JayDot writes | more than 8 years ago
This entry comes as a result of this story, to which I made this post. I was then directed to this journal entry. I have decided to repond to that journal entry.
I would like to start by thanking toiletsalmon (whom I will hereafter refer to as TS) for being willing to engage in this sort of discussion. I have had many different responses from various types of people when attempting to engage in discussion on this topic, but few have been as direct and to-the-point as in the journal entry linked above. I will attempt to answer the points raised in order, with the understanding that the aforementioned journal entry was originally a reply to a different post so some may not apply to my own post.
On the initial assumptions, I must confess that I am in fact a "white boy" and I do live in the US. I mention this because much of TS's writing is based on these assumptions; had they been false, I would have had an easy "out" and could have ignored the writting with the excuse that it "didn't apply". However, it does, so some answer must be given. Also, in TS's initial response to my post, he asked if I "think 40 years is a long time?". I must answer honestly. Since I have only been alive for two decades, a span twice as long does indeed seem long to me. My parents are only in their mid-forties. I must confess then that I am but a young idealist, and my writing apparently reflects that more then I had intended.
In my original post I had tried to maintain a racially neutral tone (which I admit is difficult for someone lacking in experience of both sides). The concept that I was trying to promote was not to ignore racism or deny its existence. I know from observation that racism does still occur. But that does not mean that every white person is racist. It doesn't even mean that a majority of white people are racist. I was taught from an early age the value of all people, no matter what the color of their skin happened to be. To quote a song, "Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight." That's what we believed, and that's how we behaved. Why, then, am I saddled with the guilt of generations past? Looking through my family tree, I can find no reference to a slaveholding ancestor (though I recognize the possibility). I do not understand why am I blamed for racism that I do have.
I don't even make the assumptions that TS described. My dislike for certain individuals is based on their words, not their color. It is based on their actions, not the family they come from. The reason I have fewer black friends then white is because I have historically been unwelcome to the black kids. The exception to this general rule is the sports teams that I have been on. By working with my teammates to improve our game, I was finally able to just be another guy, instead of a white guy. That's the kind of attitude I wish more people would have from the start: simple acceptance as another member of the group.
As to the question about cricket and lacrosse, I must confess that I find the question somewhat funny. When I think of cricket, I think of England or India. Not Englishmen or Indians, but the nations of England and India. So, unless TS spoke with an British accent using British phrases, I would have no reason to assume TS cared about cricket any more or less then I do.
Finally, I would like to ask a pointed question. TS, why do you consider yourself black? I myself am part Cherokee, along with some Irish and German. All of those groups faced racism at some point in the history of the US. But I don't identify myself by the hardships faced by those who came before me. I get sick and tired of people selling themselves and the US short. People who claim that they can't succeed or won't succeed because of something outside of themselves. If something keeps you from succeeding in the United States of America, it is because you have allowed it to. You look at just three black Senators in 100 years, I see three individuals who said "Forget the conventional wisdom. Forget what they say I can and can't do. I am going to run and I'm not going to stop till I win." That's why I want people to stop playing a racism card. Because the only reason that anybody has for not achieving what they want is that they did not have the determination to see it through. Feel free to call me a dreamer. You can even call me delusional, for all I care. But I refuse to allow what happened in the past to define what I am supposed to be today. And neither should anyone else.