The Black Mono-myth

May 10, 2009

It’s a rather obvious play on words but the black monolith is alive and well today despite the relative success of millions of black people who demonstrate none of the negative stereotypes that whites ascribe to us openly or in the back of their minds. If you’re black I have no doubt that you have been and will be embarrassed by the behavior of some black people who fit the white mold of black negativit because you know it adds fuel to their racist fire. Moreover it gives whites all the ammo they need to say “Well we tried (more white man’s burden nonsense) and we just couldn’t civilize these damn Negroes” despite Americans as a whole having one of the highest illiteracy rates in the modern world.

How many black people have to be successful before black success becomes the norm to whites? Is there some threshold we must cross to receive positive stereotypes? It is clear that one black man or woman can single-handedly have the race mislabeled according to the doctrine of white supremacy. If all black people had PhDs and were millionaires it would still take only one black deviant to cause the other 36 million of us to be permanently mislabeled. Ironically since the election of Obama there has been much discussion of the “post-racial” era as if race could ever go away when it is so useful to those in power to create division and distraction. If we really were in a post-racial America then blacks would have already gotten reparations. The prison industrial complex would be dismantled. Black people would not still be getting killed by police for doing nothing. The list is long so why even suggest such a ridiculous notion?

White supremacy and white privilege first and foremost are not logical. You can go insane if you try to reason many white people into not being racist. It is clear that blacks are not genetically inferior in any way to whites. That has been scientifically proven and it is demonstrated in our daily lives and interactions with whites. How then does the stereotype persist? The answer is that it persists in the minds of white people because of their own built-in insecurities caused by white supremacy in the first place. White people have not dealt with the guilt they feel from inheriting skin privilege. At the same time they do not wish to give it up either if it affords then any personal benefit and it always does whether whites recognize or not.

Living in post-racial America should mean that black negative stereotypes have been eliminated from the minds of whites. That has not happened on the left or the right. It certainly will not happen with my expected lifetime. What whites would really like to happen is for black people to shut up and stop complaining about our mistreatment but we never will of course. They say we are playing the race card when in fact they have stacked the deck against us as a whole. How can one simply ignore centuries of continuing abuse. Would that not be equally insane to accept a lowly position in life and acquiesce to white privilege? White people today are said to have racial fatigue. If whites are tired of discussing race then why don’t they put it to rest by doing the right thing? No one is more racially fatigued than black people. To suggest otherwise demonstrates incredible tunnel vision and outright apathy and antipathy for blacks.

When you hate someone else it is usually because there is something you hate about yourself. That is what white people have to come to terms with eventually. Nothing else will matter. We can debate and have conferences on racism. We can have a million Million Man marches. Tim Wise can preach and shout until the cows come home and nothing will change. This is an individual journey that each white person must accept. It is a pilgrimage of spiritual transformation. I do not believe most whites are capable of fulfilling their promise in this regard but hopes continues to spring eternal.

If Obama has truly ushered in the era of post-racial politics then why are the stereotypes still thriving? It cannot be both ways. Ultimately one can only change oneself. Changing others is a job best left to the others.

One comment

  1. Great blog entry.
    Racial tension is building over here in the UK recently, we have The British National Party, which is a Whites only Political Party gaining a lot of support. It’s horribly worrying.

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