Black people in particular, and non-white people in general are, and have been paying with our lives for the collective white inability to relate to one another.
Our collective “race problem,” aside from being a striving to acquire and maintain power for one group at the expense of others—reduces down to white people’s family problems projected on to everyone else, instead of y’all going to family therapy.
It’s like you’re are so mad at mommy, daddy, coach, teacher… whoever else failed you… so mad at your cultural inadequacies, that you’ve become these voracious consumers, willing to fill your voids with whatever and whomever it takes to numb your pains.
I’m not saying the rest of us don’t have our own inadequacies we’re trying to escape. However, we haven’t subjugated people, well into the onset of modernity, as a result of it.
The problem didn’t used to include all of you, but as the definition of white expanded to include people who weren’t monarchs, nobility, or middle class, it’s become the majority of you. Like the Notorious B.I.G. told us: Mo money, mo problems. As y’all rose in rank and station, you forgot yourselves. You forgot your pre-white values, and the feelings that gave life meaning. In the absence of connection, and a working definition of personal power, you collectively chose to serve power.
This is my personal opinion, borne of both outsider observation and direct experience, but I believe it to be true:
The white people who survive into adulthood with their ability to relate intact are the ones white people want to claim the least.
This includes, but isn’t limited to:
- trailer trash,
- drug addicts, and
- those experiencing mental illness.
While that’s a significant portion of white people, it’s not enough.
Don’t get me wrong. Most of them may still confine that relating to their relatives, and others like them, but they can feel shit. That’s a start. Experiencing struggle on those lower socioeconomic rungs, or being in proximity to pain or marginalization keeps the aforementioned groups of white people in touch. By and large though, one of the defining features of whiteness is emotional distance, and a lack of feeling.
Confining feelings to people like you is what white supremacy encourages.
I’m not saying that human beings don’t have preferences or innately create hierarchies. We definitely play favorites.
What I am saying is that there are other cultures where compassion for one’s direct kindred, and compassion for others are not such the separate concepts that they’re made out to be by white supremacy. In other words: only looking out for your own isn’t the only way.
Circuit parties, hootenannies, guided vision quests: none of these are the norm for whiteness, but there are white people for whom this is more normal. Subsequently, they feel. They can relate to each other, and other people.
Whiteness loves confines, rules, math, hierarchies that assign value. Those come in the form of families run like businesses, prescriptive behaviors, restrictive social norms, and idyllic appearances, among other things. These are all boxes the aforementioned groups of white people don’t fit in.
In many instances, they proudly flout the norms.
White people outside of these groups—normal people, so to speak—have to work to reclaim their feelings.
That work can’t come fast enough. Actual peaceful coexistence depends on it.
A part of that work is in reconciling with each other.
Until that happens, reconciliation with other groups will always be tenuous, at best.
All it’ll take is one family disagreement amongst white folx to send everything to shit.
Sure, we may be able to keep on gettin’ by for another generation or two like we have been. But why?
Why survive, when we can thrive?
Do. The work. Reclaim relating.
You feel me?