The Color of Character

Honesty at Your Own Risk

urban crimeUntil the problem of urban black crime perpetrated on whites as well as blacks is acknowledged, let alone ameliorated, we will not uncover some of the reasons for segregation, and the belief by many whites that blacks make our cities, schools, neighborhoods, and even our own blocks unsafe. We will continue to see whites resist efforts to put low income housing in their buildings or their neighborhoods. We will continue to see whites avoid public places and transportation where young black males congregate. And we will continue to see whites pull their children out of integrated schools, as soon as they have the economic means to do so. And we will go on accusing police and our criminal justice system of an unfair focus on black criminals, even if they perpetrate a majority of the violent crimes in our cities.

There. I said it. I don’t have much of an audience, so there will be no protests and calls for my job or my head. But sadly, if a white person with a large audience were to bring up these facts that fly in the face of the only acceptable script, or if a black were to point them out, both would be villified by many whites and most blacks. And here we are, going nowhere. 

In a previous blog I told you that I receive Google Alerts on the subject of racism. After weeks of reading the opinions of editorial writers, bloggers, activisits, politicians, and students, I  have learned that America is in the midst of a bout of racism unparalleled in the history of (micro-agression alert) man’s inhumanity to man. And there is no redemption possible. There is no penance that can be paid –  although apparently reparations would be nice. Read here for one of the less accusatory editorials – one of hundreds in just the past weeks.

And now, I have been convinced that I am a racist. Not because of the opinion put forth in the opening paragraph above. To me at least, it is only an expression of what is obvious to many, but off limits to discuss. No. The reason I am a racist is the abundance of evidence from this endless stream of writing that I receive. There is no other option for people like me. And by “like me,” I mean white Americans – particularly men. Our conduct and words, no matter what they might be, are insensitive, hurtful, offensive, and make minorities feel unsafe, because of the color and sex of their source. My efforts on behalf of minorities, or my positive interactions with them on a routine basis amount to a fraud and a distraction perpetrated by me and people like me, and serve only to continue the institutionalization of control of power by what we believe to be the white master race. My goodness. I’m given credit for an awful lot of America’s pain.

As for one of the main breeding grounds of this world view – our college campuses – I did not realize that they are the most dangerous and oppressive institutional environments since the Soviet Gulag (I assume that those students who are on campus to learn, and not to bemoan their victimhood, know what the Soviet Gulag was). Read here for an article on what’s happening on American college campuses. If you follow any social media or current events, this should be of no surprise to you.

Now that this deluge of judgement against me has succeeded in convincing me of my irredeemable racist soul, I am free to raise the question of black crime in American cities; a question that I, and others like me, who didn’t know we were racist, have been afraid to talk about for fear of being labeled as such, and not understanding why that should be. The crimes that city residents across America fear and encounter in our neighborhoods are perpetuated almost exclusively by black males between the ages of 14 and 35. I know this, because the neighborhood newspapers print the weekly crime reports that the mainstream newspapers do not. They give the descriptions of the assailants given by the victims and witnesses, and they print the mug shots of any alleged criminals. Almost without exception, the perpetrators are black, and the victims are white. 

My guess is that all the folks who are white who read these local crime reports, or fall victim to these crimes, or whose friends or family have been victims, might have a lot to say about the daily barrage of reports about how pernicious white racism is, and how difficult life is as a person of color in America. Your average white, urban reader might or might not agree. It is true, that anyone who is not a person of color, cannot walk in those shoes. But we do have to walk in our own shoes – or run, if it’s after dark – and we might not like to take the blame for criminal behavior. We might want someone to address our fears, our victimhood, our concerns for our loved ones without having those feelings invalidated by the coverall label of racist. The fear that keeps many whites from venturing out to enjoy parts of our amazing cities, including, depending on the time of day, our own neighborhoods, did not generate spontaneously. It is based on those crime statistics and our own experiences. So why can’t we include that in a DIALOGUE on race without the immediate judgement and label slapped on our institiutional, racist minds?

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