Contemplating "Abagond's Law"

Behold the Five Walls of Abagond's Law

To overcome their racism people of colour in America have only one wall to overcome, "the Wall of Lies", but white people have five:
1. The Wall of Lies: America was built on racism – on slavery and genocide. The lies that made that seem right and good are still with us. You see them in schoolbooks, newspapers, Hollywood films, jokes, even in the stuff your parents and friends say. You hear them so much you think they are true. Few question them unless they are stuck on the wrong side of those lies. And even then it can take years. And even then you might not see through them all.

2. The Wall of Self-Interest: Few people of colour stand to gain from racism: it hurts them in society at large and, if they believe in it themselves, it leads to self-hatred. Not so for white people: racism allows them to have higher incomes, lower unemployment, safer streets, better schools and longer lives. On top of that it allows them to live comfortably in nice houses while black and Latino children in dangerous neighbourhoods go to bad schools.

3. The Wall of the White Self: For whites racism is more than just a set of self-serving lies: part of their sense of self worth is built on being white. It makes them feel good because it allows them to think they are better than others.

4. The Wall of White Society: Most whites who do see through the lies and see the crying injustice of it all keep their mouth shut. Why? Because they have to live with other white people and fear becoming an outcast. Racism is not even their fight, right? So why should they suffer for it?

5. The Wall of Shame and Guilt: Those who break through all the other walls come to the worst wall of all: they come face to face with the shame and guilt of being white, something that their racism had largely hid from them until now. I know many whites do not believe in white guilt, but it makes sense of too much. And it is not just me: Dr Beverly Tatum, who studies this sort of thing, says it is the shame and guilt that is the hardest to overcome.

Comments

  1. Moi, do you believe white people in general can break through all of these walls? Is this something you see happening in your lifetime? Your children's? Ever?

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  2. "Can it be done?" is not the appropriate question, if you ask me. However, "do they WANT to?" is.

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  3. I don't think white ppl want to break through the walls. They've benefited from them for too long to ever fully let go.

    Damn, I sound so pessimistic. However, I don't have much faith in them collectively.

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  4. I don't think this should be limited to America.

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  5. I co-sign on the Wall of Lies because I see how it's destroying the fabric of Black American society. We are being systematically raped and robbed of our heritage again and again. Because this wall is in place, we go at each other's throats. We rank ourselves according to skin color and hair. We turn our backs when we see people in need because we're so damned afraid of what they think of us. This Wall of Lies feeds black-on-black hatred and I cannot stand it.

    Recently, a young richly brown African-American woman visited this island. She was so cute and so happy to be abroad. At her suggestion, we watched a bootleg copy of Precious. Throughout the movie, my rage manifested itself physically. I was literally trembling.

    Can you imagine what the cutesy little nitwit said at the end? Go on. I dare you. She said and I quote, "I'd never hang out with a baboon like that. She can't even read and write. My two-year-old cousin can. What's the point of trying to help a loser like that? No wonder white folks think we're trash."

    I counted to ten and asked myself what in the hell Syracuse University was teaching this girl. Ten seconds later, I attempted to explain reality to her, but she said "I'm not interested in all that race stuff. That's just an excuse for poor black folks to sit on their asses and collect welfare." I had no choice but to invite her to leave my home and to never ever contact me again.

    The Little Girl Who Overcame didn't have an iota of sympathy for Precious or her circumstances. She failed to recognize how society at large and the school system had failed Precious (racism is the culprit in a vast number of crimes). She failed to recognize that although Precious was a victim of multiple felons and human rights violations, she was busting her butt to take charge of her own life. Nope. Little Girl Who Overcame was only worried about what they thought of us.

    I can deal with the KKK. I can deal with stormfront.org and other supremacist groups. What I can't deal with is black people like her.

    Ankhesen, if you deem this too far off-topic and it has moved beyond what you intended, I'll understand if you don't post this comment. I just can't help but feel that this whole idea of using having overcome race is detrimental to black people because many of us can't see through the Wall of Lies. This is why we're stuck. This is why we're stagnant.

    I am more concerned about us than I am about them. They are the least of my worries.

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  6. Hateya,

    I invite you to do a guest post if you're willing.

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  7. I can do this Moi because this is an issue that is extremely important to me. Would you like me to expand on this one or leave it as is (with typos corrected)?

    While it's not quite bedtime here, my little brain isn't functioning well. Tomorrow, I plan to spend the day in my kitchen. My laptop will keep me company. If you want to preview my ravings, I will send it via livejournal.

    Have a nice day wherever you are in the world.

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  8. Send me your email via comment (I won't publish it) and we can go from there.

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  9. Looking forward to your post Hateya. I nodded my head throughout your comment while my blood pressure spiked.

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  10. @Moi
    I'm working on the guest post now. Perhaps by the time you wake up in the morning, it'll be complete. I'll try to stay focused.

    @SDG
    Thank you so much for understanding and commenting.

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  11. I'll use a jumping analogy for "overcome" in my comment.

    I'd like to add that the 5 Walls for WP actually face one another and form a circle. That means that for most of us, we've jumped over many or even all of them, only to find we jumped some lower portion of it. We end up confronted with the higher part again some time later. Even after we get to jumping the highest parts of these walls, we will always need to jump them over and over and over so that our muscles don't atrophy in those areas.

    It's very easy, particularly for WP who don't get close to their friends of color, to forget that the rest of the world doesn't experience things the way we do.

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  12. @ Victoria

    Brilliantly stated.

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