I get a lot of emails from my readers. I am posting this email with my response because it’s an important issue and while I empathize with this White Progressive, we need the converse more so just based on proportionality. Tell me what you think.
I respect all my readers. I am honored to have them read my blogs. I hope this White Progressive reads the response in the context written. She was upset by my article titled “Why this picture made me lose respect for Bill Clinton.”
Here is the email I received a White Progressive woman. Of course, I protect everyone’s identity.
Ok, I am a white middle-aged professional female progressive and I am drained of campaign bucks but just donated to Espy’s campaign in MS. I know you are not speaking to me personally when you speak about Clinton subtle (or blatant) racism but you cause me to be weary as I too fight the good fight against all forms of ‘isms, which includes racism. You undermine my fight by continuing to attack Caucasians as I grow discouraged and also discriminated against. Racism goes both ways. I speak up for Black Lives Matters, for the Womens’ March, for Xenophobia, against White Nationalists, against Muslim bans, and desperate brown people trying desperately to find new hope in a new country after traveling on foot for thousands of miles. I am fighting, fighting, fighting several hours per day as well as work to pay for a roof over my head. A good word once in a while to some whites would be really appreciated for a few good folks like myself. I just spent several hours on the NY Times blog trying to teach people that a young black man in MA where I originally come from is not to be thrown away for good in a prison when there were no family strengths, no environmentals strengths while growing up, and one incarceration after the other with no judicial reform put in place for him. I close my blog out and I get you blaming Clinton for something. I’m thinking why aren’t you attacking the obvious, Trump, or Hyde-Smith, anyone from today that is outlandishly racist and you happen to pull out Clinton. This fight for our lives is on all of us and I would appreciate a word of encouragement for all races including Caucasians. There is so much hatred right now, why the hell would you be pulling out a 30 year old photo of Clinton?? I mean, we’ve got DeSantos in FL for governnor who blatantly stated “we shouldn’t be monkeying around with this,” when Gillum won his FL Dem primary. You need to refocus NOW!
Here is my response to the White Progressive woman.
First of all, thank you kindly for engaging immediately because something I wrote felt like an indirect attack. If you just capture one or two of my posts that is a possibility. On the Clinton post, I am not sure how that affects you as a good progressive white person.
Before I go into a complete answer, let me state that I regard race as a social construct and that all people are harmed by what we have allowed racism to inflict on us all. White supremacy likely does not apply to you, and at the risk of infuriating many of my Progressive brothers and sisters, it has little to do with race if you really check economic supremacy. It may have started in the capitalist world order as “White capital owning man Supremacy,” but the evolution means understanding it as race-based, detrimental to the economic justice movement. Trump has more in common with black billionaire Bob Johnson than any of us white, black, or other.
People of color because of share numbers, military & police control, and other factors could not have improved the condition absent white allies. The fact that you wrote me the email you wrote to me as a white Progressive with those thoughts should give all of us in the movement pause. That you feel that way means we have a deep messaging problem. How much easier is it for the white underclass, then to be captured by the narrative of Trump and the Right?
On my radio media show Politics Done Right I use a form of the phrase when we unite Appalachia, the Ghettos, and the Barrios the plutocracy will then fear us giving us the real opportunity to get the middle-class centric policies we are owed.
Here is the deal. I stand by what I said about Bill Clinton and all that I have written about them. It is not that they are bad people, but they are not who they were. And by the way, I don’t care about their hearts just their policies and actions that affect the body politic and the middle-class in particular. Their deeds do not apply to anyone but them.
White Progressive warriors sometimes feel that they are attacked by people of color and other more radical white Progressives for being white even as they feel they are doing the right thing. Before I talk about that, I must take some time and speak as a black man as opposed to a race-less blogger.
When I walk into stores most times, I am a suspect. When I am stopped by a police officer even in my middle-class town more often than not, I am treated like a potential suspect. When I go for service in many places, I am treated as 2nd fiddle. When I worked in corporate America where some professionals got 1 to 2 interviews, I got 3 to 6. And I could go on and on in just about every aspect of my life. This is the daily overbearing existence people of color cope with all of the time quietly even in 2018. Most just live life knowing that is what to expect. There is a permanence, and it has an effect on most.
But I digress to you, my friend. I understand your discomfort from feeling a sense of discrimination here and there. In fact, my existence in this country forces me to empathize with you because I know what it feels like to do all things right but when race intercedes, one’s righteousness means little.
White people have the privilege of having two options. When discomfort raises its head because what some white people do is projected on you, it is easy to walk away and join the other side where the fallacy that those others are really not discriminated against or those others are the real problems are promoted. Or you can realize that we are all in it together and you cannot expect a thank you from everyone at all times for doing the right thing, for being the good white progressive person that is doing what has to be done irrespective.
As a black man, I carry the silly and unfair burden of what white people and some people of color think about black men. I can jump up and down, sulk, complain, become the Uncle Tom to prove I am not like the stereotype purposely inflicted on black men, or I can simply lead by example with my eyes focused on the ball. As a Progressive White person doing great deeds that many times go thankless, know that the thank you is simply doing the right thing. And when other white people in your domain get that feeling of being discriminated against, let them know at times it is real but until we all right this ship, keep doing the right thing. Change is painful at times. History will remember we did this together if not the present.
Please read in the positive context in which it was written. Thank you for what you are doing for the movement. Please keep it up and in your engagement, please include addressing white spaces were discrimination is occurring in a manner we will never see because it does not occur within the purview of people of color.
Thanks for reading,