Right now, there is this particularly insidious idea that people like me, who are, shall we say, of the historically majority skin color in my country, need to somehow acknowledge and apologize for my “complicity” in “systemic racism”.
I will not do that. That is my line.
Is there systemic racism? I don’t believe so, as defined by the Woke Warriors, but I am willing to stipulate that there is racism. Some people are individually treated poorly for the color of their skin, or for other reasons besides. Where that is extant, it of course needs to be dealt with. And I think nearly everyone else in my country that shares my heritage feels the same way – and those who don’t aren’t going to be treated very well.
But as I don’t believe there is systemic racism, at least not of the type that some people are putting forth right now as a form of cultural Marxism, I will not behave as if I believe that there is because other people tell me so. I will not acknowledge my “complicity”, because I don’t believe myself to be complicit. I will not acknowledge my “racism”, because I don’t believe myself to be racist. I will stipulate that there may be some “unconscious bias”, but since the very nature of unconscious bias is that it’s unconscious, I’m not going to worry too much about that until it is specifically brought to my attention.
If you don’t like what I just said, that’s fine. I respect that. If you want to change my mind, however, let me tell you what you do not do. You do not tell me that I’m wrong, that I am all these things, because you said so. You do not tell me that I am a rotten person because I said what I just said, because I will ignore you. You do not threaten me physically, because for multiple reasons you won’t like how that turns out – I live in Texas and we don’t do that here. Keep it in Portland.
Now, here’s what you can do. You can listen to me, understand where I’m coming from, and then you can say “I hear you, this what I hear you say, have you considered this perspective?” Then I will listen. I may not change my mind, but at the least, if you approach me respectfully and with an open mind, then I’m probably going to give what you have to say a fair shake. And if you haven’t changed my mind, you can rest assured that I have at least taken what you said into account and have integrated it into my worldview in some form. Quite honestly, while I don’t agree with the idea of systemic racism, I think I understand it, and I think I can at the very least understand why some feel they don’t get a fair shake. But that is a far cry from my saying “you say it is true, and you are a minority, therefore I cede to your viewpoint”. It doesn’t work that way.
If you don’t like this approach, one of fostering mutual understanding, then I really don’t actually care what you have to say.
Here is the maximum you have any right to expect of me, and the maximum that I will consider it your right to from me. I will treat you as a person, and I will treat you like an individual. I will refuse to discuss anything political, racial, or social justice related in any context in which I do not know you personally (or in the context of a semi-anonymous forum for this purpose such as this blog). I will treat you as I would trust anyone else – with colorblindness and equality. If you demand anything else from me, you will not get it, and I cannot think of any form of coercion that would be sufficient to pretend otherwise. I have enough self-esteem and self-worth to not bow to any other human being, no matter what they believe of me or believe they can expect, demand, or coerce from me.
You can treat me like a person, whether or not you think I am complicit in some form of systemic racism or other nonsense, or you can leave me alone. I choose to treat you like a person. But I won’t bow to you. And if you think that’s complicity, well, have at it. See if I care. Hint, I don’t.
I imagine Disney wouldn’t hire me at any point in the future. So sad.