I can’t believe I’m writing this, but in light of several things lately, one of them being Joe Biden alleging that black people are all the same, members of one monolithic group, unlike Latinos who are diverse, I think I really need to. Yes, he actually said that. He is only one of many who have said something similar this week.
Something I think we’ve done wrong as Americans, (ha don’t roll your eyes) but seriously something we need to change and fix is the way we’ve allowed stereotypes about black people to dominate the narrative in a way that presents black people as all being of one mind, one culture, one style.
They are really culturally diverse, from city folks to country folks, from conservatives to liberals, from far right extremists to far lefty nutcases. There are atheists and Christians, Buddhists and New Agers. There are single parent families and people married for life. There are well off black folks and poor ones, people with privileged and entitled kids and people with broken and wounded ones, and everything in between. There are genuine Marxists and some real patriots who love their country. There are some strong family values advocates and some out trying to “smash the patriarchy and end heteronormative social relations.”
I’m having a chuckle here, this really happened to me a few weeks back. Someone on the internet was doing their usual thing, “you’re a racist, you need to get woke, you need to talk to black people about social justice,” and I looked up from my phone and there was a black guy in camo, armed, and not looking like he wanted to discuss “social justice” at all.
Nah, not at all.
It totally cracked me up because rather than being a member of BLM or Antifa, this guy was clearly planning to be part of the resistance. It was a hilarious juxtaposition, a downright comical contrast between the rigid stereotypes and harsh accusations coming at me on my phone and the truth standing right before my lying eyes. If I wasn’t such a chicken I would have taken his photo and posted it, but he didn’t look real inviting and open to such things.
Trust me, there are quite a few black folks who want nothing to do with BLM, antifa, or defunding the cops.….
Black folks are diverse, in fact it can get even more complicated than that. I worked with some guys from South Africa that had absolutely nothing in common with Americans, black or otherwise. They were absolutely charming. Seriously, they brought donuts and coffee and held doors open and pulled out chairs and stood up when a lady walked into the room. Tragic but funny too, because our first thought was, you guys sure aren’t from around here, are you?
There are black folks from Britain, some who are even very well off and privileged. I went to high school with one and he had a heavy accent, spoke better French than I did, and insisted on wearing his old school uniform and a tie. He couldn’t wait to go home and he thought all Americans were nuts. He was probably right.
There are black folks from Jamaica and Haiti, from Canada and France, and some French Canadians who don’t even speak English. Some black folks are descended from slaves and some are descended from slave owners. You aren’t supposed to say things like that, but it’s true. Life is complex, generations ebb and flow, and circumstances change.
I’m angry, bothered by the fact that we treat black folks like a monolithic voting block, and say things like “the black vote.” There is no actual “black vote” in that all encompassing sense. Obviously I can’t change politicians, but I can plead with people and ask them to not be misled, to not buy into the political narratives that try to enforce a stereotype.
BLM, at least in Seattle and Portland, is so predominantly white as to be almost worthy of satire. Very white, very privileged, and mostly just very confused as to the nature of the world around them. I keep trying to speak about the Adam Haner video, a white guy being pulled out of a pick up in Portland and assaulted. I keep trying to tell the story because while Adam Haner was indeed assaulted by a guy of mixed race, Adam himself was also a BLM protestor.
People have got to resist this narrative that tries to suggest that what is happening in our country is some kind of racial war. This is far more like a group of wealthy white elitists trying to create bread and circuses for the masses while using quite a few dumb white kids as useful idiots.
I hope I haven’t offended any “dumb white kids” in the writing of this post. If I have, well than don’t be one. God gave you a brain. Use it.