The Five Levels of White Folks Feelings About Black Folks in America Today
Talking about racism in America today is quite an uncomfortable thing for many people to do. Speaking for myself, I know that it’s impossible to understand the legacy of slavery and the effect it still has on our culture, but in order to truly heal from it, it needs to be brought out into the open.
Racism as a word is widely overused and all too often used for the wrong reasons. It doesn’t mean just one thing, although it often connotes a certain image of bigotry and outright hate. More often than not, it is much more subtle than that, having many layers, levels, or even densities to it. We still live with the lingering manifestations, the remnants, of the very real history of white supremacy and institutionalized black oppression in America.
READ: BLACK OPPRESSION AND WHITE GUILT – DO YOU FEEL IT? by Paul Davis
For your consideration on this sensitive matter, I share with you an excerpt from a conversation I recently had with a friend of mine who is very outspoken about this. He’s a white man with very close, lifelong ties to the black community, and someone who has deeply studied the hidden history of the black experience on planet earth.
‘5 Levels of White Folks Feelings About Black Folks’ by Paul Davis
1. Hates blacks.. period. White supremest.
2. Doesn’t hate them but thinks they’re inferior, uncivilized, untrustworthy, etc. Doesn’t want to live in the same neighborhood. Don’t like race-mixin. White supremest.
3. Doesn’t mind them but don’t want to hear about slavery. ‘its over.. Irish were slaves too.. blacks sold other blacks into slavery’, etc. Has a few black friends.. listens to some rap and r&b. Says that white supremacy / advantage don’t exist. Says they don’t care about race-mixin but really do.. (especially if it’s their daughter.) Hates ‘white-guilt’.. says their family didn’t own slaves.
4. Likes / enjoys black people.. doesn’t really understand the culture, attitude and anger but isn’t threatened by it.. sees that blacks have it harder than them and experience racism sometimes. Has some black friends.. cool with dating blacks. Avoids white-guilt. Sincerely wishes things were better.
5. Loves, appreciates and can empathize with black people.. speaks up and out and in some way strives to help the situation. Sees the systemic white supremacy, understands the agenda against people of color. Understands the psychology behind both white-guilt and white-denial.
To my white peeps.. where do you reside?
Imagine a person who comes to realize after months or even years of therapy that certain events and experiences in their childhood.. some they didn’t fully remember, were strongly affecting their adult self-image and thought processes for all these years. In a very similar fashion I believe this is necessary of every white person here in America to do regarding racism, slavery and the institution of white supremacy. There is deep trauma in our very DNA and it’s not going away by sweeping it under the rug and not facing it. The horrible, brutal and barbaric form of slavery that took place in this country for over 400 years has imprinted that deep trauma. If we were to watch it truly dramatized in a movie most of us couldn’t sit through it.. couldn’t take it mentally, physically or spiritually. That deep trauma is still there and needs healing. Thanks to my teacher who made sure I heard all the horrible details so that I could begin to fully face the truth.. it was heartbreaking. My heart still hurts over this subject. I believe we have to create what we envision rather than fight against what we don’t want.
My comments are as follows:
I think there is a subconscious thing happening here as well. Like a subconscious, programmed fear of black people. You may not be a racist in any sense of the term, but if you’re white and part of this culture, there is a sort of general, low-level subconscious fear thing happening.It’s like that fear that non-racist people have when, for example, they see a black guy walking in a parking lot at night, vs seeing a white guy. Just by virtue of the person’s skin color it triggers a fear of safety. But it’s a programming thing, not a conscious thing.So you can’t really pin the blame on the person, and unwinding it is really a task. It’s just there because of our shared history. And because of how the media portrays black people. This reinforces the fear.I think you can really only undo through experience.For example, when I first moved to Costa Rica, I drove down this one street and was like, ‘holy shit, this place is scary.’ A month later I ended up moving to that street and after a year I thought it was funny that I had that first reaction.Another example from CR.I recall when I first got there, I was learning Spanish. So, I would hear people, like guys walking down the street talking, but I didn’t know what they were saying. So my programming kicked in and I would think about my safety.Shortly after when I had Spanish down, I realized they’d be talking about mundane shit, like, ‘did you call your sister,’ or whatever.So through those experiences my fear of people different from me faded.But I think that the unconscious racism is the most common, and perhaps the most insidious. It deals with issues of trust, which is what this is all about, as I see it.Do you trust people who aren’t like you?
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About the Author
Dylan Charles is the editor of Waking Times and co-host of Redesigning Reality, both dedicated to ideas of personal transformation, societal awakening, and planetary renewal. His personal journey is deeply inspired by shamanic plant medicines and the arts of Kung Fu, Qi Gong and Yoga. After seven years of living in Costa Rica, he now lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he practices Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and enjoys spending time with family. He has written hundreds of articles, reaching and inspiring millions of people around the world.
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