“Not All White People…”
I am sick and tired of hearing about the fears and trepidations of White people who deemed it necessary to enforce the horror that has become the Trump presidency on the rest of us.
- “White fear of demographic change is a powerful psychological force” says one headline.
- “White Fears Stifle Honest Dialogue On Race” says another.
- “White ‘Power’ and the Fear of Replacement” says a third.
White people, you are struggling and squirming and destroying the economy for the rest of us, undermining the rule of law, destroying the capacity of the media to bring information to the public in an effective and efficient manner, you are fouling the judicial process by altering the very practice of law and relationships in this country.
White people you are destroying the very nation you suppose you want to save by being racist, bigoted, short-sighted fearful individuals who are collectively-acting like mobsters, strong-arming the nation with the premise — “Dat there sure is a nice nation you got there. Be a shamed if something happened to it.”
I am sick to death about the conversations of white fears and their effect on society and the overall scope of world development as we know it.
You are not the center of the Universe. And your fear? It means nothing to a person of color in this nation. Let me tell you why:
White people (or anyone who can pass visibly for white people and thus enjoy white privilege): You know that feeling you get when you’re on the wrong side of town,
in the dark,
on a block with too few streetlights,
not quite sure which way is the safest,
Not exactly sure you know where you’re going but you aren’t going to ask for directions,
For fear of being mugged, dragged away, tortured
— that’s a thing, right? —
— torturing white people who get lost in the hood —
Ask anybody for help kind a feeling? Pure fear. Made worse by slasher, monster, and gang-banger flicks.
Come on, picture yourself with that fear. Work up to it. Imagine yourself in this mythical (or not depending on where you live) place. Now once you imagine this fear level, ride it for a few minutes until you see someplace familiar in your mind. Or you run into some friends who give you the illusion of safety. You reach your car you parked in this questionable neighborhood because it was the only parking near the theater.
Yeah. Wasn’t hard. Probably saw a Black face or two if we’re being honest.
Now imagine living with that feeling for more than the three to five minutes you just imagined. While it’s happening it seems to go on forever but really just a few minutes passes. Then you go back to normal.
Now imagine that it doesn’t. Imagine that the fear goes on from the moment you walk out the door until the moment you return. Every interaction triggers this fear. Every decision you make could activate this fear. Talking to anyone strange could activate your terrifying fear of an unknown threat.
Imagine living with it. Daily. For the rest of your life.
This is the experience of any Black person moving through any White Space. Whether it be work, entertainment, on the street, in the store, basically anywhere in the public tends to be a White Space.
A space where Whiteness is the dominant paradigm. All conversation, all protocols, all expectations of behavior is structured around Whiteness.
Your fear, while you are moving through a neighborhood known for being dangerous is a legitimate fear; it deals with the threat of bodily injury, loss or even death.
Our fear, moving through your world is exactly the same thing. Starting from the moment of our conception, we deal with the stress of Being Black.
Our mothers struggle more, work harder, work longer and don’t enjoy a high quality of life in most circles. Just getting through maternity is a challenge.
Our childhoods are often in places where water quality is questionable. (See: Flint, Michigan) Threats we can’t even see afflict us. We can trust nothing said to us (See: Slavery). We can trust nothing promised us (See: 40 Acres and a Mule).
We can’t even pretend if there is a problem we can even call the police without finding ourselves getting arrested, brutalized or shot, and this is when WE make the call. When other make the call, we mostly just die.
Now imagine living with the fear of low quality housing, poor paying jobs, dangerous work, the stress of making bills, childcare challenges, lack of upward mobility and all of the other continued stresses which activate our fears.
Of generational poverty.
Of educational instability.
Of opportunity denial, unintentional and intentional bias.
We swim in a society designed to keep us afraid. To make us trust nothing. To denigrate our image. To weaken us in the eyes of our children. To break our spirits. Yes, intentionally designed to make us doubt our selves, our capability, our strength, our beauty. Our love for one another.
Fear. Is the weapon.
Don’t ever speak to me of White Fears. White trepidations. White misgivings.
Because your fears are a candle flame to the Sun we people of color must traverse thanks to your fear of losing your place. We bask in the inhumanity of your mistreatment, every time you alter a law, change a rule, forget to be kind and make a new pronouncement which harms mostly people of color. And gays. And trans. And anyone else on your latest hate brigade.
Your Sun is setting. It will be Dark, soon.
You will have to learn to navigate the Night. Like we have had to tolerate the Day, as you required of us.
Pray we are better to you, than you have been to us. It might not hurt to acquire some manners, lest you live long enough to have us as your doctors, nurses, and other health practitioners.
Get use to the Dark. Who knows, you may even come to like it. I’ve heard once you go Black…
Thaddeus Howze is a writer, essayist, author and professional storyteller for mysterious beings who exist in non-Euclidean realms beyond our understanding.