americans at Bible study.


These are the people that plow their automobiles into peaceful protestors, killing people like Heather Heyer in Charlottesville, Va.


Then there are the White supremacists who do not realize that they are White supremacists because they do not call African-Americans the N-word or commit heinous hate crimes against the African-American community.


These are the people who felt threatened when former President Barack Obama ascended to the highest office in the free world.


These are the people that quietly believe that White people should be in power, and African-Americans and other minorities should remain beneath them and subservient to them.


These are the people that cannot stand having an African-American boss, supervisor or manager telling them what to do.


These are the people that are O.K. with African-Americans as long as not too many of them move into their neighborhoods or attend their schools.


These are the people that have a problem with one day becoming a minority in America because they realize being in the majority provides them with their power.


These are the people that want to take their country back from other Americans.


How is that even possible?


How can you take something back that is not solely yours in the first place?


These are the people that somehow believe that President Donald Trump is making America great again by dividing the people more than they were already divided in the first place.


Then you have your racists who believe they are not racists because they have a so-called African-American friend.


You know the person that thinks because they know a couple of African-Americans at work, school or from the neighborhood and are cordial with them that they are somehow close friends and therefore cannot possibly be racist.


These people constantly say racist things.


However, because they sometimes associate with African-Americans that means they are post-racial in some way.


I had a classmate from elementary, middle school and high school say that he could not be a racist White person because his brother married an African-American woman.


What?


As if interracial marriages do not expose the racism within families because although a person that marries interracially might not be a racist, that does not stop their relatives from being racist.


Then, you have the racist that thinks racism does not exist despite all of the evidence to the contrary.


These people love to say that African-Americans are playing the race card.


They think that if they can convince people that racism does not exist then they will not get exposed for their racist views.


They are like the alcoholic or drug addict who pretends they do not have a substance abuse problem, thinking that their denial will alleviate all of their sins.


These people might even listen to R&B and hip-hop as if liking African-American culture means they like or respect African-Americans.


White Americans have loved African-American culture since 1619.


However, African-American still got lynched no matter how popular James Brown or Ray Charles was at the time.


Then there are the racists who like African-American culture, have African-American friends and considers themselves open-minded.


However, they still believe in racist stereotypes about African-Americans.


These people have no hatred towards African-Americans but they seem to think that all African-Americans like the same music, grew up in broken homes or come from poor and uneducated families.


These people think that African-Americans are genetically superior to other races in sports and entertainment as if they did not put in the work necessary to become great.


You know the White commentator who talks about how talented an athlete someone like LeBron James is while bragging about the lack of talent and strong work ethic of his White counterparts.


I had a White person tell me that African-Americans jumped higher than White people because we had something extra in our calf muscles.


That upset me in a few ways.


First of all, it was just foolish and ignorant.


Second of all, how can a person account for the White people who can jump out of the gym?


And third, why didn’t I get something extra in my calf muscle as a former high school basketball player?


According to Ancestry.com, I am over 90 percent African so I should have gotten the leaping ability too if it was based on race and ethnicity.


To be honest, we all have prejudices about people, whether they look like us or not.


Some prejudices are positive and some are negative.


But in order for Americans to finally tackle and eradicate this thing called racism, many White people have to open their eyes to some of their closeted racist views and realize that they are not as progressive as they once thought they were.



This article was published on Friday 26 June, 2020.
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