Thursday, March 19, 2015

Some observations on some observations about race

Ms. Willowe
Obviously over the last few years, race has really become an issue in the United States. Largely, in my opinion, because of the election of Barack Hussein Obama, racial tensions seem to have ratcheted up. Most lately the neoPagan community has been fretting over a parody PantheaCon event description (not an actual event, mind you, just a parody description in a parody flyer) last month that made sport of White people being tired of Black people complaining about racism. Naturally, that caused Black people to complain about racism. They were "triggered", you see.

And now, over at Patheos' Pagan channel, one Cecily Joy Willowe has a post up entitled Not So Nice: on the subject of tone policing. In it, she makes some observations as a Black pagan (or, as she insists, a POC, or Pagan of Color, or Person of Color, or some damn thing) interacting with Whites. You can read the whole thing over there, but here are some things I really wanted to call out:
Recently, someone thanked me for voicing my opinion on a racial matter. They praised me for saying it in informative and non-confrontational way. They believe that those topics should be approached in a way that people can hear the message, learn and grow from it. Well, that is a sweet thought. However, I was quick to correct them. I was not trying to be nice or trying to educate. I was just speaking my truth.
I don't try to be nice, either (I do try to be polite, which isn't necessarily the same thing), although I certainly don't mind educating, and see nothing wrong with it (some Blacks and Hispanics do, which is part of the problem). Because there's not "my truth". There's just "truth", whether you want to hear it or not.
What I did not say is that I am not here to make White people better human beings. Do not pat me on the back because I am no one’s good POC. I am not here to protect their feelings and frankly I do not care about their feelings. I am fighting for myself and my people. White people can teach themselves how to be nicer and less racist.
Now we're rolling. Guess what? I'm not here to make Black people better human beings, either. I am not here to protect their feelings, either. If they're too fragile and get "triggered" whenever they see a joke about White people being tired of constantly walking on eggshells around Black people, it's not my job to try to cushion their wittle feewings.

But I note that above she says that she, as a Black person, wasn't trying to be nice, but White people should be nicer. Consistency, as the saying goes, is the hobgoblin of little minds, I suppose.

I too am fighting for myself and my people, and I am sick to death of white people being blamed for the ills of the world, and being told that we're the one's who need to change to accommodate the feelings of other people. Black people can teach themselves how to be more responsible and less ready to blame White people for their own damn problems, and insisting that White people change their behavior to make up for Black peoples' failures. Does this make me a racist? Of course not. I don't think Blacks are inherently inferior, but I do think that the Black community in the United States is the cause of much of its own problems. And I'm not the only one.

Black people (as a community) aren't in the troubles they're in because of White racism. They're in the troubles they're in because of their own chosen behaviors, and when they try to change those behaviors, they're actively stigmatized and accused of "acting White" or being an "Uncle Tom". If it really was a question of White racism, then we'd see the same problems in the Hispanic and Asian communities that we see in the Black community; rampant crime, broken families, surging drug use, teenage pregnancy, ever-rising reliance on government handouts, and an unemployment rate double that of Whites. But of course we don't, for the most part. Those must be some very discriminating discriminators.
However, it is nearly impossible to work with White people if they have not worked on their own entitlement issues. Otherwise, they ended up being in charge, taking up the all the space, and keeping the POC in the background. If you cannot handle a POC being at the center or being the leader, then the crucial racial problem will never be fixed.
Here's a radical thought. You don't want to be kept in the background? Assert yourself. Don't ask the White people to self-censor, or to shut up and be deferential to you, or "work on their entitlement issues". No one is "entitled" to be in charge. People end up in charge because everyone else lets them. You want to be in charge? Demonstrate that you can do it. Take charge, don't wait for someone to put you in charge. Don't let someone else in that space. Change your own behavior, don't demand that everyone else change their behavior to accommodate your wishes.

And that's part of what Asatru can do. Being the indigenous religion of the northern and western European people (and arguably beyond; the Germanic tribes got around), adopting the faith of our ancestors fills us with a confidence that neither Christianity nor secularism can provide when faced with these sorts of ridiculous demands. Whine to someone whose god tells them to turn the other cheek. Complain to someone whose faith was made for slaves, and that was used to justify slavery for centuries, of people of all races. Don't bitch to me.

You want my respect? Stand up for yourself. Don't insist I lower myself to your level because you're not willing to stand. That is quite literally your problem, not mine.

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