lastcivilizedwoman

on being afraid and the end of white privilege

July 5, 2014
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Most black people I’ve met here in STL are afraid. Living here makes black people afraid to live, to learn, to be good to each other or to leave. I’m not afraid and that makes me suspect and feared. I am suspect because I am not susceptible to the spirit-numbing, soul-robbing, mind-game-playing, gaslight tactics people do to each other here in the state of Missouri.

Two different jobs, I had supervisors tell me I should go work someplace else. One of them actually got me fired from my job because he couldn’t obfuscate me into being someone I didn’t want to be. The other one, instead of talking to me like an adult, kept threatening to write me up, insisting that I didn’t belong on “her” team. She ultimately had to give me a review (written by someone else) that probably made her want to gag, because I didn’t do what she was trying to mind-fuck me into doing. The only reason I’m still at my job is because I was able to transfer away before she was able to come up with a trumped-up cause to fire me.

But, back to my task at hand: black people I have met here and became friends with have all said the same thing, “they are afraid to go anywhere that they don’t already know someone.” They worry that if they don’t know someone in a different city, they run the risk of being hurt, robbed or worse. For some reason, these folks here believe the rest of the world “is out to get them” if they venture past the borders of the state of Missouri.

I stopped being friends with two women because they were afraid. I invited both of them to celebrate birthdays in Las Vegas and both of them wanted to know why I wanted to leave STL to have a birthday party. Neither of them wanted to leave the city because they were afraid.

It took me a while to figure out what was really going on.

I’m not from STL, so I’m not susceptible to the fearfulness that has been fed black folks here from the cradle to the grave. It’s why the city school system is unaccredited and why at least four generations of blacks (and some whites) here are ill-spoken, illiterate. humiliated and afraid, even the ones who consider themselves middle and upper-class. There are several generations of black folks who are cut-out, left-out, shut-out, locked-out, locked up and put-out. The young people, as in every revolutionary generation, have risen up and are demanding an end to the status quo of “white privilege”.

STL Blacks carry on with a lot of uncle tom, handkerchief-head, shuck and jive performing and will turn on each other in a heartbeat, especially if they think it will curry favor with the folks they think are running things here. They don’t think for themselves because they believe doing so will get them in trouble. Every question begins with “what would the white folks do?” Blacks here won’t think for themselves and they can’t take care of each other because of this.

It may have taken the Michael Brown shooting in August to start the STL revolution. It is now the beginning of the end of “white privilege” with the several shootings of black men in the last 2.5 months. Unfortunately, it also means that innocents will be victimized until the situation is changed.

None of the people I deal with, including my closest friend, have a clue on how to present themselves as equals. The one thing I’ve noticed is that white people here, if they can’t get you to defer to, obey them or step aside, they will either ignore what you say and do or they will do everything they can to ostracize you or even race you up the sidewalk to get in the front door of the closest grocery store first. None of them know how to talk to or behave with a black person who is well- or better-educated and speaks good English. Their belief system is that we are dirty, stupid animals and incapable of behaving in a civilized manner and uplift ourselves from a state of poverty and ignorance.

It is really great that Reverend Al, Brother Jesse, Martin Jr, Father Dick and Dr. Cornell have come to town to help folks stand up for themselves. Even though they are on the right track with the non-violent pop-up protests, none of them have come up with the right speech or the right phrase to set this town on proverbial “fire”! None of them have seen what is really going on in STL!!

From my point of view, it appears that all of the police departments in the metro area have signed on to maintain the current culture of “white privilege.” A culture that is designed to keep people of colour “in their place” and maintaining a way of life where non-whites aren’t allowed to fully participate in the economic and educational riches of this region. Blacks and whites here don’t like each other, because both groups have been fed with mother’s milk not to like or to talk to each other in any meaningful way.

“White privilege” is so well entrenched in the MO culture that no one seems to realize this is the crux of the unrest. It is the reason that so much misinformation in the Michael Brown case has been released, which is designed to discredit the current protests and demands being made. This is also the reason for the violence-prone “renegade demonstrations” that pop up from time to time at high-visibility venues like the Dome, Busch and SLU.

The entrenched “privilege” regime is afraid and trying to wait until the depths of winter, to release the non-indictment of officer Darren Wilson, hoping it will postpone a riot such as the ones in LA in the early-90s with the Rodney King police beating verdict.

It’s more like “Forsyth Stays White!”, the cry that was heard in late 1987 in Georgia. There is a concerted effort to keep the white privilege power base in STL metro intact, but without the overt racism that got Cumming, GA in so much trouble.

Blacks and whites here see each other as the “enemy”, not as someone to share economic wealth, educational opportunities, governmental and political equality with.

It is time for an end to “white privilege” in metro STL…