In 2014, I shouldn’t have to write this.
Hell, in the 21st century, this shouldn’t be a “thing.”
Sure, I chuckled back in December when the GOP sent out that dumb tweet about Rosa Parks, but that’s because I didn’t want to believe that people really thought racism was over. A quick search on Twitter would illustrate the ignorance of Americans who believe racism ended last century, but I’m not gullible enough to believe that Twitter users who hide behind anonymous accounts are indicative of the entire population.
But then there was Sarah Palin who said that thing about slavery. And then Allen West said that other thing. And, not to be outdone, Ben Carson said some more things. Ironically enough, two of those three are black, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that racism and slavery and discrimination are being talked about today in a way that diminishes the severity and immorality of the events that have taken place over the last four centuries. That ugly period of America’s history – which included the Civil War, WWI, WWII, the Great Depression, etc. – was, as The Daily Beast writer Jamelle Bouie said, “so terrible, in fact, that people who lack perspective are tempted to use it as a shorthand for anything they don’t like.”
Perspective is the key word in that sentence, and it is the very reason this column was written this week. A lack of perspective is what led to the White Man March this past weekend in New York City.
The White Man March was a demonstration of white American males to “show that white people are organized and impassioned, that we know what the anti-white agenda is all about, and that we are dedicated to waking up as many of our folk as possible,” according to its official website. The march’s organizer, Kyle Hunt, told Vice.com that “Many white people are getting fed up with ‘white privilege’ conferences, ‘the knockout game’ and other anti-white violence, affirmative action and other discriminatory policies against white people.” Hunt even called out actor Jamie Foxx for once joking that he got to kill white people in Django Unchained (which, if you recall, was a movie about slavery).
One look at Hunt’s website will tell you all you need to know about this misguided man. He makes many unfounded, ignorant claims about race, basically presenting the white race as the No.1 oppressed group in the country. The official White Man March flier makes claims such as “Diversity = White Genocide,” “anti-racist is a code word for anti-white,” and, laughably, “white supremacist is just an anti-white slur.”
The fact that the Ku Klux Klan still has an operating website and is apparently recruiting children with candy makes the White Man March not that hard to believe. But, as the GOP Twitter account foolishly stated, racism is supposedly over. Actually, if anything, it is black people who are the biggest racists these days.
Fellow Maneater columnist Rivu Dasgupta touched on the insane notion of “reverse racism” last month, explaining that “this so-called ‘reverse racism’ is a common sentiment that escapes the vapid mouths of the privileged whenever the experiences of people of color are brought up in conversation.” When white people ask for white history month or a white culture center or just one homecoming celebration, it is meant to present blacks as the modern-day oppressors, which is laughable at best and ignorant at least.
But if there were to be a white history month or white culture center, what would it look like? Would it include the history of European countries invading and colonizing Africa, setting up the transatlantic slave trade that led to chattel slavery in the south? Would it include the Jim Crow era, a system that represented anti-black racism, second-class citizenry of blacks and the widespread belief that blacks were intellectually and culturally inferior to whites? Would it even include the school-to-prison pipeline or voter suppression (Voter ID laws) that negatively impacts black Americans in today’s society?
My guess is no. There hasn’t been much thought put behind a white history month because it’s only brought up to combat Black History Month; something white people can’t call their own.
Which is what the White Man March is all about. Because we live in a time where there is a black president, black women are enrolling in college at higher rates than any other group and glass ceilings are being broken at alarming rates, white men fear the change of this country. Bill O’Reilly said “it’s not a traditional America anymore” after President Obama won reelection in 2012. What O’Reilly meant is that America is not as white as it used to be.
For some reason, white men fear what comedian Patrice O’Neal joked about three years ago about black people owning white slaves.