Your Opinion on Racism

I read an excellent comment on racism written by John Scalzi. I won't quote him so I don't get into attribution and copyright territory. I'll paraphrase him.

You have created a vision in your mind of racism and bigotry. Your mental construct may be well thought out, carefully built, and maybe you have tried to filter your vision using real data. Your mental vision has no validity because you are not a member of the class experiencing the racism and bigotry. You simply don't understand what they experience, have experienced, and will experience. You are not capable of understanding because you have not had to live it.

Here’s a specific example: was your grandfather lynched, was your mother beaten and raped because she was black, was your aunt given a skull fracture simply for walking across a bridge, is your father in prison because he couldn’t afford a good lawyer and the judge hands out racially biased sentences, do the police pull you over for driving your BMW in the wrong neighborhood even though you live there?

Whites think they understand, sympathize with, and empathize with this situation. In general this just more white privilege. Whites think they are in an omniscient position to understand racism better than most African-Americans understand it. “Well, I use statistics instead of anecdotes to prove that most blacks are letting their emotions get to them instead of really looking at the facts. So therefore my mental image of racism is much closer to reality. I’m not biased by anecdotes and what my mother has been telling me all these years. That police officer had a good reason to pull over my ‘black friend’.”

Give it up guys. We don’t understand, we can’t understand and we never will understand. The only thing we can do is listen to the reasonable members of the discriminated class and act on their judgements and recommendations. Yes 20% of African-Americans have opinions on racism which are garbage. But 80% of blacks are not crazy, they aren’t wrong, and they are the only ones who own reality.