Thursday, 10 April 2014

Tired Of Conversations Of Race......

...........not happening with anyone who IS NOT white.....

The ONLY conversation I seem to have with ppl that are not white is WHY I can not have a deep conversation.
I get told the whole WHITE PRIVILEGE issue means I can't understand.

Here's the thing........... that is like that old excuse of employers saying you can not have a job because you do not have the experience for the job ..... but without getting the job how do you get experience?

Without having the conversation, how do I gain the understanding?

I am tired of being told by people of colour that "white people just won't get it coz they don't suffer".

OK............... so you are basically telling me to sit down and shush.

The same thing that many white people have told / even now tell YOU to do.

How is this not a double standard and potentially reverse racism?

Seriously - I am confused that you have someone here who has never used race as a demarcation, but wishes to understand many of the particular instances of the racial debate.  And you tell him "No - you can not understand".

And we are now on the second lap of the "I want to know ...... NO you will not understand."

You can not call out bigotry, but then deny someone the conversation.

Back in Melbourne in 2001, I was walking to my gym with my yarmulke on, and a young Serbian man in a car (He had the Serbian flag on his back window) pulled over and started yelling things at me.  They included.

"You killed my people - I'm gonna kill your family!"
"You're murderers - all of you!"
"Wait till I get more of my mates - we're gonna come back and kill you slowly!"
"You're scum - you deserve to die"

He then put his foot down and sped off.  The situation left me very unsettled and actually quite scared.  Funny thing was, he ended up being at my gym and talking to a guy who I knew was Jewish.  The difference between him and me is I was wearing my kippah,  but he never did.  He was invisible.  I was not.

Now - I would have loved to sit down with that young man and hear WHY he felt the way he did.  I would have liked to know if there had been any particular incident that had caused his reaction to a modern Jew just walking along, minding his own business.

I would love to sit down / e-chat with someone of colour about the issues that they face.  I would like to understand their experiences.  I don't want to just read about it.  I want to hear the individual experience.

I would listen attentively, ask questions respectfully, and welcome the experience to hear how one person's life has been affected.

Without understanding each other's stories and experiences, we will continue to be ignorant  of each other.  We would continue to even be a little wary of each other?  Nervous maybe?  Even fearful?

It's like Equality.  Unless society at large is assisted to LEARN about the same sex community, and our experiences and our lives, they will continue to be ignorant and our community and our desires.

Needless to say.................... the questions will not go away.

The desire to know and understand will not go away.

Blessings for you all



BosGuy said...

Damien I am left scratching my head after reading your post because I cannot relate to it.

I've never had someone tell me that because I'm white I cannot relate to discrimination. I think discussions of this nature can be very intimidating for some people; such personal discussions often have other motivations. Perhaps it is the nature of the dialog that is garnering you such responses?

LeNair Xavier said...

The fact that you are willing to listen makes you a too rare breed. A rare breed that let me start by saying, I APPLAUD YOU.

I had a friend who passed away a few years ago, and one of the things I miss most about him was his willingness to listen to such issue. He once told me that he read my blog posts about racism because with his being White, he knew there were signs that he was probably missing, so he wanted to become aware.

Unfortunately, the domination of gay media by racially insensitive Whites(especially here in the U.S.) teaches Whites to feel people of color are overreacting, and that people of color should feel guilty for bringing up the issue of racism. So Damien, what you are experiencing are the people of color who have given up trying to have the dialogue with Whites.

Well, I for one am not giving up. So I'll be glad to have that conversation with you. And let me say here, even give you an interview if you like. Although, I'm sure research of me will likely answer many of your questions.

Anonymous said...

You are a member of several groups that are discriminated against - gay, Jewish, weight. What is your experience in explaining/helping others to understand you?

I agree with Rob. Maybe your challenge in creating a dialog is how you are presenting the discussion or the tone of (even though it is your blog) your blog.

How do you view yourself in your exp with the Serbian man? I ask because I don't know enough about Jewish/Serbian history. To put it crudely - Where you the white guy or the black guy?

Damien said...

LeNair - Id be happy to take you up on your offer.

BG & Sean - both have given me much food for thought. This old dog can learn new tricks.

Mike in Asheville said...

Damien: Happily, I have always been a "variety is the spice of life" guy, an equal opportunity slut, into gay men irrespective of race. During my college years, yikes 30 years ago, at Berkeley (living much of the time in adjacent Oakland), the proportion of black men at gay bars/baths was probably 20+%, so, 20+% of my many partners were black men.

Back then, there were plenty of white guys who, literally, would attempt to intervene with crap like "you don't want to touch that" and "what are you a nig*** lover". Those were guys, no matter how hot, I kept away from.

In sharing physical intimacy -- such fun kissers -- with black men, many would express their views of life, being gay, being black. The depth of the differential of being white and being black was shocking to me. They told me stories that horrified me: ALWAYS being under the eye of great suspicion and harassment.

Ask yourself this, once you came out to yourself, have you ever thought of yourself as anything other than "I'm a gay man"?. Thats how I think of myself -- I'm a gay.

For black men, and true of Hispanics too in the US, the question they face is different: do they consider themselves gay black men OR black gay men?

Should you truly like a better understanding, don't go challenging "what's your beef?" Certainly there are gay social orgs that have a focus of the black/minority draw. Befriend some of these guys, and just listen to their stories, let them share their experiences. It won't take long to get an understanding of just how huge "white privilege" is compared to the experiences they will tell you.


I am such a better person -- more compassionate, more empathic, more understanding, more celebratory of sameness and difference -- learning of life stories from a viewpoint so foreign to a kid from all white Northern Indiana.