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anti-racism | community building

Racism Shmacism

A year and a half or so ago, I posted a story about how I flipped off a cop, and he threatened to "jam me up" the next time he saw me. Oh boy, I was SOOOOO outraged. Me, a white male, got SOOOOOOO oppressed by the mean old Man. WTF? Now here's a guy who gets pulled over by a cop, doesn't have his license (I assume he didn't have it ON him, as opposed to not having one period, but it really doesn't matter does it? I mean, he's just as dead either way...), they tell him to get out of the car and then shoot him when he goes to unbuckle his seat belt. He didn't even flip them off. What's the difference? He's black, and I'm not.
When I walk down a street, and a guy in a business suit walks by me, I feel nothing. Then a black guy walks by me and I tense up. That's racism. It's not as obvious (or intentional) as burning a cross or lynching someone, but it's still racism. I think a lot of white people in this city/country, as progressive/radical as they think they are, probably can relate to that. Admit it, no, but relate to it, yeah. Look at me, I'm posting about it anonymously on line, but how many real life people have I talked to about it? Well, a few, but they were all white. What's my point? My point is that we sit here and piss and moan about racism and how we love our minority brothers and sisters over there in North Portland, but only from a distance. How many of us actually make the effort to overcome our own internal racism by associating in real life with people of other races, especially black people (hispanics and asians don't count; they aren't scary like black folks, and they can teach you another language if you make friends with them)? How many of us are just waiting for the day when the magical Diversity Faery comes and waves her wand over Portland, and suddenly everyone gets along with everyone, and nobody feels intimidated by another person's race, and all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, Spineless Liberals and Anarchists, Hillbillies and Hip-Hop Artists, are able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

I'm not trying to make fun of MLK here. I'm trying to illustrate a point; that a lot of us white progressives' best minority friends are the ones who wrote books, gave speeches, and then died. It's like the only ones we want to fight for are the ones who got martyred, like Jose Poot and Kendra James, and now this guy. The only ones we'll really listen to are the ones who force their way into our little white bubble by way of making the news. I'm ashamed. I guess that's it.

Maybe I'm taking too much liberty in assuming that most white people are like me, but it sure as fuck seems that way sometimes. But then, what's the solution? Do I just start going up to black people and being like "Hey, you're black! Wanna be my friend? Cuz you're black, and I need to make some black friends..." No, I guess that won't work. Well, what then? Any suggestions?
You can start 30.Mar.2004 13:36

tsalagi red

You can start by joining a multiracial organization. There are progressive, multiracial organizations in the community, like Community Alliance of Tenants, Oregon Action, etc.; multiracial religious organizations, if you are christian or muslim. There are ways to interact and get to know people of color. It really is not all that difficult.

One of my peeves about the left/anarchist "activists" in this town (and it is worse here than many places) is their narrow-mindedness. No one seems willing to get off of their high-horse "principles" and get out in the real world, because that might require COMPROMISE. (Oh my god, he must be one of those Liberals!)

brutal but honest 30.Mar.2004 20:07


bravo! someone has the balls to own up to the bullshit. someone's not too self righteous to admit the dirty truth. maybe we can start making some progress now. but remember, dont just make friends with a black person (or asian, or hispanic) just because of their nationality or skin color, because that's also racist. we all bleed the same color underneath our skin.

what if the cops are just mildly paranoid? 31.Mar.2004 07:49


don't tell me this is a giant conspiracy to kill people based on their skin colour. Cops get told in first year police foundations class to be wary of any non-cop friends they may have. Methinks they believe every word of the story they tell about the thin blue line being the only barrier against a seething torrent of the wretched of humanity ready to crash down on mr. and mrs. middle-class america. Plus the one how they put their lives on the line every night. So maybe they're a bit too fearful.