Being Near White People is Bad for You?

September 17, 2007

cholera.gifThis is the assertion put forth by the author of Ruminations of a Racial Realist.  This post has to do with why black people must resist assimilation. At first I thought it was odd that “assimilation” in this instance referred largely to being near large numbers of white people.  But it isn’t their presence but what she sees as the result. In sum, she believes that being near white people has a deleterious effect and that black people need to live and work with other blacks, stop “chasing” white people for marriage (that one was funny), and work together to analyze and eliminate our problems.

Now, as a muslim what stuck out to me on first read was this statement “And what about Malcolm X?  After his famous trip to Mecca, and his interactions with white Arabs, he changed his perspective on black-white relations, which arguably contradicted everything he used to stand for…I am confident that had Malcolm lived he would have revised the opinions he formed before he died (when he was obviously under extreme stress).”

It’s just a pity that he embraced actual islam and rejected NOI’s religion.  Apparently not viewing white people as inherently evil is a bad thing.  *Insert eyeroll here*

I’m just going to say that I disagree with that assertion.  I’m glad he became muslim before going to the grave.

However, there is truth to the notion that some black people do believe, deep down, that white people are better/smarter/more moral whatever.  Sometimes they will make statements that reveal this thinking.
The owner of a black business where I used to work came in one day blustering and fussing about a man that tried to rip him off at an auto repair shop.  “And it was a black guy!” He fumed.  Immediately a woman near me said: “That’s why I don’t do business with black people.  My lawyer, my accountant, they’re all white.”  My jaw was on the floor but I was even more aghast when everyone around chimed their agreement that you can’t trust black people.  I wanted to point out the melanin content of everyone in the room and ask should we all get away from each other since black people were so darn terrible.  However I was the most junior staffer and I needed that job, so I kept my mouth shut. 

And how many times have you heard black people lamenting this or that shortcoming of black america, finishing their argument with “You don’t see white people doing that!”

Though I am not a segregationist by any means, I understand that there are alot of people that would benefit from living in a majority black neighborhood, going to majority black schools with black teachers, etc.  Of course merely being in an ethinically homogenous environment would not help.  If it did, then I don’t think Clare would have made the post since may black people live in such a situation already, at least in America.  It needs to be a positive environment with strong leadership, worthy goals and a clear direction.  One of Clare’s commenters, Khadija shared her experiences living in a neighborhood that, while remaining black, experienced a change from being safe to being a dangerous place.

There is a similar argument made for the need and benefits of women’s colleges.  ( In a world where maleness is still seen as the default gender of leadership and intelligence, a place where most of the leaders are women is a strong teaching tool.  After 2-4 years at an institution where the president, most of deans and teachers are women.  Where every president of every student organization is a woman, and things wonderful things get accomplished in an organized fashion, all by women.  It is a strong antidote to previous cultural conditioning.  Women’s colleges boast a dispropotionate number of graduates that go on to obtain higher degrees and great success in their chosen fields.

It stands to reason that similar parallels can be made about some black people and black children especially.  Black children need to be exposed on a regular basis to black leaders and achievers.  I think an even more concerted effort needs to be made these days due to the negative influence of electronic media. 

I am blessed in that when I was growing up, my parents brought me along to meetings and events held by their black professional associations.  I would sit quietly and observe these men and women discussing issues, making and executing plans, and celebrating their successes. They would take us to black and african history lectures.  My dad loved history and always had black history tomes in our bookcases.  Shows such as “For the People” would play regularly in our home.

My parents never expressed thoughts like the one voiced by my co-workers and boss that day.  I didn’t grow up with a message of “black people aren’t good enough.”  I realize now that is because my parents made a conscious effort throughout my child and young adulthood.  Some people’s parents never made that effort, and they never made the effort to “deprogram” themselves when they reached adulthood.  And so I can’t completely dismiss the post.  Some people probably do need to be re-educated before they can function normally around any group of people.  But being near white people is not bad for you.


2 Responses to “Being Near White People is Bad for You?”

  1. Yes, I totally agree with you. I was stunned when I read the article by the ‘racial realist’ and was even more saddened by the supportive comments he got for the article.

    I think that growing up in a viciously racist environment turned a LOT of these people into rabid haters of all White people and yet they do not know the same hate has also made them value themselves less.
    One of the reasons I avoid some ‘ethnic’ blogs and temper any contributions which I might have for them is because of this hate and racism.

    I am grateful to God that like you, I grew up in a home where my parents taught us that Black people were the same as every one else.
    I too was exposed to African culture and history and we also had great respect for other cultures, religions and peoples.

    I sometimes read White Supremacist sites too and they are even worse than many of the Black Supremacists sites. I don’t know why, maybe because there are so many more of them online and they feed off each other.

    Either way, its all pretty sad!

  2. Rent Party Says:

    Well I’ve read at RR off and on for a while, she is very conflicted about her identity, used to be assimilated to white, seems to have a lot of class [prejudice] – well I don’t know if it’s prejudice but it is a very upper middle class perspective. She has only started thinking critically about race fairly recently, it seems, and thinks in a pretty one-dimensional way.

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