I agree with many of the things you say. People can call it whatever they like, but it must be fair to talk about the fact that many white people do not feel safe around many minorities. And this is a result of many minorities straight out hating or disliking white people. Many object to calling this racism, as they claim only whites can be racist.
It is an absurd notion, as the whole point is that people judge you based on skin color. For whites the judgement is not based on others believing you to be less intelligent or capable. But rather a belief that by being white you are one of the oppressors. You are somehow guilty of all the crimes and racism committed by anyone who was ever white.
It is almost a sort of religious belief. Being born with sin. It is as if you are born white, you are born a racist, and you are permanently marked by the sin of your forefathers. You are a legitimate target, because you are one of the bad ones.
It is a very human behavior. It plays itself out in many different ways. In my native Norway, children born as half-German during the war suffered a lot in post war Norway. It was not that Norwegians deemed Germans as less intelligent or capable. Germans have always been admired for their industriousness. But there was that deep held conviction that Germans where somehow born immoral and evil. My mother when she grew up did not in fact realize that a German was a nationality. The way grownups talked about Germans was similar to how you speak of a feral animal. She though a German was something akin to a large dangerous wolf.
These poor half-German kids got hated an attacked simply because they carried the sin of their fathers with them. This is the great irony. So many people when fighting racism end up doing exactly the same things as the racists. They judge people who look like their oppressors as a group.
In Norway it has long been the case that gangs of various disadvantaged minorities go to the more affluent areas to rob or beat up the kids there. A girl I worked with who grew up in a somewhat posh area of Oslo, who hung out with a gang of other posh girls remarked once on how through all teenage years there would be these minority gangs venturing into their area to beat them up. As if they took some kind of pleasure to “get back at,” the ones they deemed to have it all.
I could mention more stories, but the problem and difficulty of talking about stories like this is that it tends to play into the hands of racists and white supremacists. It is exactly the kind of things they want to hear. It is what they want to use as an excuse to push their hatred.
My intention is not to make people hate minorities. I live in an area where most people are minorities and I have not had any problems with anybody. My kids have had a very good time at school. But I know things start to change at middle school and high school level.
My own kids are mixed and we just had a white supremacists shooting his step-siter, not looking all that different from my kids. So I know racism is dangerous.
I just think white people also have to be allowed to express that they also feel fears and worries. When they are not allowed to speak about this, I think it simply drives racism. They get repulsed by majority society, and there is a whole underground of the alt-right ready to open their arms and listen to them.
I don’t think one can truely solve racism, if only one side is allowed to talk and the other side must merely shut up and listen. And I don’t necessarily blame minorities for that. Rather it is an issue with the self-flagellation post-modernist woke left, or whatever you may call them. I don’t really know how to categorize them. It is hard to call them just extreme left, because I am pretty much a democratic-socialist and likely far left of a lot of these people on a lot of issues.
These people don’t really care about solving problems of racism. Their primary objective seems to get white people to indulge in never ending self-hatred.
On the other hand I am a leftist and I don’t buy the conservative version of this. Sure people can go on blaming black culture. You remark some on this about your life in Detroit. The blacks who call those who want to care about school as acting white.
Just because these people have self destructive attitudes does not in any way absolve society of any blame. Nobody is born a school hater. It is taught. Culture comes from somewhere. In America in particular society at large cannot be absolved from the fact that for generations black people where whipped if they dared learn the alphabet. A slave was not supposed to learn to read and write.
The Southern States create a toxic anti-intellectual culture. Just giving a man his freedom does not change his culture. It does not change how he was raised and how he was taught. Culture carries through generations.
I had a Norwegian friend who lived in a sort of ghetto area of Oslo. A lot of poor minorities. His life was mostly okay. Nothing like how you describe. He was there primarily due to having a single mom. But in many ways never belonged there. He came from a lineage of well educated people.
And hence he was always an outsider. They may have lived in a small shitty apartment but they had lots of books at home. Knowledge was valued. His minority friends had few if any books at home. Their parents may have had the same amount of money but where not part of a longer intellectual tradition.
Hence just because you live in the same poor neighborhood does not mean you have the same startingpoint in life. Your human capital is not the physical house you live in, the food you eat and the clothes you wear. It is the values, knowledge and attitudes past down to you from your parents and other friends and family members.
I am not saying we should not push people to be better versions of themselves and not expect them to improve themselves. But one should be careful about saying “I am the same as you,” just because you grew up the same place.
Who would you rather be. The boy that grows up in a poor house with loving parents, instilling you with strong values, work ethics, a love of knowledge. Or grow up in a house of plenty with abusive parents, with disdain for knowledge and hard work?
Of course in reality this scenario seldom plays out, because people with attitudes of the latter may not stay rich for long.
My point is that it is not all up to the individual. It is easy to fall into the trap and use the logical fallacy of survivors bias. People in troubled areas need to apply themselves but they also need help. We cannot do it all by ourselves. Humans need humans.
Is All Prejudice Racism?
I feel one important thing seldom discussed is the fine line between prejudice and racism. I certainly have prejudice against various minority youth dressed up like gansters. I keep my distance. But is that the same as racism?
I will argue it is not, for this simple reason. I don’t believe their skin color, race, ethnicity or whatever you may call it has anything to do with their behavior directly. It is just a proxy. It is a product of the culture and circumstances they have experienced.
It is my belief that most people will turn out equally well regardless of skin color if raised in the right way in a positive culture, where they are given opportunities, loved, trusted etc.
Hence I have a positive outlook. Through deliberate work, I believe people can be raised up and become more like the majority or perhaps even better. It is not like I believe whatever the majority does in a western country is always the right thing.
This is a very different view from what I would call the “real” racists, the alt-right, “race realists”, the fascists and the Nazis. They believe this kind of difference is permanent and predicated on your genetics. They believe black people are destined to be criminal. It is in their genes they believe.
I don’t believe that. I think culture, history and the environment they grow up in is the primary cause of the anti-social behaviour you experienced in e.g. Detroit. If in some ways one could have made all those assholes you encountered grow up in a more beneficial and prosperous environment, I believe they would have been better people.
Disclaimer to Haters and Lovers
This is a tricky topic to write about and I don’t always know how to write it best. English isn’t my first language, not even my second. I notice that when I move into this kind of territory I tend to get embraced by people I would deem racists. While the post-modernist woke left are more likely to cuss me out.
It is not that I care that much about what a random individual on the internet thinks about me personally. I know what I stand for. But I hate to be seen as an ally of something I am not. I have seen that with people such as Sam Harris. He has gotten embraced by a lot of the alt-right who are too dumb to grasp the nuance of his argument. Sadly Sam Harris isn’t quite bright enough either to realize he has become a sort of mascot for a lot of crazy reactionary people.
So to be clear, I am not a friend of the “race realists,” and while a lot of the woke left annoy me I do feel they are may ideological allies, even if the feeling is not always mutual.
It is the price you pay when your prime motivation isn’t to have perfect score on ideological purity tests.