I remember once in college I had the opportunity to witness a human dissection. Two, actually; they were happening side by side.
My friend—she was pre-med and the reason I got to watch this whole thing—was working on the male cadaver, and was in the process of exploring his left arm. I’ll never forget how intricate and complex it was. So many veins and muscles and tendons and bones—it was incredible.
The cadavers were male and female, but I don’t recall if both were the same race. What I do remember was that inside (save for the cancer in the female cadaver, and the differences in genitalia of course) they were exactly the same.
Well duh. It wasn’t a dissection of a human happening alongside the dissection of a frog.
Both were human beings. Both were people.
Some of us may be darker or lighter than others; some of us have a genetic mutation that makes our eyes blue and not brown; some of us may have curly hair and others straight.
It’s pretty simple. A human being is a human being is a human being.
And yet—surprisingly—there are STILL people who can’t get this through their thick, close-minded vitriolic heads.
Like the gem of an editorial board member they just hired over at the New York Times.
One Ms. Sarah Jeong somehow found a job at one of the most prestigious papers in the world despite her blatantly racist, hateful comments, which include but are certainly not limited to:
She’s not the first; she’s far from it.
The internet’s full of the same kind of talk—from blatant hate to blanket assumptions and everything in between—like this one from the same paper that hired Ms. Jeong in the first place (which, I suppose, speaks volumes):
“…if you’ve taken even the tiniest smidge of time to absorb stories outside of your racial group, this is not a surprise particularly when students are growing up in a culture of white supremacy, while white adults systemically neglect to pursue truth and reconciliation regarding our history.”
“…racism is a white problem. White privilege is a manipulative, suffocating blanket of power that envelops everything we know, like a snowy day.”
It’s all different flavors of the same basic concept:
White People Are The Problem.
(And yes, I did just use emojis in my piece.)
I’m not saying white people never did anything wrong. This may come as a shock to some people, but us white people over here realize that some of our ancestors enslaved other races, mistreated immigrants, lynched black people, and on down the dirty awful list it goes.
But I’m sick and tired of having it portrayed as though “white people” are the only people to have ever done anything wrong to another human being ever in the history of the world, and that we are required to pay eternal penance for it.
In one of my old hometowns, there’s a large stone buffalo honoring the 38 Dakota Sioux Indians whose lives were taken in the largest mass execution in U.S. history. And that’s generally the extent of the story people hear—despite the fact that those men had attacked the town of New Ulm as part of the Dakota Uprising, killing women and children along their way; some of whom died horrendous, torturous deaths. (And yes, I know this was part of a larger conflict with the U.S. government over land the Dakota had sold to it, but that’s not the point.)
In Benin, Africa, there’s a memorial sitting on the edge of the sea—The Door of No Return— honoring the many lives taken by the European colonial slave trade. And yet save for a very small group of people, hardly anyone knows that it was the African tribal leaders themselves who often profited by selling their own people into slavery.
Cesar Chavez is hailed as a civil rights leader and “instrumental in securing union rights for migrant farm workers during the 1960s,” and yet very few know that he referred to illegal Latino immigrants as “wetbacks,” mistreated and humiliated his union workers, and “practiced the take-no-prisoners, balls-out tactics of a Chicago organizer.”
But if you listen to the media, pop culture, music, politics and especially academia, “white people” are the be-all-end-all problem in modern society, and the only group with a problem to fix. And while not everyone holds opinions quite as hateful as Ms. Jeong, our society doesn’t seem to do much to condemn it.
People, come on. Be real. Deep down, regardless of whatever politically correct racially appropriate mantra(s) we may have bought into, you all know that white people are not exclusively responsible for societal ill. Even Ms. Jeong herself.
So, I ask again: why is it ok to hate white people?
What does it solve?
Who does it help?
Mary Ramirez is a full-time writer, creator of www.afuturefree.com (a political commentary blog), and contributor to The Chris Salcedo Show. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org; or on Twitter: @AFutureFree