What it means to be white…
An Essay by Edward Lorn
It means I’m lied to in school. I’m given textbooks with smiling red-faced Native Americans accepting corn and turkeys from grinning people who look like me, their cartoon images comforting with their bonnets and pilgrim hats. I’m not told that, in return, we infected them with communicable diseases, and then raped and murdered them. But, hey, it’s all good, because you don’t have to go to school on Columbus Day!
It means I’m told to be proud of a legacy of hatred. I’m shown images of the Confederate Flag and told it’s an emblem of states’ rights. But no one tells me the rights they were fighting for was the right to own human beings. I’m told it was about the economy, because yeah, if you went from free labor to a living wage for every slave… Jaysus, talk about an economic crisis.
It means I’m lied to about race. I’m told there are four different and distinct races: White, Black, Asian, and Islander. But I’m not taught their ways and cultures. I’m taught white people culture, as if there’s anything in my culture that isn’t stolen from someone else’s culture. Everything is painted with this broad stroke that White America is the good guy. I’m not taught about Japanese-Americans being placed in camps during World War II. Nor am I taught about Jim Crow and the South’s horrific, murderous past. I am taught about the Civil Rights movement but not the meaning of Civil Rights. I’m told that our troops fight and die for freedom, but whose freedom? Certainly not just white people’s. But if white folks are allowed to stand up and fight for what they believe in, surely that means that People of Color can do the same… No? Really? They’re told to sit down and shut up and know their place? But I thought we were ALL Americans?
It means I’m not told that race, like religion and time, are man made concepts.
I am a whiny, entitled, loud-mouthed egotist who has been raised to believe he is better than People of Color. I am not the solution but I am a product of my education and my education is most definitely a problem.
We need to be taught empathy, that more than OUR lives matter. We need to understand that school should teach us how to learn and not force agendas and bend truths to fit our nation’s nightmarish past. America’s hands are not clean. We have the blood of millions on our hands. And in the name of what? God? Oil? The Almighty Dollar? Respect?
Ah, there she is.
Religion, time, race… they’re all constructs white people like me are taught to respect above all else because our CONTROL depends on it. We respect religion, time, and race over basic human needs and rights. Something has to change. Some of us are moving in the right direction. But we need to come to terms with and accept that the world we’ve built is a problem, and by proxy, that makes us the problem. None of us are innocent in this mess. Not a damn one.
Like my fellow addicts say, man, “Awareness is the first step.”
See you tomorrow,
Pic of the Day
Gotdamm, lookit that tiny head floating in all that shirt…