White fear of Black men

Bonnie Berman Cushing

I have been devoted to a white anti-racist path for close to a dozen years, but I still stiffen with fear and a state of heightened awareness when I find myself alone on a darkened street with one or more Black men nearby.

As a dedicated student of anti-racist facts and principles I know intellectually that white people are five times more likely to be attacked by another white person than by a Black one and that two-thirds of the rapes committed in our country are by white men.  I am aware that the vast majority of corporate criminals are white and that most of our politicians who have declared war –  bringing death and destruction to millions –  also have the same skin color as I do. My own experience includes a mugging at gunpoint and a date rape – both at the hands of white men.  And yet I have never found myself anxiously responding to a white male or males on an evening walk the way I do in the presence of Black men. Why, exactly, is that?

I believe there are several reasons for this disturbing phenomenon and that it certainly isn’t limited only to me, but also to most (if not all) white folks – and many people of color as well.  History, psychology and media all play a significant role. The myth of the predatory Black man stands on the shoulders of centuries of stories and images shared from one generation to the next, sometimes directly and sometimes in coded messaging (such as admonishments to lock the car in certain neighborhoods or clutch your pocketbook closely on certain elevators and streets).  Our collective fear of the Black man has a rich and detailed history, one that by this time has practically been encoded in our national DNA.

A Black woman, writing under the name M. Gibson, expressed this truth succinctly in a comment on a blog site shortly after a police officer killed Oscar Grant in Oakland, California:

As a nation we seem to have very short memories. Fear of the black man just didn’t start overnight, and it didn’t just happen during the course of our lifetime; like any singularity it has to have a beginning. Its origin has been embedded in this nation’s consciousness since the Nat Turner revolt; a pathological fear that the oppressed will one day rise up and inflict vengeance upon the oppressor.

The fact that so many unarmed young Black men have been killed by police officers is tragic testimony to this underlying fear.  I quote another blogger, Carmel:

Why ask what Whites fear about Blacks? Why not ask what Blacks fear about Whites? More Blacks have been killed by Whites in our country than the other way around. I don’t even know the number of unarmed Black men who have been killed or attacked by police or simply just pulled over for “Driving While Black.” When was the last time you heard of an innocent White man being riddled with bullets by the police?

In a 2010 radio broadcast Rush Limbaugh, one of the voices of right-wing America, brought it more directly into present times when discussing the Obama Presidency:

It’s Payback Time. This woman’s going to find out what it was like, in Obama’s view, for other Americans to live as they did in this unfair and immoral country for the 230 years we’ve been around. In Obama’s America, the white kids now get beat up with the black kids cheering, “Yay, right on, right on, right on, right on…”

No wonder Obama and many other Blacks who have managed to achieve prominence in our society have had to maintain a calm demeanor, even in the face of insult and aggression.  To appear as the “angry Black” is to trigger these deep seated fears in our collective consciousness and to undermine any real agency with the public at large. As Tan-nehisi Coates wrote in his September 2012 article for The Atlantic entitled “Fear of a Black President,”

So frightening is the prospect of black rage given voice and power that when Obama was a freshman senator, he was asked, on national television, to denounce the rage of Harry Belafonte. This fear continued with demands that he keep his distance from Louis Farrakhan and culminated with Reverend Wright and a presidency that must never betray any sign of rage toward its white opposition.

In addition, there is a psychological defense called projection –  when one accuses someone of having traits they refuse to acknowledge in themselves –  that also explains some of the reason white people fear the violence of Black people. Instead of acknowledging the past and present forms of violence Black people have suffered at the hands of whites, it is projected on the victims themselves.  M. Gibson gets it right when she writes of the white fear of Black sexual violence:

During those times the white man feared miscegenation above all; he feared his saintly white women being sullied by an over-sexed bestial black buck. The white man held onto this erroneous belief/fear even as he himself raped black women without fear of reprisal.

And then there are the media, which continue to broadcast images of Black men in handcuffs and behind bars on nearly a daily basis (and this is by design, not accident).  It is due to news coverage that most of us first think of Black men when we hear of drug dealers, rioters or perpetrators of domestic violence.  This is true despite the reality that white people have, and do, participate in mob and domestic violence in higher numbers, and that whites comprise more than 70% of drug abusers and dealers in our country.

Popular culture also supports and feeds on these images. Quentin Tarentino was awarded the Oscar for his script of the blockbuster hit, D’jango Unchained, which tells the story of a freed slave enacting revenge on slaveholders and their kin.  The vision of D’jango, wielding a bullwhip, guns and a bomb against his enemies speaks directly and powerfully to our subconscious (and in many cases, conscious) fear of Black revenge for past atrocities.  Apparently it pays artistically, monetarily and politically to exploit these fears – and until the costs outweigh the benefits, the media will continue to reinforce them to the detriment of us all.

I understand I will have to check my racist assumptions and continue to unlearn the lessons I have inherited about Black men for the rest of my life.  I will always need to remind myself I have been socialized to collectivize the violence of Black individuals and individualize the violence of whites. I will need to intentionally counteract that socialization.  This is part of my legacy as a privileged white woman in the United States, and I take it on both sadly and gladly.

I will end by quoting another inspirational blog entry, by abagond, from a site that asked why whites fear blacks:

Moral blindness.  Every single black person in the eyes of white people is the sign of a terrible crime from their ugly past, a reminder that their life is a fraud, that they are pretty much nothing more than armed robbers. But it is hard for them to simply own up to their past and make it right. Instead they deny, shift blame, lie, twist facts and make black people into these creatures that they look down on, laugh at and yet, oddly, fear. It is a failed attempt to be at peace with themselves. This is why whites need to give reparations more than blacks need to receive it.


47 thoughts on “White fear of Black men

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  2. I’m from India and amazed to read this eye-opener article. I’m from a scientific background, currently nearing the end of my PhD in protein science.I know of many Indians who are in the US pursuing higher ed in science from there. Indians living in the US too carry this notion that black-Americans are horrible people who will either kill you or rape you. They do this even after spending years in the US.

    This goes down easily with the Indians who’re rooted (silently or otherwise) to caste system in the religious beliefs. Lower caste people are mostly dark skinned. Present day false theories say that the religious beliefs allowed one to “choose” his/her caste but the fact is that lower castes have been plundered and kept “low” with an iron hand of the three upper castes. There’s just one party in India that represents the lower castes The BSP (Bahujan Samaj Party) and I’ll vouch for the hatred that most people around me have for it (yes, I’m talking about educated Indians).

    Like many other Asian countries, dark skin is looked down upon and abhorred. Even in the present day India, dark-skin is hated and despised. Dark skin jokes are common and acceptable, some of them can be extremely extremely mean.

    God help an African who comes to India, especially North India. Blacks are mistreated, gawked at, made faces at by children. I’m an eyewitness to this innumerable times. Hate for the dark-skin is rooted in the Indian religious beliefs as well where in all the Gods are fair skinned and the Asuras (~devils) are dark skinned, mostly belonging to South India (for eg Ravan, who abducted Ram’s wife Sita). Such deep rooted is this bigotry here that it’s acceptable watch the most horrid possible bashing of dark-skin right in our living rooms. Here’s a link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PamAOBZLq6o this is not all, many famous hollywood and a cricket star have endorsed skin lightening products.

    • I hear you Jesse, and am glad your eyes were opened by reading this article. Now, just try to imagine being in the shoes of a black man dealing w/ what is described in this article, as well as what goes on in India. Now add three sons to the equation. I’m not a criminal, and I don’t go around purposely trying to hurt anyone on any level. I’ve been thrown in jail on more than one occasion and I didn’t break any laws. I was lied on w/o my side being heard in those cases. Three months ago, I moved away from the neighborhood I lived in for nearly 30 years. It was about 60% black, 30% hispanic, and about 10% white. Gentrification kicks in and the numbers shifted fast. My final months living there and people looked at me and treated me like I didn’t belong. One night I was walking home and a guy in a truck drove past me slowly in the opposite direction, staring at me, then turns his vehicle around to drive up beside me to ask; “Are you lost?” I told him calmly; “No. I live in the neighborhood.” His sarcastic reply was; “Oh. I was just asking b/c I have never seen you around here before.” My response; “OH! Was I suppose to find you and check in w/ you when I moved here?” He looked at me, shook his head, and sucked his teeth as he pulled off. Made me feel like he said some insulting things about me in his head or low enough for me not to hear him.

    • Your right. Im an indian too and I too noticed racism from our culture towards people with darker skin. like seriously India will always be a shit hole as long as they have that caste mentality

    • To Jesse:

      Thank You for your posting, although being almost year old you may never see this.

      I happen to be a “Big, Scary, Black” American man. I’ve thought about and researched places to move to in the world where I could just be free, be a human and one of those places was Goa India. I learned about the caste system since the 1970’s in grade school religion class so I already knew India was rather divided.

      The observations you shared about friend’s attitudes who live here in the US are exactly what I see. It took me a long time to get here, but I’m at a University too and I see the sheer terror in the eyes and body language of foreign students. Northern Asians do it the most. (Incidentally, I’ve observed that Western people generally don’t think of India as Asia.)

      My friend (white) married a woman from Pakistan and I was worried about meeting her because of the treatment I’ve known.

      If I had a nickle for every time a Japanese girl (and others, a through list would be too long and depressing) jumped out of her skin and skittered away because I happened to stop at the same corner to cross the street, or even walk down the same sidewalk or hallway on campus or… , I could pay off my tuition debt 100 fold.

      My father is tall, my mother is a relatively tall woman and I’m tall (being a scientist like me, you know genes are never a simple 1+1 equation, my brother was kind-of short/average) I’m a seemingly towering 6’4″ or 1.95m. It’s not my fault that scares people. If I know you I’m very kind but if I don’t, the WORST thing I would do is avoid you.

      I’m articulate, inquisitive, former military, well traveled, have never been in police trouble and have never drank, smoke or used any kind of recreational drugs but I’ve found that there’s nowhere on the planet that hasn’t been infected by that hateful bias.

      North India sounds just like West Texas, where I tried to attend university after leaving the military. What I experienced there beat my soul down so badly I had to chuck it all in and run for my life. I still haven’t truly recovered. In many ways I left there damaged and broken.

      I’ll quit rambling, when it rains it pours.

      Lastly, I didn’t know the “darkie” hatred in India had a religious base. I’d always thought it was a remnant of British colonial oppression. I guess the place was tailor made for the Brits to roll right in.

  3. Hi, i am a young black man living in this country just trying to find answers. I found your article highly informative, and would encourage you to not feel guilty as to where you were born because its not up to you! Also thank you for being you and understanding. Great article!

    • I am a Black man living here in the united states at sixty years old and my knuckles are in pretty bad shape for knocking so many racist white boys out. but that was in my younger days. As a educated black man and a Christian what i do now is pray for people who are ignorant and with hatred in their hearts. Because life is too short for all this racist nonsense. It’s love that develops a clear vision into the future of having a true and just civilized society. We all forget that we have to die one day and leave this all behind. And no one remembers a person or people who hated their entire life when they’re gone. Mark 12:31’Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.”

  4. Thanks.

    For telling the truth, even when you didn’t have to. The world needs more of this honesty because hate only breeds hate.

    As a black person I’ve always believed the hate comes from a place of guilt – “they must hate us because we’ve treated their kind appallingly”.

    My worry right now is that when a human being feels they have nothing to lose, they are truly a dangerous force to be reckoned with. White society needs to cut black people some slack for white society’s sake.

    Many whites here in Britain feel they don’t want to live near black people born here, yet they dislike minorities living together in ghettos. Surely they must be able to see their nonsensical arguments?

    Thank you.

  5. i found this article today, and am reflecting on it in the aftermath of the zimmerman trial, which had 5 white women perpetuating these very dynamics of fear and devaluing of the black body. Today, asm much as ever, we have to commit to undoing this dreadful socialization that strips all of us of our humanity.

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  7. Wow…….is all I can say. I am a black women who believe’s in and who loves god. I am so confused about all the hate because of skin color. What gives someone, anyone the right to believe they are better than another because their skin is lighter. ….where does it state thate dark skin is evil. rom what past history tells us, light skin is the skin colored to be feared. What is sad is that blacks did not ask to be dragged into this racist country, they were forced. Now even after all the injustice has occurred, we still suffer simply for having pigment in our skin. Enslaved, lynched for no good reason, raped, beaten, sprayed with hoses like animals, shot just because we are black, who is the victim in all of this? The reason America, and people around the world such as the light indians who fear the dark indians fear dark skin is because you ridicule it falsely. Just as a child fears consequences when he has done something wrong , so does the man who treats people like animals just because of their skin color. really people. …..find god and you may begin to love all because he created all in the likeness of his image…..which by the way had a darker skin tone.

  8. Bonnie thank you for writing this piece…of all the thoughts on why…I think that this one is most salient…like ghosts in our genes. White Scoiety has been altered.. “, there is a psychological defense called projection – when one accuses someone of having traits they refuse to acknowledge in themselves – that also explains some of the reason white people fear the violence of Black people. Instead of acknowledging the past and present forms of violence Black people have suffered at the hands of whites, it is projected on the victims themselves.”

    check this out…it is soooo powerful… Written by Questlove is the drummer for the Roots and the bandleader on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.


    A MUST read written by Questlove: Trayvon Martin and I Ain’t Shit
    By The following essay is an adaptation of a Facebook post by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson in response to George Zimmerman’s acquittal in the killing of Trayvon Martin.

  9. One big mistake for this analisis is belive that the only different between whites and black is only de color of the skin, the main differents are these: colors we like, the way we talk, the way we pronounce the words, the way that we associate with other races, the way we think, our music, our behavior in front of the music, the way we dress, our external morphology, our names. and more..for that a social analisis base only of the color of the skin is wrong

    • Skin color is actually the defining feature. One could not discern between an Irishman walking down the streets of New York and a native New Yorker without speaking to that person, that man is just seen as white and is granted all of the privilegdes that come with the skin tone of a white man. A black man from Nigeria however, who may look like the Average African American to most people, needs to walk gingerly and avoid contact with profiling police officers because regardless of his culture, language or nationality, he is a black man and all of the prejudice that America as bestowed upon us…

  10. This whole racism business is kind of abstract for black people born and raised in Africa- not including north Sudan and some other wicked places. I am a black dude born and raised in Nairobi, Kenya, and I have never personally experienced any type of discrimination or judgments based on my skin color. I don’t even know anyone who has.

    That image of the angry black man is actually pretty strange to me and a lot of people I know. We see it on TV; rap music, black films and so on, black dude being chased by ‘DA-poh-lease’ and its really hard to relate to because I guess folk here don’t have that slave mentality or whatever.

    We have a significant Asian population here- mostly Indians, and most of them prefer to huddle up in specific neighborhoods where they build temples and stuff, pretty neat structures BTW. They don’t really mix with black folk but they don’t show contempt for them either. Really private people and civil.

    But generally all races blend OK here. No beef no fear- white chicks here like local African dudes for whatever reason- but then Kenyan men are polite and a little shy: sometimes just downright boring when compared to African Americans. So that fear doesn’t exist here- and it wouldn’t.

    What I would say to black folk in the US is that playing into common stereotypes about black people doesn’t help the ‘struggle': It only makes them look naturally incapable of change or growth. Go to school, get a job and be productive. School dropouts and gang bangers are what’s eroding black culture.
    Freeing the mind allows people to be real, unique, and better.

    • Sorry, but I don’t believe a single word you say. Well, I’m NOT sorry. I can tell that you’re a white amreiKKKan who’s never been to Africa and don’t know any African history. Even Gandhi hated blacks regardless of their origin.

      Also, on the huge continent of Africa the racism is present still, from European colonialism and then there’s tribalism (Hutu vs. Tutsi anybody) not to mention the constant genocide of this people by that people. South Africa, North Africa, Central Africa…

      The things you’re trying to pass off here are well known fallacies held and regurgitated by ameriKKKan white with a barely hidden agenda and some weird fantasy about Black people they don’t even know.

    • I found your comment interesting, but not surprising. What you may or may not realize is that you are actually not even viewed as being the same as black Americans. Simply because you come from Africa. As for black Americans acting like a particular stereotype. My advice to you is to stop watching tv and don’t define us the same way whites in America do. Based on segments found in specific communities. Not all of us live in urban communities. Not all of us are uneducated and lacking in character. Anymore than anyone else in this country. Lastly it must be nice to have grown up in a country where you are the majority, and not viewed as a second class citizen by virtue of the color of your skin.

  11. You shouldn’t feel to bad. Just think if it were a group of suspicious white men, wouldn’t you feel the same? It’s just common sense the way things are today. Last time I went to a court house I saw a back man dress in the gang style, A white man with skin head and Nazi tattoos, and another white man with what appeared to be prison tattoos. I wouldn’t be comfortable alone with any of them.

    I’d rather be called a racist than be injured or dead. I’m sure some blacks cross the street to avoid a group of whites. There is a difference between careful and racist. I’m sure many blacks feel the same.

    • Larry I think you completely missed the point. You named specific attire that would give you pause for any race. The issue with racism in America is that a black male can be dressed in an Armani suit and still be viewed as a threat. By virtue of his skin color not his attire. That is unacceptable and has as the author stated been perpetuated since slavery because of fear of reprisal.

  12. Im a black male 17 years old. I dont see true racism everywhere but you can feel the vibe from other people. Im expected to be angry and fueld off ignorance. Yet Im usually more intellegent than the person looking down on me.

    An angry black man isn’t the most feared type of African American.

    Its the intellegent ones who can start an uprising and topple down the system.

  13. Congradulations on the wonderful writing. I am a young, professional black commercial artist. I am also a dark brown skin man, who has had to literally push white women, and men away from unwanted advances. It is more evident that many whites are jealous of our incredible talents in sports, entertainment, business, and science. We are beautiful from our soulful gifts to our brilliant minds.

  14. Awesome piece of writing! Two key aspects stand out. The fact that “this disturbing phenomenon….. is not limited only to me, but also to most (if not all) white folks – and many people of color as well”. I am a 6’4″ 250 lb. black male born and raised in the suburbs of Miami, Florida. I grew up around a white (now Hispanic) community. I can vouch that even my thinking towards blacks, on default, holds the same perspective as many whites.
    You’re right when saying “It’s part of our national ‘DNA'”, but there’s another kind. My parents are well educated; Father from Sudan came to U.S. and obtained a PhD, mother from Ethiopia and obtained MBA. In Ethiopia and nearly EVERY country, darker skin is less desirable, lighter skin is more desirable. I met some Chinese kids who go to the University of Miami who just came to the U.S. for the first time 2 weeks prior. The girls were concerned about the hot sun here, making their skin darker. Check this out: They bought furniture from me I listed on Craigslist. They don’t even know me, but they went in my car and drove nearly 20 miles with me and let me in their house. Here’s an example of how black skin is itself, undesirable, while the ‘barbaric’ view of black skin was absent.

    The other significant comment was that “there is a psychological defense called projection – when one accuses someone of having traits they refuse to acknowledge in themselves”

    It’s interesting how the blacks of past and the blacks of present (in US) seem to carry one identity (that of barbaric), while the whites of present quickly deny any relation to the maliciousness of the whites from past. I must say however, there are people, white people, who DO NOT tolerate such injustice, for blacks or anyone else and have put their life on the line in doing so. It seems for blacks to defeat this ‘psychological monster’ they would have to begin by stopping the complaining about inequality and let the actions speak for themselves. This is difficult. Again Great Article!

    • Once again another poster that I find comes from a very different perspective than the average black American. Neither of your parents were born here. They were not raised in a society where they were viewed as the negative. For you even though you have brown skin you still are not considered to be anything like me or most black Americans. Because your families origins are not in this country.
      The reason you hear the complaining as you call it. I call it people are just plain fed up. Is because despite how educated we may become. How well dressed or well spoken we may be. We are viewed as no better than the criminal element that can be found in any group. Unfortunately we are all painted with the same broad brush. Rather than being viewed as individuals.

  15. T.H.U.G L.I.F.E.
    The Hate U Gives Lil Infants Fucks Eveyone.

    Whites taught generation to generation of hate that hurt the whole world. Being a blackman a POW of the Civil War living in the Mud South (MS) I on top. Bless by the hand of God we survive all odds. No jobs, no fair treatment and no control of Our success.In POST- Jim Crow America we still hear which begin fear to those that want all dead. A people with no cultural roots your fear of us was maded us. All street gangs started as club and posse the protect us from white hate. Now in 2013 a let live with NO FEAR and survive by Any Means Necessary. Everything we was taught we live every day ready for whatever. What is jail for a blackman with no self control while in the struggle.Your fear comes from a lack of control America have on the Ex-slaves the back of America. If the blackman was to leave America u all would die you all can’t survive on your own thats why we was bought here in the first place. WE DON’T NEED U, U NEED US. That power that black people have we csn live throw anything anywhere.

  16. your article was well thought out and you really put an effort into making sure that what you wrote had proof behind it instead of empty words being repeated. im glad that you took that effort because it means that there is one more white person in america trying to understand the trials of us black people. it makes me think that if only more whites could be brought around to your way of thinking and weren’t so stubbornly stuck on believing the stereotypes of blacks, america would be just that much closer to being a united place.

  17. I just don’t understand white folks today. They act like black men are some kind of monsters. I get that everyday i step out my house. I get horror looks fgrom whites as if I’m going to rob them. White women and men hold on to their purses and bags so tightly everytime a black man walks by and I see that everyday. They look so silly

  18. I know one thing, black males aren’t the only ones to be afraid of. They better be afraid of these terrorist and these white dudes that goes into schools and moviie theatres and shoots up everyone. They’re the ones whites should be afraid of.

  19. Not all white Americans feel fear of blacks. In some parts of the country, say Washington, it’s very evident that (some) white women like the dark meat (if you know what I mean). It’s kinda hard to fear somebody so much that you allow yourself to give in to their charms and/or seduction. Plus even if someone is initially fearful of you, if you can engage them in deep conversation, alot of times strong bonds can be formed especially if you have alot in common.

    I come from a place where whites are tourists and blacks are the majority and we run the government. White Racism is not part of the daily thought process there. In fact, alot of the white female tourists seem to enjoy the presence of masculine chocolate entity. But that’s a different story.

    Unfortunately, I came to America in search of opportunity, and I’ve witnessed first hand the pervasive but subtle white intolerance of blacks. Sometimes people make subtle remarks or use double entendre that make you wonder hmmm is that person being racist?

    But what I’ve come to learn is that regardless of someone’s perceived fear, hate, prejudice, or otherwise…we cannot control other people. The only thing we can control is ourself. Self-mastery is what all human beings should strive to achieve. Mastery of ones own emotions and to realize when one is being prejudiced and irrational one’s own thought process. Self-mastery includes humility, empathy, and remaining calm during heightened emotional times, among other things. Imagine if Michael Dunn and George Zimmerman and Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis all collectively practiced empathy and remaining calm…I have a feeling the Zimmerman Michael Dunn trial probably would have been avoided altogether. Every action has a reaction. Even if you as a black man or white man feel disrespected, when you react to the instigator, they will react to you in turn and so on. Choose your actions wisely. It’s better to feel punked than to be DEAD! Think about that.

    On my journey (I’m far from the end) toward self-mastery, I’ve learned that smiles disarm while frowns alarm. Even if a white woman or man is experiences fear by my dark chocolate presence, I smile at them even if I can see the dread or disdain on their face. If they choose to smile back in reaction to me, then I’ll say hi first. Maybe we can even have a conversation. Maybe not. It’s up to them. But I am open to conversation with any race, any creed, any kind (except the serial killer types).

    But white people feel more than just “fear” when they encounter blacks. Some admittedly feel superior, more hardworking, more intelligent, etc. A big of class and race warfare in America results I think from capitalism in that capitalism inherently has a competition component. No one can deny that there is intense competition in America for limited resources (job slots, university slots, etc). Since resources are limited, people with the best strategies or most power get access to the best resources (jobs, prep schools, ivy league universities, etc), and those without power and superior strategies (and performance) get the scraps.

    What a lot of white people don’t understand is that they sometimes have an advantage over blacks not because of superior DNA or a black-laziness problem. Instead, alot of white parents teach their kids the fundamentals of success in corporate America from young ages. Kids learn how to have belief in themselves, ambition, and are taught how to excel and survive in this capitalist society. Some black parents teach their kids these ideas, mentalities too, but, if I had to hazard a guess, I’d guess that a lower percentage of blacks teach their kids the necessary behavioral traits and mental skills that are necessary to compete and excel in corporate America. Skills such as problem solving, decision making, time management, critical and creative thinking, and so on and forth. The thing with skills are that they take deliberate practice and a long time to develop into mastery and apparent effortlessness. Anybody who learns and masters these skills from a young age will have a competitive advantage over others that never were even introduced to the concepts. Not blaming whites, or saying whites shouldn’t strive for excellence. My argument tho is instead of thinking that you’re better than other people or that blacks are lazy, realize that alot of white kids have loving caring parents (or family members) that believe in them, and these kids in turn develop a positive belief in themselves that they too can succeed. On the other hand (I’ve seen this personally) some blacks never get this reassurance from anybody that they can succeed or will amount to anything. But success requires belief. Alot of black kids also do not get an early introduction to the necessary skills and mental faculties that it takes to remain competitive in the corporate American space. No blame, just an observation. A solution could be for more black parents going forward to learn the proper skills that it will take to compete in the corporate space (thus enhancing chances for success) and then instill those skills and mentalities into their kids from early ages. Obviously some black kids come from nothing and make successes out of themselves, but I’d argue that their road toward success would probably have felt easier if they had encouragement and/or introduction to the fundamentals of success from early ages.

    Anyways, America is a place where status, money, and power is a big part of what alot (not all) people live for. Some people become snobs as a casualty of the system, particularly in the more elitist locales such as Washington. And if you are a highly educated person, whether or not you want to admit it, you probably consider yourself (consciously or unconsciously) above others who don’t have the same level of education, power, status, fame, etc as you. In America, alot of whites have status, power, education, skills and a smaller percentage of blacks do. Just the law of the numbers.

    And this difference between the classes and races sometimes seems to be correlated to a lack of empathy, manifesting itself in the more successful (white or black) people looking down on the less successful people (white or black or whoever). In a capitalist society there are ways to win and ways to lose. This means there will always be haves and have-nots. I think though, the key is that even if you’re a “have,” you should remain humble and empathetic to others and to give back to the community (all races) if you can because we are all human beings.

    • I appreciate your comment. It is not my responsibility to put someone at ease who is experiencing and irrational fear. Based on a prejudice that permeates our society.

  20. Pingback: Race, Public Policy and Stand Your Ground | PA TIMES Online

  21. There is plenty of blame to go around. I wish more than anything for black America to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps. It is time for us to stop inflicting so much damage upon ourselves. On the flip side, the damage caused by institutional racism must be recognized, appreciated and evaluated. Opportunities must be provided for those who are most in danger. America has to invest in the repair of this class of people the same wayit has been done with the Indians and jews. Some many things have to change that it is sad to say that black males will continue to be exploited and neglected to the benefit of their white counterparts for many years to come. How many half wit white men have made a great life being a part of the prison industrial complex? It has become the replacement for all the manufactoring jobs that hand fled the US. Why would they want change? How many jobs would be lost if we ended the war on drugs? Which is an obvious assault on black people. The lawyers, police and correctional officers that would fill the unemployment office would be astounding. Lack of opportunity – blame that on white people. Lack of role models – thats our fault. Her fear is a big part of the issue but I commend her for recognizing it. That is a huge step. She has already done all that the average human being has to do help us move beyond. She has acknowledged her contribution, now let’s all do the same.

  22. First, I want to say I totally agree with your assertions. But, second, I want to say I am often troubled by bloggers and reporters who make assertions without citing the data to back them up. For example, your statement: “This is true despite the reality that white people have, and do, participate in mob and domestic violence in higher numbers, and that whites comprise more than 70% of drug abusers and dealers in our country.”

    You offer no citation with this assertion, and data I’ve seen suggest that at least with marijuana, use among whites and black is equally distributed. But I did some checking, and here are two links that do support your assertion regarding drug use:


    and http://healthland.time.com/2011/11/07/study-whites-more-likely-to-abuse-drugs-than-blacks/

    Regarding the mob and domestic violence assertions you make, I have no corroborating sources. Regardless, you write about an extremely important subject. Please offer citations when making assertions. Otherwise you leave your premise open to refutation. Again, this is a really important subject. It’s worth getting right the first time.

  23. I think it’s great we are having this life long debate that seems to rage indefinately.I get so confused..I am a black skinned British woman raised in a multi racial family where the adoptive parents were white.As I grow older I am under no illusion that institutional racism raged in our family as well as many other domestic issues.However I can honestly say that I never remeber being racially abused by any of my family members.Race became an issue for me when I left my family group and found my self mixing with main stream black society.I felt ridiculed because I spoke with a ‘white’accent…or if I ate ‘white’ food or liked ‘white music’.I was labelled as coconut despite having very obvious African roots.I believe that racial fear lies deepest in uneducated working class cultures or cultures that have used racial discrimination to gain political and financial power.Racism is not just a ‘white’phenomenum…it’s clearly been an issue for all since the fall of black power in ancient times to Arab power.What is missed here is that in ancient times ‘black’ or dark people held significant power in many parts of the world.There is evidence of wondering white Europeans in ancient times being slayed without mercy for wondering onto ‘dark’territory.However these slayings were almost certainly carried out by dark skinned ‘Arabs’.Not to mention European folks selling Irish peasents as slaves to these people.A fabulous terror used by Europeans to keep people in line and also make money.What ‘local’European would want to be shipped over seas to ‘dark’ people…
    People forget history ,class and culture…huge parts of ‘black’Africa have a rich history of spirituality,art,culture and learning.A minority of black Africa has a violent history that would not have affected white cultures.However Arab (and most white Europeans would until recently view these people as ‘black’…
    Would have a huge impact in fueling European fear of the ‘dark’ foreigner spreading fear and destruction.Just look at Spain and it’s attitude towards ‘black or people of colour..’ They were dominated by the ‘moors’ for centuries as were parts of Italy and there is no doubt that atrocities were metered out on the oppressed white people possibly up until the 13thC.Ofcourse race was a mitigating factor in times of battles for land and property where people sometimes looked so different…what better way to dehumanizes them.As a mental health expert I can see that the thread of any trauma can be passed from generation to generation …abuse is also a trauma so it’s hardly surprising that white power used their own trauma to overthrow and also controll as many peoples as they could.Whats missing here ..and probably intentionally …is the historic issue of ‘black power’…the richness that it had to offer the European culture…the diversity of ‘black power’… Interms of skin tone and culture.The importance of genetics..it is very likely that there is no such thing as a ‘pure’ race.Being on the ‘dark’ side of black…and yet one of my great Grandfathers was a white Dane from Northern Europe.The mixing of races does not gauarantee a particular skin tone..no matter how long ago that racial mix was…and Ofcourse physical and biological characteristics of a mix of race do not necessarily disappear.We are all predominantly a mix of races whether we like that or not.I have also noted that the more intelligent in ancient and historical times will mix race..and this is as much to do with a search for ‘difference’ …something that I naturally intelligent human beings do…
    To polarize races is a huge mistake as we are seeing more and more as man relays on man to battle the elements and fight for territory that ‘cultures’ can be the only relevant factor to Seperate man against man.

  24. Oddly enough, as a First Nations Cree woman living in Canada and in the margins bordering white communities…it is whites that I have always feared and mostly dreaded to come into contact with. I’ve seen the hatred in their eyes and I’ve heard their disparaging remarks and racial slurs directed not only towards me but towards unassuming and non aggressive “others’. I’ve spent years trying to make sense of white racism and have come to the conclusion that they have had it good for so long that when they are called out they are so thin skinned it’s actually impossible for them to not be racist!

  25. I posted this on my Facebook wall. I wish there were more converstions like this. Everything I would say has pretty much been said or addressed already. I am a person of color, but I am multiracial, with black, native (central) American, and Northern European lineage going back hundreds of years…..I grew up on a tropical island where racism does not exist, with the exception of some family members from Northern Europe ceasing communication with family members that “tarnished” their Northern European bloodline, no one wanted anything to do with it, because it would make you look completely stupid…However, due to my background this has placed me in a place where I am both “black” and “white.” No one is perfect, no race is perfect, no country, no region, including Northern Europe is perfect, but we are all human beings. We all have our faults.
    I have been around the world and perhaps America, the land of the free? – what is to represent a melting pot of cultures, is as a nation, one of the most poisonous places on the planet when it comes to racism… If I were to be born in the US, I would have been poisoned at an early age and I simply would not know any better, and would not have a clue of how bad it really is. Being born outside the US and looking in, its downright sick…pathological….and even politicians are intangled in it…..And any person educated in psychology or mental illness will tell you that the fact that someone may say racism does not exist actually proves how bad it really does exist…and to refuse to be open and honest about the true history and nature, even when it is presented is completely self delusional. Any educated scientist will tell you that actual facts and proof have higher value than perceptions and assumptions, and to apply this fact only when it suits them and to discard it when it does not is beyond hypocritical…I am not trying to be a hater, but being born and raised in an environment that does not tolerate racism, and values respect, then as an adult, being put into an environment dominated by racism …was..shocking….and sickening…
    Vikings and Norsemen are part of my bloodline and heritage…I have spent time in Scandinavia.. Denmark and Norway….and even there people view the racism in America as sick and disturbing, and not even worthy of discussion…and the fact that people in America who are leaders of society, who are the more higher educated, are a part of the racism picture is…..beyond comprehension….The culture of America unfortunately has tangled itself in this web of racism that goes back to the start of the country….I hate to say this but its going to take a few generations before it actually starts to go away…however due to the changing demographics of the American population, and further integration with global society, “White” people will eventually be a minority, and perhaps then, will the nation finally begin to heal itself of this sickness.

  26. Black, as a social construct is at issue here. There are several nations that have dark skin (India, Australia, New Guinea) to name a few. It is the inherent refusal to become like the oppressors that fuel the contempt that we discuss. Change is a cummin.

  27. This fear of Blacks by Whites is based on fear of reckoning . They don’t realize that their fear is based on what God will do to set right ,wrongs. Its in their consciousness and they strike out at us. Every time they lash out at you they lash out at the creator !

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