I find it quite disturbing that both articles offered up by tla and coffeesp00ns have taken the stance of trying to shame white people and talk about how white people can't ever understand racial struggles. With attitudes like that, they're completely right. They don't take any educational approach to the situation, instead relying on anecdotes and opinion to try and prove a point. I honestly can't see a value in this line of thinking. Both authors intentionally segregate themselves from white people in order to avoid talking about race and then complain that white people don't understand issues involving race.
In Adam Mansbach's piece, he talks about a situation where a bartender refused to serve an obviously drunk patron and somehow skewed it to make the bartender, as well as the girl he was with, racist. He portrays himself as completely superior to her, as if his line of thinking is the absolute right and there's nothing she, or anyone else, can do to convince him otherwise. I don't understand how you can hope to have a discussion on any subject if your mind isn't open to the fact that you could be wrong. I also don't understand why he lists all of these ways he's friendly with black people and culture. It's like he's trying to sell the audience his credibility, but the things he's selling don't actually have that much value. I play a metric fuckton of video games. I could tell you, in intricate detail, all sorts of things about video games. Characters, settings, plots, strategies, et cetera. However, I couldn't tell you how they managed to get they way they are. How are they made? I don't know. I don't have that experience. As far as I can tell, some overworked, underpaid, faceless people slam their hands on the keyboard and birth a triple-A title. I could research it and come up with something about the engines they're using, polygons and some code, but I still couldn't understand it unless I went and got a job as a game developer. In the same way, the author couldn't actually hope to comprehend the struggle of a poor black family, because he hasn't experienced it. He's just a person that decided he wants to act morally superior because he hangs out with black people, read some books on racial injustice, and shuns whites. In my mind, he's just as much a part of the problem as your stereotypical racist redneck. He offers no solutions and readily admits he has none. How about giving it a shot? Maybe write a piece on why it's tough to talk to white people about race and how you think you could win hearts and minds instead of spouting this hateful vitriol from up on a high horse.
The second author, John Metta (I believe), seems to suffer from some of the same issues as Mr. Mansbach. He has an aversion to speaking with white people about race. He writes
The result of this is an incessantly repeating argument where a Black person says “Racism still exists. It is real,” and a white person argues “You’re wrong, I’m not racist at all. I don’t even see any racism.” My aunt’s immediate response is not “that is wrong, we should do better.”
I don't know anyone who doesn't believe that there is still racism in America. I realize that this is falling right in line with what the author is saying, but bear with me. Where are some places where this mindset exists? Truthfully, what percentage of the population believes that American is racism-free? I can't imagine it's even in the double digits. Secondly, what do you want me to do about it? How can I help you? What is the solution to the problem? I'd love to live forever. I really would. Writing about how it's unfair that the Turritopsis dohrnii gets to be biologically immortal and I don't could certainly bring awareness to the issue, but I don't have and therefore could not offer a solution to the problem. However, that wouldn't stop me from tossing some ideas out there. Hey, let's try some genetic engineering. Maybe a little organ cloning. They don't have to be good ideas, but give me something that shows that you aren't just trying to complain.
The author then goes on to suggest that white people are somehow responsible for thousands of black people being raped and shot. A cursory google search brings me to this set of data from 2013. There are plenty of tables here, but in case you don't care to dive into all of that, I'll throw out some relevant facts. These are from this table, specifically. This table only lists single victim/single offender murder rates for 2013.
Of the 3005 white people that were murdered, 83.4% of the offenders were white, 13.6% were black, and the rest are other/unknown. Of the 2491 black people that were murdered, 7.6% of the offenders were white, 90.0% were black, and the rest were other/unknown. I fail to see how this somehow equates to white people causing blacks to be murdered. Admittedly, I don't see, nor do I care to search for, rape statistics, so I can't speak for those numbers.
People are dying because we are supporting a racist system that justifies White people killing Black people. I really don't think so.
On we go.
We see this in the way that one Muslim killer is a sign of Islamic terror; in the way one Mexican thief is a pointer to the importance of border security; in one innocent, unarmed Black man is shot in the back by a cop, then sullied in the media as a thug and criminal. I take issue with this statement solely because he chooses a guilty party, another guilty party and then plays the victim card for the black guy. It's a clear sign of skewing the issue to take the situation that most represents your cause and shoving it in everyone's face. I find it very off-putting. Just play the facts.
A white person smoking pot is a “Hippie” and a Black person doing it is a “criminal.” It’s evident in the school to prison pipeline and the fact that there are close to 20 people of color in prison for every white person. I don't see how these two sentences are related, and again, the author is a bit hazy on actual facts. Here's the current wikipedia page on incarceration. Again, for those of you who don't care to click on links, here are the stats. These are for 2010, the only chart provided on the page. 769 whites (678 men/91 women) per 100,000 US residents were incarcerated. 4607 blacks (4347 men/260 women) per 100,000 US residents were incarcerated. 769 * 20 (20:1 black:white ratio claimed by author) = 15380. The real number is more like 6:1 black:white. "But the author said people of color! Alright, so, including Hispanic men and women, the total number jumps up to 6515. That brings us up to 8.5:1 ratio of whites/non-whites. A more powerful statistic would be to say that a black male born in 1991 has a 29% chance of spending time in prison at some point in his life. The only problem with that is that it doesn't demonize white people.
There are a number of additional points in each article that I could type another 1000 words on, but I think this is a good representation of my argument against pieces like this. I don't fault for look down on either tla or coffeesp00ns for linking them. Conversely, I appreciate the opportunity to be challenged to search for some facts and (hopefully) the rational discussion that will follow.
1 - "Mostly, I just want to sit white people down and say “Okay, so what WOULD convince you that racism is real, then?” But not really, because then I’d have to hear their answers."