Black Oppression and White Guilt – Do You Feel It?
Paul Davis, Contributor
To my white brothers and sisters, what did you feel when you read the title of this article? Did you feel put off? Did you think ‘here we go again’? If so, you may be suffering from white guilt defensitus. Or it could be that your just ‘sick and tired of black folks whining and moaning about their problems.’ Maybe you simply just don’t possess the ability to empathize and understand the situation. ‘Slavery is over… get over it and move on!’ ‘My family didn’t own slaves… why should i feel guilty?’ ‘There’s always been slavery… even the Irish and other Europeans were enslaved.’ And the other classic justification of defence: ‘well blacks sold other blacks into slavery’… that one… as if that erases and absolves Europe and America’s 400 year implementation of the most brutal form of slavery the world has ever seen. And of course, we can’t leave out the possibility that you could just be a straight-up ignorant, full of hate racist / bigot.
There were two motivations for me writing this article. After watching this video about black men and the particular depression they experience, I sent it out to almost all of my Facebook ‘friends’ with this message: ‘I’m sending this to every black person I know and every other person who I feel could get the weight of this subject. So much has gone into the organized, systematic program of the black man’s mental, physical and spiritual subjugation. Seeing a video about this is more evidence that The Creator is awakening and purifying this planet as we speak.’
Take a look for yourself, first of all:
One response from a good friend of mine who is a very intelligent, free-thinking, ‘awake’ white guy who always gets defensive any time I bring up the subject of what black folks experience on a daily basis. I prefaced the video to him with this personal message: ‘please watch this and do three things for me… 1. don’t get defensive and 2. listen with your heart and 3. let’s talk about it soon. Peace’
‘Paul, even if i do watch it and feel like blacks are being oppressed by living in a “white system”, what do you reasonably expect me or any other white person to do about it? While I agree that there is truth in the blacks being oppressed, the fact is, the solution isn’t found in making whites, such as myself, feel guilty about it and accept further debt burden in the form of paying reparations. I mean seriously. If there is going to be an ultimate solution to the inequalities, we need to strike the problems at the root. Work on that, imo, and that’s what I’m trying to do with everything that I do.’
The other came from a kind hearted young man who has some black in his blood but is primarily white and looks white to the average eye.
This was his response:
‘Brother, I’m just as black as the man who raised me because I carry the weight of what has happened to the black man. But if we identify ourselves as black then we stop the growth of being being multi-coloured. Seeing one colour makes you as bad as those who oppress because of ignorance. Multicolored means multi cultured. We as people need to rise above for the sake of people, or we are doomed to share a similar fate as before. Love and connection is the key to longevity.’
To address the belief that ‘we all need to just stop talking about our own race cause when we do that, we’re not being unified and we need to just move past this stuff’… How about when this oppressive white supremest system comes down and removes the knife from black people… after that happens, maybe then we can start to “move on”, but that is far from coming to pass.
When a system like white supremacy is still in full effect, telling a black man or telling black people that we need to “stop talking about these black issues” is ignorantly absurd. Malcolm X said it perfectly when asked about the progress of white supremacy… he said ‘if you stick a knife in my back 9 inches and pull it out 6 inches there’s no progress… if you pull it all the way out that’s not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the knife made.’ He said, ‘they haven’t even began to pull the knife out and many won’t even admit that the knife is there.’
When it comes to true, unfiltered feelings / thoughts of white folks towards black folks, there are obviously various degrees within the psychological spectrum. I breakdown my white family in three sections…
On one end of the spectrum are those who are very understanding and empathetic towards the past and present situation of the black individual, family and community. And they can see and empathize with what they go through on a daily basis. On the opposite end are those that are just straight up, ‘I hate all blacks and wish they would go back to Africa,’ people. And in between are those people that have black friends, but yet when there’s any talk about black oppression or white supremacy they have a hard time hearing it for various reasons, whether it’s feelings of guilt or whether it’s just feeling like black people should move on and slavery’s over and get over it we’re all in this together’ thing. I feel that those are the majority… in the middle of the spectrum.
So let’s talk about this thing called ‘white guilt’.
This is a very interesting and deep subject. One thing for certain is that the mainstream media and the powers-that-be continually push this white guilt narrative on to white folks for a specific purpose. Firstly, to make us defensive to or even put-off by the information and not fully empathize or show compassion towards what black people have experienced and are still experiencing in this country today. Secondly, to use those who feel so badly and angry that they’ll be more easily manipulated into helping their bigger agenda. There is an obvious destabilization plan in effect that specializes in these tactics, and many are strategically guilted into a certain paradigm.
25 yrs ago, after meeting my dear friend and teacher Vasil, he introduced me to the horrible truth about the history and the depth of this subject. It broke me down to tears, broke my heart. It took me years to process it. In a big way, it was traumatic for me to even absorb it, so I can only begin to imagine how traumatic it is to the people who have endured and survived it and still carry a genetic imprint of the trauma. The healing from slavery in this nation has never happened. It was swept under the rug, and the psychological effects on the children of both the slave AND the slave master is a crucial study for those who truly seek to understand.
I believe that the weight of slavery and the comprehension of the horror of the African slave trade is way too much for the average person to handle. The brutal methodology, the crafted psychological breaking and creation of a self-refueling, self-generating, self-perpetuating mental condition for future generations. 400 years!
Breaking them like horses, paying particular attention to the female, for when you break her she will break her child for you. Taking the biggest strongest black male slave you can find and bringing him before the entire community, especially in front of the pregnant women, and brutally killing him either by beating, having vicious dogs tearing their bodies apart, tarring and feathering them, or tying their arms and legs to horses and being split into pieces.
Imagine that will you? It’s too heavy for most people to deal with and especially for white people.
What do you think that did to the womb and psyche of that African woman? What do you think that did to future generations of her children and grand children?
The slave system totally and completely dismantled the natural family structure which had the male as the protector and head, and forced the female, through crises, into the head of the family after stripping the black male slave of his dignity and manhood. Another very important tactic used in slavery is the pitting of one slave against the other. Taking of the lighter-skinned and pitting him against the darker skin, taking the more straight haired and putting him against the coarse haired.
When I started to understand this it answered my inner confusion about why it seemed that blacks hated on other blacks. Now imagine that black people did this to your ancestors. Would you feel the same dismissal of the subject as you do now?
I truly hope and pray and work towards healing the racial divide in this country. As white folks, we have to understand and listen to the multi-generational pain and trauma created by the institution of slavery. We also have to look deep into our hearts and find the blocks that may prevent that understanding and compassion from taking place. There’s a psychosis present that must be critically observed and studied. Defensiveness stifles resolution and until we are able to fully see and understand, we’ll never be able to heal our past trauma.
I do not wish for white people to feel guilty, especially for the wrong reasons. If you are in denial over the truth that black people have been oppressed then maybe some feelings of guilt may apply, but while the truth may hurt at first, when you deal with it and realize it you’re set free.
A close friend, a black man, said to me one day, “there’s no people on the face of the earth who are ready, willing and able to move on and heal more than black folks.” That is so true and apparent.
What do you want, my white family? To truly listen, to understand, and to heal? Or to continue to shut it down with, ‘that’s enough… get over it, slavery’s over… move on?’
About the Author
Paul Davis is a truth-seeker and community activist living in Austin, Texas. As a fifth degree master of Shaolin Kung Fu and teacher of this spiritual martial art for some 15 years, his daily work involves helping people towards the realization of self-mastery, self-confidence, and inner-strength. He can be reached on Facebook, here.
This article (Black Oppression and White Guilt – Do You Feel It?) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Paul Davis and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.