Last night I came to the support of a friend (let’s refer to her as TJ) who had posted in one of the local liberal Facebook groups. She was just trying to let off a little steam after leaving a different group with a similar orientation, after other members of that group had called her a “racist” multiple times on multiple occasions. Why? Not because of anything TJ said or did, but solely because she’s white, specifically Jewish third-generation Atlanta white.
Unfortunately, more of the same started up in response to her post in this group particularly from a person we’ll call Group Member (GM for short). The gist was that all whites ARE racist, and by denying it we are just proving it. Another member suggested that perhaps the word “privileged” was more appropriate and accurate, which I could certainly agree with. GM and her supporters responded that “racist” was just a word, and if it bothered us we just needed to get over it!!
In her support, I posted two definitions from dictionary.com — racism and bigotry, along with a comment that SJWs by their rhetoric are all too adept at alienating others who actually have the same goals.
I was told by GM in no uncertain terms that my posted definitions were incorrect and inappropriate, and given a link to an article at Everyday Feminism entitled “Why Using the Dictionary Definition of Racism Just Doesn’t Work.” (GM also posted two additional links along the same lines, but I can’t retrieve them since TJ deleted her post this afternoon before I could record it.) I’d seen the first article before, ho hum, and said it was just coming from an alternative set of biases which were no better nor worse than the ones the article spoke against. I did throw a tiny bit of gasoline on the fire by adding that the refusal of GM & her supporters to even acknowledge any opinion other than their own was, guess what? Bigotry. I utterly agreed, though, with the black woman who said that continued self-examination and learning were important!
The discussion went downhill from there. It didn’t take long to see that I was only going to aggravate myself & spike my blood pressure if I didn’t step away, so I did. Eventually TJ deleted the post, unfortunately before I could capture it.
I know I have my own blind spots, so in the midst of all this I messaged a friend, R, to ask for his definition of racism & if white people are by definition racist. R is one of the few people I actually enjoy such discussions with because he is a sane, insightful human being who sees both details and the big picture. His response:
I would think it is a couple of things. Blatant ignorance in light of facts as a way to claim superiority would be the way I’d think of it. I don’t believe all people of <insert race here> are racist. I do see cases of when being blind to a racial moment can rub off that way. Its hard to explain.
to be continued…